This afternoon I was invited to a transit listening session hosted by the Wauwatosa West Suburban Area Chamber of Commerce. I have seen the transit pitch before and frankly I am sold. The problem as I see it though isn’t planning, it is promotion. Many people in our corner of the world feel they are entitled to owning a car, and in most cases two. I have never felt “entitled” I have felt it necessary. It is a shame too because there are plenty of other cities I have visited and gotten around quite fine without a car; Rome, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco…I think you get the point. The point of course is that somewhere along the way we dropped the ball. Now we not only need to play catch up with our infrastructure but we need to win some hearts and minds too. It is going to take a complete paradigm shift in the mentality of Milwaukeeans to ever get the support needed to get a better transit system in place.
I will start with this; by not having a viable and adequate transit system in place we are not only detracting businesses from coming to Milwaukee, but eventually, sooner or later some are going to leave and they will site not taxes, not climate, but lack of transit as the reason why. The business leaders that I heard today have it right--we need leadership on this issue now before it is too late.
Think the economy is bad now?
Wait until a few companies fold up their tent and leave town.