The Milwaukee Streetcar project’s 2.1 mile proposed initial route (or hub) would connect the Intermodal Station (AMTRAK and buses) and its 1.4 million annual users, the Third Ward (the fastest-growing neighborhood in Milwaukee), East Town (with the largest concentration of jobs in the state), and the lower east side (the highest-density residential neighborhood in Wisconsin).
Specifically, the initial route was identified to serve the greatest numbers of riders along a route that also provides significant opportunities for economic development. It was designed to complement existing bus routes, especially the major bus corridor along Wisconsin Ave.
What is not mentioned much is the plan or vision for potential future areas of streetcar service in the city. Looking at the map to the left, you can see that there are possible extensions and routes that could connect the main hub to several key areas of Milwaukee on the south, west, north and east sides.
Although our freeway system today is fairly complex, it had rather humble beginnings. It started as a hub (the first segment was built between N.13th St. and N. Hawley Rd., and the second segment was located on the south side, and the two segments were not connected for several years), and the streetcar would be no different. The system needs to have a starter hub to build off of.
It’s important to understand that this is simply a vision of what the system could look like and what key destinations the streetcar could provide connectivity to. A next step would be to initiate a planning effort that would identify city wide route extensions (once funding is identified) and an implementation strategy that would, in part, take into consideration community needs, development opportunities, connectivity to other transportation modes, ridership potential, and route feasibility.
I understand the various points of view on the streetcar project, and I am listening to what residents have to say.
If you have a moment, please go to www.themilwaukeestreetcar.com for more details about the project.