I don’t know the specifics around yesterday’s tragic pedestrian death in Downtown Milwaukee, but I do know that it happened two blocks from where I was standing – and I do know that it's a truly sad and shocking reminder that Downtown is for people. People first. Cars second.
As I’ve written before, I love my car. It zips through traffic, and I really enjoy driving it. But, as you jet through Downtown Milwaukee (or any area or city), know that great cities are developed for people first – and then focus on transit, roads, buildings, green space and connections that contribute to density, development and discovery.
One of the biggest benefits of the fast-approaching Milwaukee Streetcar is the density it’s creating. Its routes will make it harder to drive quickly in Downtown Milwaukee, thus creating more vantage points for people to discover the many jewels in our city. Public transit, you see, is about more than just ridership.
Years ago, Downtown was too easy to drive in. Today, it’s "harder" and, yes, it may even take you a few extra minutes to find parking. But, these are both very good things for our city. Pedestrian deaths are not.
So, please, watch your speed. Watch for walkers. Be mindful as you drive through busy areas, and stop at red lights. You can turn right on red lights after a full stop – but don't turn right on red when there's someone walking or biking. Right on red is legal, but so is walking across a crosswalk with a walk signal. And those walk ways at the Riverwalk? You must stop for walkers.
Let’s learn from yesterday’s tragedy. Think when you drive – and in general, let’s all pay more attention. Downtown is for everyone, but watch out for people and pedestrians first.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.