Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee

9.13.2005

Milwaukee Connector still alive

As JSOnline reports, the study to improve Milwaukee's mass transit continues. Plans to build a light rail system have been scrapped with the focus shifting to a less expensive electric guided bus system.

It's unfortunate that light rail has gotten a bad rap in this city. It's almost as if the opponents have never visited other cities where it works so well. Other cities around the country have built or are in the process of building light rail transit networks.

I'm not sold on this electric guided bus idea. The only country that currently uses this technology is France, and from what I've been reading, it's unproven in snowy conditions which is obviously a concern. Milwaukee's failure to move forward with improved transit is one thing that holds us back while cities like Portland, Minneapolis, and Phoenix thrive.

For those who question the need for more transit options and think buses serve the need just fine, I'll explain briefly. Buses use the same streets as cars, which means when there is a traffic jam, buses get caught up in it along with all the other cars. This leads to delays and renders the system unreliable to some degree. Also, bus routes are subject to change and therefore aren't the economic development tool that fixed rail lines are. Just as a freeway exit provides economic opportunity, a rail stop does the same.

[Milwaukee Connector site]

1 Comments:

At 9/15/2005 12:48:00 AM, Anonymous Jason Haas said...

I'm with you about light rail -- Milwaukee once had extensive rail systems as did Madison. Why we can't have it again I don't know. But...

Albuquerque, New Mexico has a cool bus system with a long, mosty straight line running from east to west through town. It has many stops, each about a mile apart, and a bus arrives at each stop every ten minutes. It's cheap to ride and apparently economical for the city. I rode it last time I was there, and it was great. I knew exactly where I needed to be and I knew if I missed one, the next would be along shortly.

Of course it's a bus, which falls under the conditions you described. Plus it's using diesel, which is petroleum-based. Much as I like diesel, it is, as I said, petroleum-based. Bio-diesel is not, but I imagine any proposal to base the bus system on bio-diesel would get laughed at and its sponsors laughed out of office.

 

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