Monday, June 18, 2007

In Kenosha's tracks?

Kenosha WI / Madison WI - Madison WI Mayor David Cieslewicz and his partner in the pro-rail spin machine, Charlie Hales (streetcar consultant to Cieslewicz), are attempting to use Kenosha's streetcar system as proof that a streetcar system in Madison will work.

The article in the Madison Times had me laughing for quite some time. These 4 paragraphs are pure gold:

"It a boon to tourism," Cieslewicz said. "And tourism is one of the reasons for a streetcar here."

However, on a recent Monday, there wasn't a tourist in sight on Kenosha's downtown lakefront.

The weather was glorious. The sun was glinting off the water. The breeze was mild enough to keep the small crowd gathered at a transit transfer point comfortable in the 80-degree heat without messing up their hair.

But none of that crowd got on the streetcar. They were waiting for buses.

The article then goes into mentioning the empty streetcars that frequently run on Kenosha's tourist line. 50 riders a day is average for a weekend during tourist season. "There are fewer riders in the winter, when Brandup cuts back the hours of service so people don't see empty cars going by as often."

Cieslewicz and Hales then state that streetcars aren't about ridership. Excuse me? Not about ridership? That's one of the reasons Cieslewicz has frequently stated as to why he is trying to ram his streetcar proposal through, it will reduce the traffic congestion in Madison.

Cieslewicz wants his streetcar line for two reasons. One is that he thinks that in time, it will be a positive factor for his legacy and the second is development. Once again, no mention was made of the fact that the bulk of the development which will occur will occur on the taxpayer's dime. Grants, no-pay back loans, tax breaks and other taxpayer funded methods will be used to lure developers to build along the line. It can take 20 years or more before any real development occurs. As I have mentioned before, I'm still waiting for the promised development along the rails in my hometown.

I have to give Madison Mayor David Cieslewicz a Lance for this performance.

No comments: