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Poll results: Choose a grade:

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    12 42.86%
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Thread: Your opinion of Milwaukee

  1. #1

    Your opinion of Milwaukee

    What would you grade Milwaukee versus other mid-sized cities?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mkemike411
    What would you grade Milwaukee versus other mid-sized cities?
    I think that it would be a much better city if the entire metro area (or most of it) were actually in the city, a la Indianapolis, Nashville, Oklahoma City or Jacksonville. One of the biggest drags on the city is that so much of the area (over half of the metro's population) has no direct stake in it and no say in City Council/Mayor elections.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Cyburbian urbanchik's avatar
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    Milwaukee is a very livable city with great neighborhoods, parks, redevelopment downtown, and a good transportation system. Every hood is very distinct and the area I've seen are full of energy. The nightlife is pretty good too. I've had some great times in this town - hanging out at the pier, Kush (is that right?), Summerfest, and rollerblading along the lake.
    urbanchik

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urbanchik
    Milwaukee is a very livable city with great neighborhoods, parks, redevelopment downtown, and a good transportation system. Every hood is very distinct and the area I've seen are full of energy. The nightlife is pretty good too. I've had some great times in this town - hanging out at the pier, Kush (is that right?), Summerfest, and rollerblading along the lake.
    I've lived here most my life, but I'm not sure what "Kush" is. The closest I can imagine is a bar on North Avenue with the roll-up garage doors making it totally open to the street. Is that what you mean?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian urbanchik's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    I've lived here most my life, but I'm not sure what "Kush" is. The closest I can imagine is a bar on North Avenue with the roll-up garage doors making it totally open to the street. Is that what you mean?
    I think that's it - it's on the east side and I think the bar was on North Ave. A lot of fun and cool place to people watch. My cousin used to live down the street from there. I went for a run in the neighborhood and ended up on this one old street with great, local owned shops and restaurants. I had the strongest coffee ever (in the U.S. anyway) at this one coffee shop. We also ate at Murray's, this amazing restaurant just off North Ave, but the next time we came to town it was closed down. Bummer. Can you tell that I love food????

    Anyway, I was impressed by this area - very intriguing hood. Now my cousin lives on the south side near Humboldt Park. Haven't spent much time here, except it was cool being so close to the lake.

    But the BEST thing about Milwaukee, hands down, is KOPP'S CUSTARD!!!! YUM!!!!
    urbanchik

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Miwaukee is definitely better than average. Under Mayor Norquist and Planning Director Peter Park (now in Denver) it made some significant strides toward improving its urban character. The city is still not as good as it could be, but I hope it gets there.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Thats that place where the make beer, right? Well, then it is excellent in my book!
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urbanchik
    I went for a run in the neighborhood and ended up on this one old street with great, local owned shops and restaurants. I had the strongest coffee ever (in the U.S. anyway) at this one coffee shop.
    That sounds like Brady Street. It's a wonderful street.

    There's a coffee shop there that is excellent (their sandwiches are good too, I had lunch there). It sounds like that shop. I remember their coffee being stuff you could clean engines with.

    I really like Milwaukee. It's a nice town that feels (to a Chicagoan) like a nice little complement to the Windy City. Nice people. (Some) pretty buildings. Decent lakefront. Good bars. Good restaurants. Nice neighborhoods. Good atmosphere. All around, a pleasant little city.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    It seems nice to me. I grew up on the East Coast and there really isn't any mental image of Milwaukee in peoples' heads out there. Laverne and Shirley and beer would be about it.

    I think it has a nice lakefront setting, a great art museum and some nice restored buildings downtown. I've enjoyed the few visits I've taken out there.

    It seems like if it weren't so close to Chicago it would probably create a better impression for itself.

  10. #10
    I love Milwaukee. I have never lived further than 20 miles from the City my entire life. I like the distinct neighborhoods and love how Norquist completely changed the face of downtown. In my mind there is no better place to be in the Summer. The weather is great and there are festivals and block parties My issues with the City are as follows:

    1. Hyper-segregation. The City is one of the most segregated places in the entire country
    2. Inferiority complex. Being so close to Chicago, people are always comparing us to them.
    3. The beer and brat image. While I think you always have to embrace your identity to a point, there are some people here that dismiss anything that is not typical Milwaukee. If you go to www.onmilwaukee.com and read comments whenever a new upscale bar or restaurant opens there are always a certain people who complain that “We are not Chicago, so quit trying to fill the City with Chicago-like establishments.” People need to realize that the trendy nightclubs and cocktail lounges can peacefully co-exist with the neighborhood corner bar.

