Milwaukee’s bicycle community is more than supportive of bicycle advocacy and it’s fellow riders, so it’s great seeing positive strides towards making Milwaukee a more bicycle-friendly city. Thanks to all the hard work from individuals and groups efforts, like the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, in approving a citywide bike plan over the next ten years.
Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
“On September 21, the Milwaukee Common Council approved Milwaukee by Bike, the bicycle transportation plan that the Bike Fed helped develop. The plan passed nearly unanimously, with just one opposing vote, as you can read in this article from Tom Held of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Thanks so much to everyone in Milwaukee who educated their representatives about the need for better bicycle facilities and how better biking conditions will contribute to Milwaukee’s livability and economic development. Read more about the bike plan here.”
Tom Held of the Journal Sentinel
“With only one objection, the Common Council approved a road map to add bike lanes and routes in Milwaukee over the next decade.
Ald. Joe Dudzik, who represents the far southwest area of the city, opposed the plan but made no statements as the council considered the blueprint for cycling improvements Tuesday morning.
At a previous meeting, Dudzik said it would be hard to justify spending money on bike paths, given the huge deficits in state and federal budgets. He also said he would follow the direction of his constituents, who may not be overly keen to new bike lanes being added to their streets.
“I’m not going to be bulldozed by a bunch of bicyclists,” Dudzik told the Public Safety Committee last week.
The Bicycle Master Plan maps out 125 miles of new bike lanes, 40 miles of bike boulevards and seven miles of paved trails that would make bicycling on city streets less frightening, according to its proponents.
“It’s really significant because we have ambitions for Milwaukee to be one of the country’s great bicycle cities and first you need a plan,” said Kevin Hardman, executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. “Budgets will change through the years, but this is a long-range plan.”
Planners from the Bike Federation and Portland-based Alta Planning + Design worked with city engineers to map out the network of bike lanes and paths to be built over the next 15 years.
The goal of the bike lane build-out, along with improved education and enforcement, is to put people on bicycles for 5% of all trips less than five miles, by 2020. Daily bike trips in the city would double from about 81,000 to 162,000.
The cost of the projects – striping bike lanes, building boulevards and adding paths – is $8.63 million.
Although adopted by the council, none of the projects in the Milwaukee by Bike guide would be started immediately. Individual projects and spending would have to be approved separately.
“These are goals,” Ald. Nicholas Kovac, a cycling proponent, has said. “These are things we’d like to do. It remains to be seen if we can get any money for it.”
Bike lanes and boulevards are likely to be added during street reconstruction or repaving projects, and when federal grant dollars become available, according to City Engineer Jeff Polenske. Having the plan in place will improve the city’s ability to obtain grants for bike and pedestrian projects, he said.
As mapped out in the planning guide, the network of bike lanes and routes would offer a designated ride option within 1/4 mile of nearly the entire city.
Beyond the basic bike lanes, the plan also calls for several more innovative efforts to make streets safer for cyclists – ideas that have been tested in places like Portland, Ore., Minneapolis, Minn., and Madison. Those include raised bike lanes, pavement markings and signal set ups that put cyclists first in line at intersections, and a bike-sharing program.
Other goals include designated mountain bike trails and a BMX venue in the city, and attended bicycle parking at sporting events and concerts.”