I don’t think a trolley is bad for Milwaukee.

But a Milwaukee trolley subsidized by every ratepayer in the utility is a disastrous idea. The Assembly is moving the anticipated costs of relocating utilities away from tracks to the city instead of the ratepayers. It’s a good call.

Milwaukee has a lot of things it can accomplish to continue its rise to the top. It is catching some fine accolades lately. Movoto put Milwaukee on a list of The 10 Most Exciting Cities in America.

The 10 Most Exciting Cities

Check out the whole explanation of what makes a good city.

These are the 10 criteria we surveyed:

Park acreage per person
Percent of population between 20 and 34 years old
Fast food restaurants per square mile (the fewer the better)
Bars per square mile
Big box stores per square mile (the fewer the better)
Population diversity
Movie theaters per square mile
Museums per square mile
Theater companies per square mile
Music venues per square mile

No mention of public transportation. Granted, this list is for fun. But don’t you want to be able to get to the fun?

The youngest has been using the Milwaukee County transit system for several months now. She hates it. Before you get your undies in a bundle, it’s not because she’s spoiled. She lived in New York City, Dublin, and Buenos Aires, Aregentina, with only public transportation. (Ok, she’s spoiled. But she’s not automobile dependent.) She’s spent time in dozens of other cities relying only on public transportation and walking. But Milwaukee, she says, invokes a special kind of hell when riding their buses. Drunken, leering men at all times of the day, for one. Hoodlums that want to steal your phone for another. She’s learned to hold her own in these situations, but she’s ticked she has to encounter them at all – especially since she’s never had to do so in all the other places she’s lived.

I wish I had recorded the ten-minute rant she had describing the bus filled with teens and men who refused to give up a seat for the one elderly woman who boarded. All the other riders on the bus were black. She was the only one to give up a lean-to position for the woman. They were the only two whites riding.

And that leads to my summary today. Mayor Tom Barrett, your city still has problems no trolley will ever solve. Change the attitude of many of your residents to create a more unified community and you might get your little train some day. Otherwise, tough luck. No one will risk riding the darn thing.


  1. Simon Blue says:

    Whoever supports this trolly in its current form is definately watching too much neighborhood of make believe.