    The bar that urbanchik if referring to is Cush...you had the name right just not the spelling and as Chet indicated it is on North Ave with the roll up garage door. Murray Place that you mentioned was an awesome restaurant. They had the best brunch in town. I too was sad to see it close down. They had a ton of support but from what I heard there were huge conflicts within the ownership group and taht is why it closed. I haven't been there yet, but the French restaurant that opened in the same place has gotten
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's my family traveled to Milwaukee four (4) times a year......every year for about ten (10) years. A friend of my dad's bought a neighborhood bar in West Allis. Later, they moved to the Hales Corners area.

    Even as a young guy I was checking out the cities, villages, roads, neighborhoods, etc. I liked the area.

    Since then I have only been "through" Milwaukee, on my way north, northwest, or west. I have formed a not-too-flattering opinion, lately, after reading the Cyburbia posts about Milwaukee and watching a TV newsmagazine article about the Milwaukee police.

    Perhaps additional comments on this thread will give some more positive input.

    Bear At Muskego Lake
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian GISgal's avatar
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    I love my hometown and wish that I was living there again. Milwaukee has a wonderful small-town appeal but has all the amenities of a large city. I grew up in the burbs, but my family would visit the downtown regularly: the lakefront, museums, x-mas lights, etc. Hoping to be able to move back some day. Like the Fox Cities, but it doesn't hold a candle to home.
    “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” - Thomas Edison

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's my family traveled to Milwaukee four (4) times a year......every year for about ten (10) years. A friend of my dad's bought a neighborhood bar in West Allis. Later, they moved to the Hales Corners area.

    Even as a young guy I was checking out the cities, villages, roads, neighborhoods, etc. I liked the area.

    Since then I have only been "through" Milwaukee, on my way north, northwest, or west. I have formed a not-too-flattering opinion, lately, after reading the Cyburbia posts about Milwaukee and watching a TV newsmagazine article about the Milwaukee police.

    Perhaps additional comments on this thread will give some more positive input.

    Bear At Muskego Lake
    Although I was born in Milwaukee, I was raised from childhood here in Appleton. The biggest regret that I see in regards to the area, besides the municipal border thing that I alluded to in my earlier posting, was that until the early 1960s, Milwaukee had one helluvanextensive electric streetcar (what we now call by the flowery term 'light rail') and trackless trolley bus system, one that truly put systems in bigger cities to shame, and I consider it to have been a monumental mistake that that was all abandoned in favor of diesel busses.

    <sigh...>

    Mike

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    that until the early 1960s, Milwaukee had one helluvanextensive electric streetcar (what we now call by the flowery term 'light rail') and trackless trolley bus system, one that truly put systems in bigger cities to shame, and I consider it to have been a monumental mistake that that was all abandoned in favor of diesel busses.
    ...and freeways.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Markitect
    ...and freeways.
    I don't know if I would agree with you on that one, as by the late 1950s, street traffic in Milwaukee was teetering on the verge of gridlock. The freeways, in that sense, returned those streets to the neighbors by taking much of that overhead traffic away from them (For a recent example, see: Superior St before/after the Lake Parkway/WI 794 was opened).

    BTW, the trackless trolley wires came down in 1963, before work on most of the freeways was even started, this was also several years after the last runs of the various streetcar lines.

    Many of you will likely vehemently, perhaps even violently, disagree with me on this point, too, but in addition to the abandonment of that extensive electric transit system, IMHO, Milwaukee also made a monumental error in not building the Park West and Stadium North freeways out to 67th and FdL Av as planned. Had that corridor been built, the current Marquette rebuild and the upcoming rebuild of the East-West Freeway and the Zoo interchange would be far less expensive than they are/will be now.

    Mike
    Last edited by mgk920; 27 Apr 2005 at 8:37 PM.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    I don't know if I would agree with you on that one, as by the late 1950s, street traffic in Milwaukee was teetering on the verge of gridlock. The freeways, in that sense, returned those streets to the neighbors by taking much of that overhead traffic away from them (For a recent example, see: Superior St before/after the Lake Parkway/WI 794 was opened).

