Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Take A Virtual Ride on The Hop

Mayor shows off The Hop in advance of Friday's public opening.

By - Oct 29th, 2018 05:22 pm
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Mayor Tom Barrett riding The Hop. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett riding The Hop. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

After taking his first ride, Mayor Tom Barrett is pleased the streetcar is on time, on budget and easy to ride.

“I think it’s a good, smooth ride,” the mayor told the media as the vehicle pulled into the Cathedral Square station after running the length of the 2.1-mile-long route.

Barrett, just days away from cutting the ribbon on a project that has been in the works since he was in Congress in 1991, is bullish on the future of the system. “I think it’s a question of when, not a matter of if,” he said when asked about the prospects for expanding the system.

While the vehicle was in motion, Barrett sold a vision of a more vibrant, connected city. “What we said all along is this is about economic development and connecting people,” stated Barrett.

Barrett was joined on the trip by Department of City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux. Barrett and the commissioner pointed out a number of development projects underway along the route including the Street Car Lofts, BMO Tower, Milwaukee Athletic Club project and Joshua Jeffers office building planned for N. Broadway. “We’ve had a significant amount of interest from the development community,” said Marcoux while pointing out that the city’s permitting office was immediately adjacent to a stop.

The mayor said the streetcar helps Milwaukee compete against cities like Minneapolis, Seattle and Denver as opposed to Wichita, Kansas and Fresno, California. He highlighted Wichita and Fresno as the other two largest cities in the country without a fixed route transit system that is planned or operating.

“Our challenge going forward is to create more family-sustaining jobs in the neighborhoods that are distressed, but we have to start with a strong heart,” Barrett told the media.

The Grand Hop-ening

The public will get its chance to hop aboard the approximately $100 million first phase of The Hop on Friday at 1 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for noon at Cathedral Square Park. Rides are free for the first year as a result of a $10 million Potawatomi Hotel & Casino sponsorship agreement and a federal grant.

After you take your ride, love it or hate it, you can join Urban Milwaukee at a party to celebrate its opening at 4 p.m. on Friday at Taylor’s.

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More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

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