Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Visit Wauwatosa?

Visit Milwaukee creates a web site for Tosa, which doesn't even tell you how to get there.

By - Feb 15th, 2015 02:35 pm
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Downtown Wauwatosa. Photo by Dave Reid

Downtown Wauwatosa. Photo by Dave Reid

Visit Milwaukee, an organization chartered in 1967 to promote tourism in Milwaukee has announced a new website, VISITWauwatosa.org. According to a press release issued February 10th,

“Wauwatosa is an integral part of Milwaukee’s tourism scene, and the new website helps to centralize visitor information for travelers looking to discover the charm and unique attributes of Milwaukee’s neighbor to the west.”

But it you visit the VisitWauwatosa site you’ll find it has no link showing people how to get to Wauwatosa to discover its charm and unique attributes.  It does, however, offer this cheery message under the heading of “Transportation.”

“No matter if you’re flying in, taking the train or setting out on a road trip, the routes to the Greater Milwaukee area are stress-free and easy to follow. Wauwatosa is just ten minutes away from downtown Milwaukee, and a number of transportation services (including buses, trolleys, taxis, rental cars and more) make it easy to find your way around the area.”

Trolleys? Yes, Wauwatosa was founded as a suburb connected to the city by streetcar, but the trolleys have been gone for decades, except for the ridiculous little red rubber-wheeled machines rented by the hour for bridal parties. There are many bus routes to the city via the county transit system and those could readily be highlighted in a map. However the only map available via the site is a rather crude pdf of the Visit Milwaukee map, which does not include a map of Wauwatosa. (Since they don’t provide one, we will.)

The City of Milwaukee Visit Milwaukee site does have an obscure link to the Milwaukee County Transit System, and its Google-driven maps, but even this bit of information is not available on the Wauwatosa site.

You’d think that a group aimed at tourists and conventioneers would have taken the time to provide a good transit map for folks who might care to take a quick jaunt just west of downtown to see the wonders of Wisconsin’s 14th largest city. It is just 36 minutes by bus from the front door of the convention center!

So why even bother making a VisitWauwatosa.org website?

Wauwatosa is the only city in the region (other than Milwaukee) that contributes to the funding of Visit Milwaukee and its 34 full-time employees. The City of Wauwatosa collects a 7 percent room tax on anyone who stays at its seven hotels. It collected over $900,000 in 2011, of which 30 percent was turned over to Visit Milwaukee. Under state law, any city that collects a room tax must turn over a portion to a tourism agency like Visit Milwaukee, or create its own.

Glendale, with about $700,000 per year in room taxes, used to send its money to Visit Milwaukee, but instead helps fund the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau. WelcometoGlendale.com also lacks a good map of the community, when maps are so easy to come by these days, but is marginally more helpful in the “How to Get Here” category than the Tosa site.

Visit Milwaukee, officially known as The Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau, reported 2013 receipts of nearly $8 million. Its CEO, Paul Upchurch, was paid $282,894 that year.

It’s time our suburbs and Visit Milwaukee itself do a better job of telling visitors where they are, and how to get there, 21st century style.

Categories: Plenty of Horne

5 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Visit Wauwatosa?”

  1. Observer says:

    Perhaps someday I can take the streetcar to Toss to visit the Presidential Home and visit a pharmacy or have the best ones retired?

  2. Jean Casey says:

    So, the lack of a map blights the entire site? “21st century style”, to some, no longer conjures the image of a PDF/map, but instead, a click or two on a keyboard, or better yet, a quick voice command to a smart phone. Take me to Wauwatosa!

  3. John Jansen says:

    Thanks to Julilly, Ann and everyone at Milwaukee Water Commons for your efforts at bringing citizens into the water-related decision-making process. I have been to many cities, and Milwaukee is truly a gem – precisely because of its parks, rivers and Great Lake. While in Denver last week, I marveled at the amount of downtown redevelopment, much of it as a result of new mass transit and pedestrian options. But while their weather is hard to beat, I would never want to live there. It is a dry, arid city with no lakes and only a tiny, hidden-away rivulet on the edge of downtown that only serves as a reminder of what that city does not have – moisture. Milwaukee is among the most livable of cities, and we need to celebrate it and protect and nurture its natural resources. And should we embrace the concept of Milwaukee as a Global Water City. Yes, we should!

  4. Ethril Palpatine says:

    I liked the bars and miss Robertson’s Hardware but parking was and remains a problem. After a hit & run on one of our cars, and a breaking at the public lot across from the bank, we stopped going to the village. Sorry….

  5. Jim Rowen says:

    Funny that the site doesn’t warn people “setting out on a road trip” 10 minutes from Downtown to Tosa about the I-94 lane and ramp closings in the Zoo Interchange project, but I’m sure the transportation link will get updated when the next decade or so of lane and ramp closings gets underway from 35th-to-70th Streets.

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