Bob Donovan
Press Release

Across the nation, a bad week for streetcars

Cost overruns, low ridership, and a fire – is this where Milwaukee’s headed?

By - Feb 23rd, 2015 12:52 pm

February 2015 has not exactly been a stellar month for streetcars in the U.S., and I believe what we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg and a major source of worry for anyone concerned about the future of commuting in Milwaukee.

In Washington, D.C. – where a new streetcar line is just now undergoing testing and is more than a year behind schedule – a fire broke out on top of one of the streetcars! The fire broke out late this past Saturday, and thank goodness the driver and no one else was injured. It is my understanding that this D.C. line has been unable to pass safety inspections for six months, and now an independent review board is coming into the city to study the failures. Read more here:

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2015/02/22/streetcars-latest-problem-catching-on-fire/

Also in D.C., the new streetcar is really jamming up traffic and not exactly looking like it will be an efficient, well-utilized line. Those details can be found in the link below.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/manhattan-moment-dc-streetcars-dont-just-combust-they-also-congest/article/2560549

Things are not very peachy down in Atlanta, where the Atlanta Streetcar is now operating and is underperforming in projected ridership (18% lower than expectations and at a time rides are FREE!). If that news isn’t bad enough, the streetcar’s operating costs are now projected to be 50% higher! Read about it here:

http://kylewingfield.blog.ajc.com/2015/02/19/atlantas-over-budget-and-under-utilized-streetcar-whodathunkit/

Lastly, from coast to coast smart people are looking hard at the “cost versus benefit” factor with streetcars in markets where bus service has generally worked well for getting people around for decades. What many are finding is that – surprise! – the buses get people around just as fast or faster than streetcars, and at a cost that is not even close to the massive price tag of installing even a mile or two of trolley tracks. Details here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/business/to-save-on-rail-lines-market-the-bus-line.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

So, as you can see, the rush to build streetcar systems is way out in front of good, common sense. I have called for common sense to prevail in Milwaukee all along – I just wish the mayor would stop and listen.

But when it comes to the streetcar, apparently he’s tone deaf to anything that sounds like common sense.

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19 thoughts on “Across the nation, a bad week for streetcars”

  1. Paul says:

    Thank you Bob for standing up for the best interests of the city of Milwaukee and its taxpayers.

  2. TR says:

    We need more people in office with Bob’s heart,passion,and vision for MIlwaukee.

  3. PMD says:

    Yes we really need more people in office who spend 99% of their time writing press releases and seeking ways to get on TV.

  4. Andy Stevenson says:

    I am sure the mayor’s streetcar will be known as A Streetcar Named Disaster.

  5. Rich says:

    … vision for MIlwaukee.

    What exactly was that “vision” again? It isn’t clear to me and likely isn’t to anyone else either…

  6. PMD says:

    Oh zing Andy! How long did it take you to come up with that one? The mayor needs some ice for that burn.

  7. Dave says:

    Anything to distract from the absolute failure of your petition drive, eh Bob? Good luck running for Mayor.

  8. Brisls says:

    Instead of putting any intelligent thought into a comment, you people sound like 6 yr olds on a playground. Time to grow up.

  9. Eric S says:

    Washington seems to be proving unable to get their streetcar line up and running. That seems more like an indictment of Washington’s city government (and whatever specific agencies are involved) rather than a particular mode of transportation.

    Atlanta’s streetcar has not met ridership projections. Perhaps the chosen route was not the best option. Again, though, this does not show that streetcars should not be part of Milwaukee’s public transit network.

  10. Dave says:

    Long ago, most of us gave up trying to debate the likes of Bob Donovan, brisls. He is incapable or reasoned, rational debate. Instead, he cherry picks tidbits of information to to support his backward, knuckle dragging views and constantly writes out of context, misinformed and downright lying press releases on a daily basis to further inflate his gigantic ego. Fortunately for us, his Milwaukee hating, conservative pandering petition to gain support for his bid for Mayor…err…kill the streetcar…has failed in spectacular fashion. I’m going to enjoy the next few years of him fading to irrelevance as his washed up, over the hill, ignorant base goes the way of the dinosaurs.

  11. PMD says:

    There are fatal car accidents every day in this country. We should never build a new road. And I hope Bob never flies. Planes crash from time to time.

  12. Kyle says:

    Dave, I couldn’t agree more! When accusing someone of avoiding reasoned, rational debate, I find it always helps to follow with some of the following terms: knuckle dragging, backward, lying, gigantic ego, hating, pandering, washed up, over the hill, ignorant, goes the way of the dinosaurs.

    Hopefully your words inspire him to rise to the level of reasoned and rational.

  13. PMD says:

    Kyle didn’t you forget fascist? Or is that for a different story?

  14. Tom D says:

    Buses can catch fire, too. Here are two examples in the past two weeks, each of which destroyed a bus:

    February 13 in downtown Cleveland:
    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/02/cleveland_rta_bus_catches_fire_1.html

    February 15 in New Jersey outside NYC:
    http://www.nj.com/monmouth/index.ssf/2015/02/nj_transit_bus_destroyed_in_route_9_fire.html

    By contrast, in the streetcar incident Donovan cites, the fire went out on its own, and the streetcar’s interior was undamaged.

  15. Kyle says:

    PMD, I left of lots of terms that add to a rational discussion. But a quick search of the page shows you’re the first one to say “fascist” in this discussion. Congratulations! That’s not an easy feat when talking about Wisconsin politics. As for me, I tried to list only terms Dave used in the three sentences after calling Donovan incapable of reasoned, rational debate. I probably still missed a few.

    Obviously both sides of guilty of rhetoric like this. I just found it amusing that Dave decided to abandon reason and resort to insults immediately after accusing Donovan of that. Of course Donovan picks his data to make his case, and I’m also getting tired of the daily press releases, but the worse insult in this press release is “tone deaf”.

  16. PMD says:

    Thank you. I’d like to thank the Academy. And yeah this is a pretty tame press release for Bob. Not nearly as many exclamation points as usual.

  17. Dave says:

    Perhaps the point that engaging in reasoned, rational debate with those incapable of it is pointless was lost on you, Kyle. I doubt it, though. You just get off on critiquing the comment section of Urban Milwaukee. Pretty pathetic. Almost as pathetic as trolling the mens room of public parks like our esteemed Alderman.

  18. Kyle says:

    I appreciate that there’s a more robust discussion in Urban Milwaukee’s comment section than the other local news sites. I wouldn’t say that I get off critiquing the comment section, and it certainly wouldn’t be the only thing that gets me off. But coming from someone who stalks the press releases of politicians he disagrees with, and knows the bathroom habits of at least one Alderman, I suppose it’s not the worst thing I could be accused of.

  19. Dave says:

    Touche.

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