Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ChooChoo Promises

P-Mac has a column up, describing his conversation with Mr. Rubin. Rubin studied the ChooChoo (KRM route) and was not thrilled. To be fair, he thinks it's a 'middling cost' project, requiring only about $28.00/ride in subsidies.

Such a deal.

One graph caught my attention:

"Commuter rail is, to a very high degree, an all-or-nothing option," he writes. It's impossible to erase a mistake, so we'd just keep throwing money in.

That's a virtue, say rail's backers: Such permanence means riders won't worry that the route will change. This will induce them to buy nice condos nearby and sell their cars. Thus, say rail backers, it will reshape the lakeshore cities and downtown Milwaukee


Really?

If that were true:

1) Brookfield, Tosa, and Elm Grove would still have passenger-train stops, and

2) Brookfield, Tosa, and Elm Grove would have lots of condominium projects surrounding the train stations.

I recall the commuter train into Milwaukee; it started in Oconomowoc, and stopped (inter alia) in Brookfield, Elm Grove, and Tosa before getting downtown. It basically died out in the early '70's (or so), and was briefly revived in the '90's. The one fellow we knew who used the commuter train owned two cars--one for himself, and one for his wife, even though he hoofed it to and from the station (about 4 blocks one-way) every day.

By no coincidence, the couple was childless. That made choo-choo-ing a very simple decision.

One other ironic note: the condos in Tosa and Elm Grove which are near the train-stations were all built AFTER the commuter train stopped running.

Maybe the ChooChooBoyzzz can explain that.

3 comments:

Andy K. said...

Reshape downtown Milwaukee? Is there even a railway into downtown? And, we've already GOT condos along every piece of free land. There's about a million condos on the river, even more on the lakefront, and they're building even larger ones on the East Side. Do we seriously *need* more condos? And why would these people live in condos downtown? Does downtown have that many jobs? *In addition to that* why don't they just move downtown near their jobs, where they can walk or bike to work? And who wants to live downtown when they work elsewhere?

I love Milwaukee, but I don't think commuter rail is anything we need. What would be nice is a train connection to Chicago, Madison, and Green Bay (tourism, students, and Packers games!).

Anonymous said...

Dad29 transit is really coming around here in the states.

Anonymous said...

Just go to places like Salt Lake City, Denver, Dallas, LA. ANd see how the voters feel about it.
And you attack it for being subsidized. You might as well attack all transportation and public schools for that matter.
BTW, this is an issue where Peter DiGuadio claims to know the facts but simply cannot debate.