Michael Cudahy Proposes His Transit Solution
While County Executive Scott Walker and Mayor Tom Barrett continue to debate over the use of the $91.5 million the federal government has earmarked for transportation, entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Michael Cudahy has proposed his own solution.
Walker advocates an express-bus only approach, while Barrett advocates a system that utilizes downtown streetcars and express buses to expand the area. Cudahy advocates a plan that uses only streetcars.
When it comes to quality of service and area covered, Cudahy’s proposal is the best. The first would resemble the 30 bus route, but ultimately head west towards the County Grounds (where UWM plans to build their new engineering campus) after meeting up with Marquette. The second would link the redeveloped Milwaukee Intermodal Station (formerly Amtrak) with MATC, The Brewery (Pabst Redevelopment), and head up Fond du Lac Ave to North Ave.
When it comes to getting people to work from the central city and linking urban dwellers with surrounding areas, Cudahy’s plan seems the one most likely to generate long-term success. The only weakness is the apparent lack of a southern spur from downtown, but the proposed KRM solution would cover the gaps.
A light-rail streetcar system is far more marketable as a sales piece for relocating businesses and residents, and tourists coming to the city.
Cudahy’s proposal best utilizes previous investments (Grand Ave Mall, Midwest Airlines Center, UWM, Marquette, County Grounds), while linking with new high-growth areas (The Brewery and Park East Neighborhood) and providing a reason for logical redevelopment of some previously less-attractive areas (Fond du Lac Avenue).
Hopefully Mayor Barrett jumps on board behind the Cudahy proposal and Walker eventually comes on board.