I think we can all agree transportation in Milwaukee can be approved. Busses are often late, Lyft and Uber costs can add up, and parking is a nightmare.
As of Tuesday, February 10th, the Milwaukee Common Council allowed us to add one more mode of Milwaukee transportation to our list.
After 25 years of debate, Mayor Tom Barrett has signed legislation to move forward plans for a $124 million Milwaukee streetcar line.
According to milwaukeestreetcar.com, the streetcar would be huge for economic development and would expand the tax base in Milwaukee. However, $124 million is a lot of money to be spending on another mode of public transport. I can’t help but think that there are things money like that can be spent on instead of adding to our list of transportation methods.
There is also the concern about whether it fails to create these new jobs, build up interest in Milwaukee, and make the profit the Common Council hopes it will make to make up for the cost.
One of my first thoughts was that this probably won’t happen for about 25 years. However, according to milwaukeestreetcar.com, it is said that the construction of the streetcar rails will begin in late 2015 and should be finished by mid-2018.
Construction sites in Milwaukee are where dreams go to die. The route will connect the Intermodal Station, the Third Ward, East Town, and the lower east side along with extensions into nearby neighborhoods and along the lakefront.
While this sounds like a great way to go to the hotels, theatres, jobs, schools, and homes that we go to so often, this also means constructing a railway on the streets that we use every day for a solid three years.
This construction with also most likely add to the parking inconvenience we already have.
Although there are concerns with every big step a city makes, there are also several advantages to this new streetcar.
Before continuing my education at UWM, I graduated from MATC for dental assistance. One of the main reasons I didn’t start working in a dental office is because I really had no way of getting to work. With the streetcar using routes that don’t interfere with the bus lines, there is a big potential for a higher employment rate in Milwaukee.
Last summer it was a pain spending nearly all my tip money for work on bus and Lyft rides when I didn’t have the transit pass that UWM offers its students during the terms they’re enrolled in classes. One advantage that is has over other Milwaukee transportation is that the introductory fare is only $1 per ride.
Similar to the ones they already have in Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma; the streetcars will provide “low-floor/level boarding, a higher capacity than a bus, electric power operations, bicycle access, multiple doors for fast boarding, a clean and quiet ride, and mixed traffic operations, preserving majority of on-street parking,” according to milwaukeestreetcar.com
Based off the pictures of the streetcar design I’ve seen, they look like they have come back in time from the future. They look sleek and according to milwaukeestreetcar.com they are to be “energy-efficient, quiet, clean, comfortable and has the potential to use renewable, locally created, energy sources.”
If you’re anything like me, then the air in Milwaukee makes you sick. Every time a bus or most cars drive by me I want to gag. If the streetcars are as clean and energy efficient as they are said to be, then I am on board.