Our 2014 Wish List
Bruce Murphy, Dave Reid and Jeramey Jannene offer their take on how to build a better city.
No, Milwaukee isn’t a great city yet, but it has made notable improvements. What more needs to be done? Below is our wish list for 2014.
We’ve limited ourselves to five wishes apiece. Feel free to offer your own wishes in the comments section, or for that matter, your disagreements with our list. We’ve got thick skin, we can take it.
- A New DCD Commissioner: This is a hugely important position, if the goal is to build a great city. Why not recruit nationally for the most visionary leader possible?
- Triage at Grand Avenue Mall: Tear down the western half, move the food court and any other vibrant businesses to the Plankinton Arcade, maximize the strengths of that noble building, and let developers bid on the new empty land to the west.
- More charging stations: Make the city a welcoming place for electric cars.
- County Comptroller study of county constitutional officers: The antiquated positions of County Treasurer, Register of Deeds and County Clerk don’t need to be elected, pay too high a salary and can probably be absorbed into the county administration at far less cost. Let’s study the issue and look for some 21st century, rather than 19th century solutions.
- Public Bids for Milwaukee to Chicago train: Some visionary rail company might do a far better and more imaginative job of running it than Amtrak. Maybe they’d even use modern cars like Talgo makes.
- Streetcar to break ground: The minute the rails go in the ground the debate changes. It’s time to change the debate.
- More urban infill : The next phase of The North End, another Park East development, East Side parking lots becoming buildings, adaptive reuse projects, and foreclosed homes being restored. These are the kind of projects that build a more vibrant city.
- A brighter future for the Milwaukee County Transit System: More than ten years of service cuts and fare increases leave little optimism for riders. Here’s hoping a new fare system, real time data, and settling the issue of who will manage the system can fix things.
- Herb Kohl to pony up $250 million for a new arena: This is a completely arbitrary number I’ve chosen and I’ll frankly support any form of public support to pay the rest of the cost. Of course, if Kohl wants to go higher, we’ll cheer loudly for him.
- Less embarrassment from all of Milwaukee County: The petty squabbles between the board and the county executive don’t help the image of the city and have yet to result in any better public policy.
- Streetcar project gets rolling: Other cities such as Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City are moving ahead with their streetcar projects. It’s time for Milwaukee to act.
- Streetcar project wins TIGER grant: Not only does the project get rolling in 2014, but Milwaukee is finally awarded TIGER funds allowing the project to go all the way to Brady St.
- Bike-sharing expands beyond 30 stations: Bike-sharing is scheduled to rollout in 2014, but still needs that corporate partner to take it to the next level. If a company like Johnson Controls or Colectivo realizes the branding opportunity and gets on board, bike-sharing could expand to neighborhoods across the city.
- Walker’s Point Whimsy Walk : People are still dancing on Cathedral Square’s piano crosswalks. Wouldn’t a wavy walk celebrating the Global Water Center be a nice touch?
- New WisDOT Secretary: This one is pure fantasy, but here’s hoping that Gov. Scott Walker lets Secretary of the Department of Transportation Mark Gottlieb go and has a come to urbanism moment, replacing him with transportation legend, Janette Sadik-Khan, the former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.