Public Policy Forum Blog

Staying Connected to Work

Yesterday’s Journal Sentinel reports that Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin plans to relocate its current training facility at 200 W. Vogel Avenue, near Milwaukee’s airport, to a facility at 5400 S. 60th Street in Greendale. The move will enable Goodwill to consolidate its headquarters, also currently located in Milwaukee, with the Vogel training facility.

The story caught our eye at the Public Policy Forum—we’ve got a project underway looking at transit options for serving high-employment suburban areas. Goodwill workers-in-training are likely a population that's highly dependent on public transportation and this relocation allows us a test-case look at the transit aspects of facility locations.  Indeed, we’ve not talked to Goodwill and have no reason to believe they’ve not addressed the transportation issue; we’re just citing this relocation as part of a larger picture we are trying to paint on transit mobility and the effect of company locations.

The Vogel facility is currently fairly well-served by the Milwaukee County Bus System’s Green Line and Route 80, which both offer frequent service (every 10-20 minutes weekdays, every 20-30 minutes weekends), seven days a week, from early morning to late night. Both routes pass through downtown and offer numerous transfer options. The Green Line hugs Milwaukee’s East Side, while route 80 serves a variety of neighborhoods as its heads up N. 6th Street through the north side up to Villard Avenue, then heads west and continues to N. 91st St on the city's northwest side.

The new consolidated facility planned for 5400 S. 60th Street in Greendale is currently less well- served. Only one line (Route 64) serves the facility and it does not run as frequently as routes serving the Vogel location. Route 64 primarily runs along 60th Street between Southridge Mall (Greendale) and N. 60th and Vliet (central city Milwaukee). The route runs every 40 minutes or so on weekdays, starting around 5am and ending by 6:30pm. Weekend service is roughly hourly, from 8am to 6pm.

This describes a situation where a workplace location decision intersects with transportation and raises some public policy questions.  What is the role of public transportation and public funding in facilitating continued workplace accessibility?  For current or future job-rich areas, how can the public and private sector work together to support connections to jobs? These are questions we’ll be exploring in our upcoming research due out in October.

Virginia Carlson