    BTW, the trackless trolley wires came down in 1963, before work on most of the freeways was even started, this was also several years after the last runs of the various streetcar lines.
    While freeway construction in Milwaukee may not have started until the mid-1960s, freeway planning had begun back in the 1940s. In some cases, early proposals retained remaining interurban rail lines (a plan from the 1940s kept the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee's route through the South Side with trackage in the freeway median--a plan that was scrapped a few years later with an alternate route for the freeway). In other cases, plans called for outright elimination of interurban lines so the freeways could be built on the right-of-way (in the late-40s/early-50s the Milwaukee Expressway Commission wanted to buy the West Side Rapid Transit Line, dismantle it (even though it was still being used), and use the land for the east-west freeway).
    Last edited by Markitect; 27 Apr 2005 at 9:24 PM.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Your poll doesn't have the option of "Don't know - only seen the airport".

    From what I've heard, I'd grade it average. But that would be answering the question based on someone else's homework.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  18. #18
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Can't answer a question about Milwaukee. Wisconsin is of only 2 states in the Midwest that I have not had the pleasure of visiting. North Dakota is the other one.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  19. #19
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    I was there for the German Fest two or three years ago and was impressed. A nice town. Some real neat neighborhoods...actually I was very suprised as I was expecting someplace fairly grungy & dead...

  20. #20
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Great place

    I love Wisconsin, and I also love Milwaukee. I've probably been there as many times (if not more) than I have to my own city of Chicago. Since I live in the exurbs of northwestern Chicago, it is easy to get to, and I don't have to take I-94. They have great museums. Probably the best festival for a city of its size...Summerfest. Their zoo is great. Their parks are great. Their new ballpark, Miller Park, is so nice and so convenient, that Cubs fans now consider it Wrigley North since we often outnumber the Brewers fans there when they play the Cubs. And also since I am predominantly of German ancestry, this place can't get much more German with the beer, brats, and good fun. I also always have seen the best rock concerts at Alpine Valley Music Theater, just outside the metro area. When you think of an outdoor amphitheater, this is the one.

    My only beefs:
    Traffic...it can be improved a lot. Especially since Milwaukee has a lot of growing exurban areas. They are in dire needs of expressways, an outer belt maybe, but have nowhere to build them.

    Segregation...although it's not as bad as Chicago, it still exists, and it hurts the city.

    Sewage/Sanitation...much of Lake Michigan's pollution stems from Milwaukee dumping sewage into it.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    My only beefs:
    Traffic...it can be improved a lot. Especially since Milwaukee has a lot of growing exurban areas. They are in dire needs of expressways, an outer belt maybe, but have nowhere to build them.

    Segregation...although it's not as bad as Chicago, it still exists, and it hurts the city.

    Sewage/Sanitation...much of Lake Michigan's pollution stems from Milwaukee dumping sewage into it.
    I would agree with you on the beefs. The beltway ideas were in place, but were dropped in the late 1970's, in what was the first of several highway revolts. These days, the best we can to is improve the exisiting arterials, and even that is a fighting idea.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Or improve transit.

    How's the Metra extension to Milwaukee coming along?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- Or improve transit.

    How's the Metra extension to Milwaukee coming along?
    Still being studied, no construction or funding schedule set. It will be many years, even for a project like that that I believe does have merit.

    Unlike much of Chicagoland, metro Milwaukee doesn't have the population density and/or the chronic traffic congestion needed to really make a rail trasit system 'work'.

    Just look at how hard it has been to extend the CTA's Skokie-Swift line up to the Northbrook area (restoring transit service to that old 'North Shore' interurban grade), and that is for a line that IMHO, would be well patronized. The inertia for something like that in Milwaukeeland is far greater, as the area doesn't have the transit culture (or the perceived need for it) that exists in Chicagoland, too.

    OTOH, I do wish that Milwaukee wouldn't have scrapped that electric 'trackless' trolley bus system. Those vehicles are clean operating and quiet, also able to draw tractive power from whatever source is most economic at any given time.

    Mike
    Last edited by mgk920; 06 May 2005 at 10:52 AM.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    Still being studied, no construction or funding schedule set. It will be many years, even for a project like that that I believe does have merit
    That is unfathomable to me. Metra should have reached Milwaukee decades ago. The demand must be high. Is there an opportunity to run trains direct from Milwaukee to O'Hare?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    That is unfathomable to me. Metra should have reached Milwaukee decades ago. The demand must be high. Is there an opportunity to run trains direct from Milwaukee to O'Hare?
    Nope. Gotta transfer through Union Station.

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