Friday, October 5, 2018

No, Rockies and Brewers fans, you can't ride rail to the games here

Colorado Rockies fans who traveled to Milwaukee with their team have figured out by now that unlike their hometown Coors Field, you can't get to Miller Park on a train like this one.
Denver LRVs in snow, on Stout St in downtown.jpg
Neither can Brewers fans coming from, say, Madison, or anywhere in Milwaukee - - and the closest big city fans to any rail service into Milwaukee are Cubbies, so how crazy is that?

This absurd situation goes back to Milwaukee light rail planning being killed by right-wing talk radio, Waukesha politicians and then-Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Capped off by Scott Walker, the next GOP Governor, returning $800 million in committed federal Amtrak funds for an extension to Madison - - money that would finally have reconnected the two cities, better linked them regionally on a national Amtrak route west through the Twin Cities, and also have launched a national rail maintenance and assembly industry headquartered in a section of Milwaukee with high unemployment.

Again, crazy to turn all that aside, just so Walker could position himself on the pro-suburban far right as a national figure 'standing up against the federal government and Barack Obama, and then for a 71-day boondoggle of a expensive, failed campaign for President in 2015.

In fact, of the eight cities with teams in the playoffs - - Boston, New York, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta*, and Milwaukee - - in the playoffs, only Milwaukee. and the 'Atlanta' Braves now situated in exurban Cobb County, have ball parks with no form of rail service.

(Note: a reader informs me, and he's correct, that rail lines run to within a couple of miles of Dodger Stadium, from which you can take a bus .)

Brewers management isn't complaining and the stadium's rail-free reality: The ownership is selling parking passes at premium prices.

And, yes, there is Uber/Lyft/taxi/public bus and bar shuttle game day service, but it's important to understand that politicians centered in Waukesha County decided that rail was off the table in Milwaukee, and that cars would get most people to Miller Park.

Where they will drive straight into into rush hour traffic already saturated with Waukesha commuters after the afternoon game today. Notes the Journal Sentinel:
While construction throughout the Zoo Interchange is mostly complete, repair projects in southeastern Wisconsin could affect travel flow. 
Particularly worrisome is the construction linked to the Foxconn development on I-94 in Racine and Kenosha counties for those fans coming from the south... 
Traffic backups are common now that each direction is limited to two lanes even when there isn't a playoff game on the schedule.
Again, how crazy is that?

As an aside, I've ridden rail to baseball and football games in DC, and the cars are always jammed with celebratory fans in their jerseys and caps. Camaraderie and fun. 

Some day, here, maybe, beginning with Hop streetcar service to Fiserv Forum for Buck games.


Anonymous said...


I know that it is all under "new" ownership now. Being a shameless Walker shill destroyed once-powerful Journal Communications. Scripps stepped in and bought Walker's go-to AM radio propaganda arm WTMJ-AM and MJS. They bailed on the newspaper, because one you have built a business model publishing anti-Milwaukee racist hate to WOW counties, there isn't a viable path to recover the local readership that supported Milwaukee Journal for more than 125 years.

This is a valid post and it is sourced to organization that has credibility identifying Milwaukee's traffice problems. Their report, however, is deficient in these ways:

1. This is not just about congestion and backups -- these highways are dangerous, have been for years, and will be into the foreseeable future

2. Gannett papers largely endorsed Scott Walker and carried his water across Wisconsin and America. They can claim to have nothing to do with previous Journal Communications propaganda, but they have not really changed anything

3. Nothing in the source cited identifies how Wisconsin got into such a traffic jam. They want you to believe is just somehow happened and no one could do anything. This is a bold-faced lie.

While you will see, from time to time, articles that identify verifiable and accurate facts about what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsin, his culpability is often omitted. Even worse, headlines and more articles often uncritically promote Scott Walker and his radical extremist out-of-state multinational corporate agenda. More often than not, it is the GOP framing of important issues that dominate.

That is actually the case here. MJS wants you to believe that daily traffic congestion is just an inconvenience to some and no one could have prevented it. This type of subtle propaganda is the most effective and it plays into Walker's hand.

James Rowen said...

Of course, the reporter who wrote the article has nothing to do with editorial endorsements or the paper's management.

Anonymous said...

More PolitiFact pro-Walker talking points just went up.

They rate "Continue to reduce the tax burden on working families and seniors every year he is in office" deceptively as "Promise Kept" and do it in the most disingenous and dishonest way imaginable.

They have to step outside of the budget to create this lie, stating in this rating, "Separately, there are a couple of actions outside of the budget to consider..."

If this was appropriate to beef up his numbers, then it is also necessary to include factors "outside" of the budgets that are costing citizens more -- These have been posted regularly at this blog. That's bad, but then there is this pants-on-fire whopper:

"Finally, another way to think about it: General fund taxes — which includes primarily income and sales taxes, along with miscellaneous taxes — were a total of $133.9 million less during Walker’s second term as a result of tax law changes made under Walker, fiscal bureau director Bob Lang told us."

It is a bold-faced lie to misrepresent decreases in general fund taxes as being exclusively due to Walker cutting taxes. Wisconin's economy has stagnant wages and there are other factors -- it is not a good thing when the state sees revenues go down and forces borrowing, cost/fee-shifting, debt payments, and debt to go up. These are all going to cost taxpayers MORE, not less.

Moving from Bob Lang's statement above to this:

"In sum, Walker generally continued to reduce the tax burden during his second term. We rate this pledge Promise Kept."

The lie is accomplished by deflecting the original fact-check to a general statement.

Then PolitiFact goes off on a tangent, ignoring massive increases in tuition and cuts in programs & services, by proclaiming "Promise Kept" for this whopper: "Increase higher education grants for certain students".

This completely ignores that most students have not seen this at all and, under Walker, are increasingly likely to ignore attending post-secondary education. It isn't an "ooops" that MJS reaches outside of the facts their claim to be checking to prop up entirely false claims by finding additional dollars in other areas that are not legitimately part of the statement.

Tom Oelhafen said...

When I was a kid, my best friend and I took the train from Manitowoc to Milwaukee. A bus took us to the Braves stadium for a great Summer experience. Too bad our grandkids can't have the same experience. We earned enough from our paper routes to pay for the whole trip. Bleacher seats were $2.00!