Members of the media and city officials joined Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on October 29 for his first ride onboard the city’s new streetcar, The Hop, for a 45-minute loop of the M-Line before it officially beings passenger service on November 2.
While the streetcar vehicles have been testing over the past few months, Federal guidelines have prevented anyone not involved with the driving or maintenance to be ride them. So the special preview ride was the first time that even Mayor Barrett had to experience the city’s newest transportation system.
“When the Streetcar starts on Friday, the Mayor is probably going to have the biggest smile in the city of Milwaukee,” said Rocky Marcoux, Commissioner for the Department of City Development.
The Hop preview ride offered a pothole-free experience, due to the vehicle using rails. The first phase of the $124 million streetcar project runs on a 2.1-mile loop, from Burns Commons through downtown and the Historic Third Ward to the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.
“To me this is about two things,” said Mayor Barrett. “It’s about connecting people, and I think you’ll see a lot of people will take advantage of this. But it’s also about connecting places, so it is an important part of a larger picture. In order for us to continue to grow as a city, I think it’s important for us to have transportation that reflects the demands and concerns of people, and the streetcar is part of that.”
Passengers can hop on the M-Line at 18 stations every 10 to 15 minutes. Under a $10 million sponsorship by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino for the next 12-years, all rides will be free for the first year. The city’s streetcar fleet currently includes five vehicles, each with a capacity to transport 150 people.
The L-Line expansion will connect to destinations along the lakefront, and is expected to open in 2020. Extended lines that run north to Bronzeville and to the City’s Southside, in addition to a connection with the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, are also in the budgeting stages.
Mayor Barrett said that the City of Milwaukee was undergoing a dynamic period of growth, and noted the new office buildings that were being developed along the streetcar route.
Passenger service officially launches at noon on November 2. These images were taken during the Mayor’s preview ride and document moments from that historic experience.
- “Hop-able” Open House showcases Streetcars’s accessibility features
- City Assessor finds property value along Streetcar route climbs 28%
- Hop On, Milwaukee! Streetcar service to begin November 2
- Milwaukee’s streetcar fleet now complete with arrival of fifth and final vehicle
- First crew of the Milwaukee Streetcar takes full-route daylight test drive
- Milwaukee Streetcar makes special appearance at Cathedral Square for Bastille Days
- The Hop marks major milestone for end of Streetcar construction with ceremonial last weld
- Safety tips released for motorists and pedestrians on sharing road with The Hop Streetcars
- The Hop to hold job fair for Streetcar positions
- Milwaukee’s first streetcar for The Hop completes successful maiden track test
- After half century Milwaukee is again home to a Streetcar
- Streetcar manufacturer delivering first vehicle to Milwaukee
- Streetcar route alters festival footprint for 2018 Bastille Days
- Milwaukee Streetcar reaches deal with Transit Workers Union
- City seeks proposals for marketing Milwaukee Streetcar
- The Hop: Potawatomi’s $10M Streetcar sponsorship includes free rides
- Mayor Barrett walks with Streetcar workers along Milwaukee’s transit future
- Photo Essay: Digging up Milwaukee’s Streetcar Past
- Video: 1922 Streetcar Rails from Route 10
- Milwaukee Notebook: Streetcar builds on a sometimes strange history
- Streetcar construction on target to meet minority employment and contracts
- Another 320 feet of track cemented along Streetcar route
- Photo Essay: Streetcar work moves through downtown
- Crews reshape roadway as first streetcar rails installed
- Milwaukee public gets first look at streetcar rail construction
- Photo Essay: Streetcar leaves footprint as rail welding begins
- Construction of rail lines to begin for Milwaukee Streetcar
- Streetcar extension to connect Bronzeville and Walker’s Point in future
- Virtual rail system could bridge Milwaukee’s transit network