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Speed and frequency is what makes passenger rail successful. The Fox Valley-Mke line was doomed from the start with those slow , plodding speeds. The same set up was done a few years back, connecting Janesville to Union Station with amtrak.... a four hour trip each way. Of course it failed. Neither plan was serious, nor can it be serious, without track upgrades for higher speeds, and enough investment for several trains , each way, per day.
Yeah I think the Fox Cities GB corridor is just way too spread out to make sense. Madison has the benefits of a relatively dense DT which is lacking in the State's third largest CSA.
 

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Honestly, I think Acuity should get into the housing game for its workforce. Sometimes, it takes these big developers being willing to push the envelope for things to happen. I think the success of NML is the single biggest reason the Ascent is happening. And...I hope that NML has plans for future downtown developments even if on a smaller, more affordable scale.

These big employers should be pressing their city - and regional developers to say "there is demand here, we are that demand, do it." We really need greater synergy between major employers and developers. It's win-win. The company can keep more workers locally and the developer has people a ready-built tenant pool paying rent or buying units. Most of the time, it feels like there's a job announcement and then there's at least a year lag before something gets proposed and even longer before its built. I get the caution, but imagine if these companies partner with a master developer and the city - and give the heads up so that there isn't a severe shortage that takes years to address?
 

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Speed and frequency is what makes passenger rail successful. The Fox Valley-Mke line was doomed from the start with those slow , plodding speeds. The same set up was done a few years back, connecting Janesville to Union Station with amtrak.... a four hour trip each way. Of course it failed. Neither plan was serious, nor can it be serious, without track upgrades for higher speeds, and enough investment for several trains , each way, per day.
Completely agree. We as a society, and even those of us on this forum who love the idea of mass-transportation will be slow to adopt it unless there is solid funding, efficiency, and easy access. As has been said many times, there is no reason why Milwaukee and Madison cannot support a successful mass-transit system. When doing these types of systems they have to be well laid out. One of my fears with the HOP system is that we need a critical mass (such as the system going to the North-East side) to really take full advantage of the system and win over detractors.
 

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For a city it's size, Sheboygan has a great food scene.
Oh i know it does and honestly I've been through Naples and the Amalfi Coast region and both pizzerias make pizzas that taste exactly the way they do there. I offered the remark more as a ribbing and a plug for both restaurants. I actually probably like Il Ritrovo a bit more, the bartenders at San Georgio's never splash extra wine in your glass just because.

That Riverwalk in Sheboygan's Harbor has been a great development and personally on those rare heat wave days I like to take the wife up to Sheboygan where seems as though it never gets above 78 degrees. Even when its 94 in the East Side of Milwaukee.
 

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I think this is both a challenge and a weakness for the state of Wisconsin. We have many beautiful mid-size cities. Also our population is more spread out in these cities compared to other states like a Minnesota or Illinois which is dominated by one large metro area. Like Green bay, Sheboygan, Appleton, Wausau, and the like. These cities have dense and old downtowns. The weakness is that it creates competition and rivalry instead of synergy against Milwaukee and Madison. Second, demographically those mid-size cities are not seeing the growth of larger cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison, and Indianapolis.
 

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Couple of quick Amtrak notes to throw in...

Regarding Fox Valley versus Madison, a key concern I have about FDL-OSH-ATW-GRB train is the time. Back in 2000 when Amtrak was trying to break into light cargo market they planned to extend one of the Hiawatha trips to Fond du Lac. It was pretty much ready to go; was even published in their timetable before being pulled at the last minute. The scheduled time between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac alone was two hours, so the total running time up to GRB would probably be about 4 hours. A car can to MKE-GRB in about 1:50 going up the lakeshore or 2:10 going through the Fox Valley, The exiting bus service...with intermediate stops....takes 2:40 via Sheboygan/Manitowoc and 3:20 via FDL/OSH/ATW/DePere. Now the train (or bus for that matter) does not have to match the speed of a private car to be successful. It has other advantages in addition to drawing people who have zero car option. But four hours is pretty brutal. The route through the Valley is the right one -- even if the Lakeshore route still existed (it does not) the population is much greater there. But I worry that anything much over 3 hours will be a deal breaker. And I don't think there are any plans to put anything faster than the conventional 79 mph service up to Green Bay. I don't recall specific proposed Madison times, but while conventional will certainly be slower than driving I don't recall them being as prohibitively long as Green Bay might be. And Madison was planned to upgrade to 125mph which would make them very competitive with driving.

Regarding the Milwaukee Airport and Sturtevant stop they are both used pretty significantly. Combined they are about 30% of Wisconsin's ridership on the Hiawatha line.

