Milwaukee streetcar

The Milwaukee Streetcar

Like it or not, the Milwaukee Streetcar is becoming a reality. Groundbreaking is essentially underway, as We Energies is moving utility lines along the two mile route through downtown. Service is slated to begin in 2018. But, arguments continue surfacing.

Perhaps the person who feels most passionately about the Milwaukee Streetcar is Mayor Tom Barrett. The project has been on his radar since he first took office in 2004.

Atlanta Streetcar

Modern day streetcar systems are popping up in places such as Dallas, Portland and Kansas City with hopes of sparking economic revival. Milwaukee leaders desire similar results here as they prepare to debut a system in 2018. But, not every project has lived up to its hype.

It took years longer than projected for the streetcar system in Washington D.C. to finally begin operating.

Martin Austermuhle says problems started back in 2007, when the district first began construction. 

Marti Mikkelson

If you’ve been driving downtown lately, you may have noticed streets ripped up around the Milwaukee Public Market. We Energies is moving utility lines to make way for the Milwaukee Streetcar.

The first leg will connect the Third Ward, the Intermodal Station and the east side. Service is slated to begin in 2018.

A few blocks away, inside the Zeidler Municipal Building, City Engineer Jeff Polenske is pouring over designs. He says the city intends to build a modern, state-of-the-art streetcar system.

Milwaukee County Historical Society

As Milwaukee inches closer to building a modern day streetcar system, WUWM kicks off a series, called Streetcar: High Risk, High Reward?

First, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson revisits Milwaukee's old system.

Streetcars are rumbling back to life in cities across the country from Portland to Salt Lake City and Atlanta, with New York becoming the latest city to hop on the bandwagon. But as these new streetcars run into unexpected roadblocks, critics say this mode of transportation might not be the answer to great public transit.

New York City has an ambitious, multibillion-dollar plan to connect Brooklyn and Queens with a streetcar. It would bring convenience to residents from Red Hook, an isolated area cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by water and a major highway.

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Mayor Tom Barrett announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the city a $14.2 million grant to enable construction of the Milwaukee Streetcar's Lakefront Line.  

The Common Council approved the extension in February, along with phase 1 of the streetcar project.

The Lakefront Line will connect Cathedral Square to the lakefront, and will include a stop along the planned Couture development.  Groundbreaking on phase 1 of the project is scheduled for spring of 2016.

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The downtown streetcar project has been out of the news for a while, but momentum continues to bubble both by planners and those who want to stop future expansions of the project. For instance, the city will soon make a major purchase, according to Ald. Bob Bauman, one of the streetcar’s biggest supporters.

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Michelle Maternowski

Opponents of the downtown Milwaukee streetcar project said they're launching a petition drive to block any potential expansion of the project. That word came after a previous drive fell short of its goal, amid questions over whether it would have carried any legal weight.

Even with plans for the first phase of the streetcar moving forward, many supporters say the project really only represents the tip of the iceberg when it comes to addressing the challenges of transit in the Milwaukee area.

TheMilwaukeeStreetCar

    

Opponents of Milwaukee's streetcar project have until Thursday to turn in at least 31,000 signatures if they hope to put the issue on the ballot.

Milwaukee Streetcar

Milwaukee is moving ahead with a downtown streetcar. 

The Milwaukee StreetCar

After months of debate, the City of Milwaukee has approved a two-mile streetcar loop, which will run through downtown and the Third Ward.

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Opponents of a proposed downtown Milwaukee streetcar project are continuing to collect signatures in an effort to get the issue before voters. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Common Council plans to hold its final up or down vote on the project at its February 10th meeting.

On Friday, 12 Common Council members signed a letter criticizing Ald. Joe Dudzik for suggesting a streetcar would be the scene of a rape or shooting.

milwaukeestreetcar.com

The Milwaukee Common Council on Wednesday voted in favor of building downtown streetcar line.

Milwaukee Streetcar

UPDATE: Milwaukee Common Council votes to delay final vote on streetcar proposal until February 10, to allow a petition drive to continue.

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