By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 25, 2008 at 11:10 AM

The day I moved to Milwaukee in 1983, I boarded a No. 20 bus where Muskego Avenue meets 16th Street and Greenfield Avenue and rode to Radio Doctors to buy a dub album by the great reggae engineer Scientist. (I hopped off the bus, crossed against the light and was welcomed in true Milwaukee style with a jaywalking violation from an MPD officer!)

A 17-year-old native New Yorker, I saw no reason to own a car. So, until my parents convinced me that life in Milwaukee would be better with wheels -- sadly, they were right -- I was an inveterate bus rider and walker. I'd walk Downtown across the 16th Street viaduct on a regular basis. But my main wheels were the ones on the No. 20 bus, which took me up 16th Street, across the viaduct to Wisconsin Avenue, where it turned to head east. It terminated on Cass Street, just south of Wisconsin.

It was on the No. 20 bus that I met Mike Layton, my first Milwaukee friend, and my entre into the local music scene. It was running for the No. 20 bus that I lost and had to retrieve my  black and white Puma sneaker (laced, Brooklyn style, without being tied) after storming out and quitting the hell that was working for Mr. Bravi (ironically named, if you ask me) at the Woolworth's Downtown. It was the No. 20 that I rushed to catch before service shut down for the night. The No. 20 took me halfway to school when I went to UWM.

The No. 20, which back then had a different route -- it went straight up 16th Street instead of turning at Wisconsin Avenue -- was the bus my mom rode when she grew up in the same house that we moved to (and where her dad grew up after my great-grandfather bought it in the early 1920s).

So, as I read that the No. 20 route is being targeted for permanent termination, I feel a pang of sadness. But until the city and the county get their acts together regarding mass transit in the area, this is bound to keep happening. 

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.