Milwaukee aiming to start streetcar line construction in 2014


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Milwaukee streetcar simulation: UrbanMilwaukee.com

 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin — After well over a decade of controversy and political gridlock, engineering design is now under way, and squabbling has even started over who must pay for moving utilities.

Planners and city officials are aiming to start construction in 2014, with tentative completion and opening of the line targeted for 2016. The initial 2.1-mile starter line is projected to have an investment cost of $64.6 million. That’s about $31 million per mile — but the cars and maintenance shop (carbarn) are included. (For comparative purposes, when freeways and similar large road projects are discussed, the costs of motor vehicles and all their garages and maintenance facilities are never included in project estimates.)

The Federal Transit Administration has committed funding of $54 million to the project.

The route extends from 4th St. on the southwest, eastward along St. Paul, northward along the Van Buren corridor, then westward on Ogden to its northeastern terminus.

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Map: Walker’s Point Blog

 

Consulting firms HNTB and HDR have been hired to perform final engineering work.

For more details, check out this recent article in the Milwaukee Business Journal: Milwaukee hires engineer to continue streetcar design work.

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Walkable City book applauds John Schneider for “single-handedly bringing streetcars to Cincinnati”


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[Graphic of book cover: CNU]

by Lyndon Henry

My Urban Rail Today colleague John Schneider is given some much-deserved kudos in Jeff Speck’s acclaimed book on urban livability and new urbanism, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time.

A review posted on the website of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) describes Speck as ” a city planner who advocates for smart growth and sustainable design”; he’s also the author of Suburban Nation, depicted as a “landmark bestseller”.

“Bursting with sharp observations and real-world examples, giving key insight into what urban planners actually do and how places can and do change, Walkable City lays out a practical, necessary, and eminently achievable vision of how to make our normal American cities great again…” reports the review.

One of the “real-world examples”, cited on page 140 in a chapter titled “Let Transit Work”, is “John Schneider of Protransit, who is single-handedly bringing streetcars to Cincinnati, someone out there hunting down federal and state dollars, leading fact-finding junkets, and otherwise fighting the good fight for mass transit.” (Protransit is a Cincinnati-area group advocating rail transit alternatives for the city.)

John (known locally as “Mr. Streetcar”) declines credit for “hunting down federal and state dollars”, but he’s certainly forged new paths in terms of “leading fact-finding junkets” — through organizing enlightening trips, year after year, from Cincinnati, Ohio to Portland, Oregon, for groups of various regional civic officials and community leaders to visit Portland and inspect the metro area’s globally acclaimed rail transit systems first-hand. Those eye-opening excursions have clearly played a key role in persuading local community leaders (and similar participants from other communities) to back rail transit in Cincinnati and elsewhere — and represent a highly effective model for urban rail supporters to nurture local support in their own cities.

The CNU review includes excerpts from Speck’s book and a link for ordering a copy from Amazon.