Dave Reid

Urban Exploration

By - Nov 17th, 2009 09:19 am
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Portland StreetcarOn the flight out to Portland we met UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning graduate student Kevin Duffy.  He was out visiting Portland for the same reason we were, urban exploration.  He put together a video that points out many of the great features of Portland, including the light-rail system, the streetcar, some of the bike infrastructure, and a touch of Portland culture.  Some of these improvements could be imported to Milwaukee, such as the proposed streetcar system, narrow streets, or even on-street bike racks.  See for yourself:



10 thoughts on “Urban Exploration”

  1. Chris Barncard says:

    If you squeeze Portland’s rail system into a pitch in Wisconsin, forget to mention that nobody ever checks to make sure you’ve paid your fare on the trains. That wouldn’t go over well. Ditto for the lack of advertising revenue. The only ads I saw on the MAX were reminding people not to get hit by the MAX.

  2. Nicholas Crawford says:

    Ah Portland… the lovely place where I got married. =)

  3. Jeff Jordan says:

    Nice photography, videography and story. When it comes to turnstile jumping or fare evasion, MCT has got to be up there with any city. Does anybody really think that the bus drivers look to see if the fare cards are current or if they are even fare cards? Off the record, I’ve been told it’s 100’s of thousands.
    Press your Rep to work for the Southeastern Wisconsin RTA.

  4. EWO says:

    Portland is a great American example, but I think it is important to include the best examples outside the US, such as Tokyo or Amsterdam.

    Some notes of fare revenue and transportation costs.
    1. Secured fare revenue comes from monthly and annual passes such as a University Pass or a company supplied pass, not from pay per use. To an occasional rider it might appear that people holding monthly passes are not paying because the skip the fare box. Only tourists and the poor pay per use, and even then tourist often buy multi-day visitors passes. The poor pay per use because they dont have access to white collar purchasing programs. 2. Fares don’t pay for public transportation; In The Netherlands the transportation authority did a study which proved that it actually costs more to employ people to check fares than the loss from people not paying fares. This is why many of the newest systems, globally, don’t have turn-styles or gates. Also people load trains faster without a gate. 3. Public transportation is payed for the same way that roads and bridges are, taxes. Fares only make up a small portion of any public transportation system’s operating costs. For anyone who worries that light rail is too expensive they should consider that the per person cost to build and maintain a two lane highway is more than double a rail line. Also the price to buy a rail car per rider is less than half the price per person to buy an automobile.

  5. Dan Adams says:

    Cool video. I gotta ask you about your trip later. Just another example of “If ______ city can do it, why can’t Milwaukee?” We have to get over our inferiority complex and realize that we aren’t that much different from cities doing cool things like streetcars. The only difference is that those cities are actually doing cool things and for some reason we aren’t. Videos like this will definitely help with the awareness issue.

  6. Dave Reid says:

    @Dan I hear ya.. So often I hear people saying “oh milwaukee can’t do that for xyz…” I’m always like sure we can.

  7. EWO says:

    I seems a lot of the xyz reasons why Milwaukee can’t are fairly week, maybe what Milwaukee needs is more excitement or publicity. Everyone in Milwaukee needs to learn that building a street car is cheaper than building a road, and that operating a street car is cheaper than a bus. There is potential, everyone just needs to want it and be vocal.

  8. As a Portland native (born and raised in North Portland) that transplanted to Milwaukee in 2002, that video makes me a bit home sick. I’d love to see many of the things that Portland has done that makes the city great come to Milwaukee. Portland wasn’t always a Utopia, it had to start somewhere. I rode on the first Max rail line, and want to ride the first street car in Milwaukee. What it takes on a personal level is nixing the ney-sayers. I am in a one car family and bike to work (Tippecanoe to Walkers Point), it works. Outside of a powerful infrastructure, Portland understands and respects small communities, They centralize some things, but leave others where they belong. You can live in Southwest Portland, and not need to leave a 20 block section, yet somehow it is still a destination. There’s a blend of high class/price boutiques with reasonable establishments, and they hold each other up. From a transportation standpoint, it’s tough. People not only want, they demand and then use all the public transit, and tri-met makes it easy. Thanks for all that you do to help drive Milwaukee in the right direction.

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