By Richie Burke, Special to OnMilwaukee   Published Jan 14, 2019 at 6:01 PM

From day one, I have been a skeptic of Milwaukee’s streetcar. Never directly opposed, as I support Milwaukee’s progressive motives, but I have had a difficult time understanding how a 2.5-mile loop priced at $124 million could solve any real problem or help move my city forward.

The Milwaukee streetcar (aka The Hop) has been a controversial topic among Milwaukeeans, so I invited Jeramey Jannene, Andy Nunemaker and Matt Dorner, three Milwaukee leaders with varying streetcar opinions, to join me on the GoGedders podcast for a discussion on our city’s new cable car.

Our conversation started with the fixed nature of the streetcar and its impact on development surrounding its loop. There are already renovations underway for the Milwaukee Athletic Club and BMO Tower, which both tout their convenient locations on the streetcar’s route.

Andy argued his opposition to The Hop’s fixed route, stating, "Neighborhoods evolve; they rise and they fall. If you look back 50 years ago, one of the biggest neighborhoods served by the streetcar was 3rd and North Avenue. It was the shopping hub of Milwaukee, and even in that time, the fixed infrastructure did not save that neighborhood. I think to spend that money on a fixed infrastructure when we have busses that can go anywhere is a waste."

Our discussion dove deep into whether The Hop is solving a real problem, if that matters and alternative options that Milwaukee could have explored. We shared how The Hop has exceeded expectations, defined what it would take to make The Hop a true success for Milwaukee and debated if it should remain free after its inaugural year.

One thing we could all agree on: Now that The Hop is here, we want it to succeed!

To listen in: