BusStop: My Love Affair with Route 15 | WisCommunity

BusStop: My Love Affair with Route 15

My Love Affair with Route 15.

Confession of a Milwaukee party animal out on the town: Swept off my feet, ensnared in its delights, I have fallen asleep in the arms of the bus.

Oh, let me count the ways – erotic though they be. Happiness is living four minutes from your corner; and your courtesy, to stop near my Third Ward office; and the mother in you, night time door-to-door delivery of my appetite to any of my favorite restaurants. (I will name them, dear reader, but you buy the first round.)

Route 15 knits together 14 commercial districts from the south &;burbs to the north &;burbs:

  1. South Milwaukee,
  2. Cudahy,
  3. St. Francis,
  4. the archipelago on Kinnickinnic Avenue known as Bay View: Lincoln, Russell-Logan, Oklahoma,
  5. up by Mitchell,
  6. Walkers Point,
  7. Wisconsin,
  8. Water (well named),
  9. Brady,
  10. North and Oakland,
  11. Locust and Oakland,
  12. Capitol and Oakland,
  13. Silver Spring (needs to stop at Kopps),
  14. Bayshore.

Last summer when Scott Walker - County ("The Bus Stops Here") Executive, unflappable manager of his biggest failure, Milwaukee County Transit, inept quarterback during the 4th quarter demise of Milwaukee, elected on a promise to Just Say No - asked his staff to work up a proposal for reducing bus service by 14% and raise fares (not service) to New York levels, Bay View Riders raised the pot.

We rode Walker&;s bus.

(Ride a bus - something he would not do until he got his for a private party at the ballpark.)

The 7:03 northbound each Monday morning of August. Boarding after coffee at Sven&;s, we did.

On Route 15 one such morning the bus was more full than usual and we quickly learned why. The young man seated near me was going north. He told me he worked at a factory in South Milwaukee and with co-workers was on his way home.

You work nights?
No, I got to work and I got laid off – a toxic leak.
Where do you live?
West Allis.

Statistically, he would appear on the Transit census of the day as two workers, one going to work from West Allis, and one going to work from South Milwaukee, but Transit has no way to track the facts: he was not working and that each of his commutes was 62 minutes long (plus waits).

Sticking to the facts: his day was a net loss of $3.50. (The "Walker" plan - a car for every worker - dealt a set back.)

The Bay View Rider Drama was staged with an improv cast of four dozen person-rides; we wore Irish-fest green and handed out fliers to "Save This Bus."

Now I know: we rattled the nerves of that ensconced no-tax crowd of the County Board. (next story, next blog)

In Bay View we appreciate what Routes 15 and 11 do for us, in our little community and our amazing small shops and restaurants.

Route 15 was indeed protected by the strong advocacy of Supervisor Dimitrijevic. (She won her 2004 election against a man whose single platform was to get rid of a single Bay View bus that annoyed him when he was in his house. He lost to Dimitrijevic; but he won a marble. The bus was finally cut this winter – lurching several dozen rush-hour regulars, bringing peace and quiet to his retirement from politics.)

On March 23, 2008, Route 11 was cut to 59% of its former Bay View service. Ironically, the used to be the only bus to deliver citizens to the door of County Government offices. It also took south siders to Milwaukee Public School Board meetings, and to the fabulously reinvigorated Vliet Street.

The Walker "Discussion" that we resisted was to cut the south suburbs off from Route 15 and make those folks finagle their way into Milwaukee with connecting service of routes that run infrequently.

Supervisor Jursik&;s election – defeating a landscape business owner with privatizer Walker and having   – was an elixir of hope to all bus (and park) loving citizens.

If there is a case for Public Transportation and our economic future, Route 15 makes that case.

Unstitch those 16 commercial centers and you will have marginal businesses closing up as they cannot find enough minimum wage people who can walk to work. Or walk from their first job to their second, or from their second job to their third. Well, yes, we could imitate His Royal Sleep Walker and how he .

Route 15 is full to standing during rush hours (even before the recent hikes in gasoline prices), and there is sometimes a stand-up audience as late as 11 p.m.

These are workers. If you live, work, breathe, buy, sell, eat or sleep in Milwaukee County, you need them.

They need your buses.

And now my bus is coming. I gotta go.


Next: Disturbing the County Board


June 5, 2008 - 10:24pm