2019 fiscalper daystation
615604​
1687​
Milwaukee Intermodal
178959​
490​
Milwaukee Airport
81844​
224​
Sturtevant
55558​
152​
Glenview
816299​
2236​
Chicago Union Station

Something related which i posted elsewhere and was meaning to post to the Transportation thread here, but it kind of fits the discussion.
Outside of the Northeast Corridor and California, out of the many hundreds of Amtrak stations in the nation Milwaukee is #3, Milwaukee Airport is #10, and Sturtevant is #35.

Top 10 Amtrak stations outside the Northeast and CA, plus select other stations, 2019

1 …… 3,379,760 Chicago
2 …....... 682,732 Seattle
3 …....... 639,713 Milwaukee Intermodal
4 …....... 585,483 Portland
5 …....... 377,894 St Louis
6 …....... 240,607 Bloomington/Normal
7 …....... 226,035 Sanford FL (Autotrain)
8 …....... 192,143 Charlotte
9 …....... 180,741 Champaign/Urbana
10 …..... 178,959 Milwaukee Airport
11 …..... 172,874 Raleigh
13 …..... 159,305 New Orleans
15 …..... 153,528 Kansas City
16 …..... 142,982 Denver
18 …..... 132,528 Rochester
19 …..... 131,525 Syracuse
20 …..... 129,946 Pittsburgh
21 …..... 127,187 Orlando
25 …..... 110,312 Tampa
30 …....... 90,961 Minneapolis/St Paul
35 …....... 81,844 Sturtevant WI
36 …....... 75,397 Reno
39 …....... 72,314 Detroit
42 …....... 68,127 Atlanta
48 …....... 62,766 Miami
50 …....... 61,539 Memphis
62 …....... 50,272 San Antonio
63 …....... 50,192 Toledo
64 …....... 49,195 Cleveland
68 …....... 46,408 Salt Lake City
69 …....... 44,257 Dallas

If I could wave a magic wand the Hiawatha would be 125mph at 14xday, with added Lake Forest and Pleasant Prairie stops and most trains skipping 2 or 3 of the 5 intermediate stops between Milwaukee and Chicago. No magic wand here, of course.
a stop in pleasant prairie could make a lot of sense....the line that amtrak uses goes pass the RecPlex, ample parking and a steady population growth....even if only a couple stops a day, it could increase the ridership further.....with the line going under hwy 165, there is less of a concern for effects on automobile traffic. go on the interwebs or maybe Amazon and please find that magic wand
 

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Well we are still on the subject of regional matters I wanted to offer up 2 things from an out-state perspective.

First, I really think the disdain for Milwaukee from other parts of the state is considerably shrinking. As someone from a more right wing background I have actually heard 5-10 times more good things about Milwaukee than bad over the past few years. I think the image of the city has changed and more people from around the state, at least in my young age group, are more interested than ever to consider a move or at the least more frequent weekend trips.

Second, I think growth anywhere in the state is good for us as a whole. I look at many of our smaller metros and see a lot of potential for projects that can bring density. Think of downtown Kenosha’s mixed use project or Wausau replacing its mall. As much of the rural parts of the state have lost population, the state as a whole has not.

If we can market the scattered array of 50,000+ urbanized areas as places for increased density and resettlement from rural towns as well as refugees I see a way for us to mimic the growth seen in Minnesota which has kicked ours for years. Milwaukee and Madison would be better served for their own growth by a cohesive web of thriving smaller urban centers in the state. Their purpose as gateways into the state and the largest hubs will never be challenged.

Just my idea as I hear too often about competition as a bad thing and not a good thing.
 

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Speed and frequency is what makes passenger rail successful. The Fox Valley-Mke line was doomed from the start with those slow , plodding speeds. The same set up was done a few years back, connecting Janesville to Union Station with amtrak.... a four hour trip each way. Of course it failed. Neither plan was serious, nor can it be serious, without track upgrades for higher speeds, and enough investment for several trains , each way, per day.
IIRC, both the Janesville train the actually operated and the Fond du Lac train that never started up were driven more by Amtrak's focus at the time on mail & express business, not passenger traffic (same with the very slow Kentucky Cardinal to Louisville of the same era).
 

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RE: WestDePere

Absolutely. Although Milwaukee and Madison are incredible cities, they are far from all the state has to offer. Wisconsin should capitalize on WFH to revitalize and grow smaller cities (Eau Claire, Fox Valley, La Crosse, etc.) A strong state and city branding program could make places like Wasau & Stevens point attractive options as much of the country goes underwater. Dense historic downtowns with proximity to larger cities are lacked in western and southern small cities, while access to pristine nature and immunity from natural disaster are lacked in the east.
 

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Well we are still on the subject of regional matters I wanted to offer up 2 things from an out-state perspective.

First, I really think the disdain for Milwaukee from other parts of the state is considerably shrinking. As someone from a more right wing background I have actually heard 5-10 times more good things about Milwaukee than bad over the past few years. I think the image of the city has changed and more people from around the state, at least in my young age group, are more interested than ever to consider a move or at the least more frequent weekend trips.

Second, I think growth anywhere in the state is good for us as a whole. I look at many of our smaller metros and see a lot of potential for projects that can bring density. Think of downtown Kenosha’s mixed use project or Wausau replacing its mall. As much of the rural parts of the state have lost population, the state as a whole has not.

If we can market the scattered array of 50,000+ urbanized areas as places for increased density and resettlement from rural towns as well as refugees I see a way for us to mimic the growth seen in Minnesota which has kicked ours for years. Milwaukee and Madison would be better served for their own growth by a cohesive web of thriving smaller urban centers in the state. Their purpose as gateways into the state and the largest hubs will never be challenged.

Just my idea as I hear too often about competition as a bad thing and not a good thing.
Thanks for the input!

I think one thing we can ALL agree on is the fact that we will be far better off with much higher levels of regional and state-wide cooperation than we currently see.
 

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The city has issued a RFP for public space in the Harbor District next to the Komatsu site, targeting a 2022 opening. "Some ideas being floated for the space include a smaller soccer field, educational areas about the property's history and "aquatic habitats," according to the BizJournal, citing Remington. It may also have a large bridge across a former ship docking area, south of Komatsu's headquarters."

The bridge would be a really nice feature. I didn't realize that this area has been closed off from public access for over 100 years!
 

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That's really cool. And yes I agree as well about outstate areas succeeding. I really like some of the stuff going on in downtown Green Bay, Wausau, La Crosse, etc. I've never been to Eau Claire but I've never heard anything bad.

A socially unified Wisconsin with all of the small to mid-size 50k-ish cities connected to Milwaukee/Madison via high quality rail is my dream for the state. I think the biggest step is getting the outer Milwaukee burbs that I love to skewer to see themselves as a greater Milwaukee and not as an adversary taking all their tax dollars (even though that isn't at all true).
 

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Honestly, I think Acuity should get into the housing game for its workforce. Sometimes, it takes these big developers being willing to push the envelope for things to happen. I think the success of NML is the single biggest reason the Ascent is happening. And...I hope that NML has plans for future downtown developments even if on a smaller, more affordable scale.

These big employers should be pressing their city - and regional developers to say "there is demand here, we are that demand, do it." We really need greater synergy between major employers and developers. It's win-win. The company can keep more workers locally and the developer has people a ready-built tenant pool paying rent or buying units. Most of the time, it feels like there's a job announcement and then there's at least a year lag before something gets proposed and even longer before its built. I get the caution, but imagine if these companies partner with a master developer and the city - and give the heads up so that there isn't a severe shortage that takes years to address?
There is precedence for this. Oracle either bought or developed some big apartment buildings in Austin that are for its employees there. They get to rent there at rates well below market. Kind of cool. Probably something a company would only do if needed... and around here the rents aren't high enough to support. But it can be done
 

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Also, remember that the Oshkosh/Appleton/Green Bay corridor area is the largest total market in the contiguous 48 USA states without common-carrier rail passenger service.
Mike
Looking at Amtrak’s national map, I see at least four larger metro areas in the contiguous 48 US without common-carrier passenger rail service.

Columbus, OH ~ 2.1 million
Nashville, TN ~ 1.9 million
Louisville, KY ~ 1.3 million
Las Vegas, NV ~ 2.1 million
 

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Thanks for the fact check, but...

The POINT is, even if it isn't the biggest CSA with common passenger service - NE Wisconsin is certainly underserved, and could benefit from commuter rail if done right. If Milwaukee was a spoke - connecting both Madison and GB / the Fox Cities would theoretically serve more than half of WI's 6M population. There being other larger metros without doesn't negate the need. The fact that Milwaukee is one of the busiest non-coastal stations in the country clearly means there is an appetite. Even it is connecting two close by metros of nearly 11M combined, those numbers alone mean an extension should merit closer look. Of course, barriers to service are numerous and Amtrak is not on stable footing. But having Mayor Pete at least gives me some hope. Give people good options, and they'll take them.
 
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