Grace Fuhr
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The Transportation Circus

Story and photos on Tuesday's celebration of transit in Milwaukee.

By - Apr 1st, 2015 02:27 pm
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The Bike Valet was brimming with bikes. Photo by Grace Fuhr.

The Bike Valet was brimming with bikes. Photo by Grace Fuhr.

It’s been just over a month since the Common Council approved Milwaukee’s long debated 2.5 mile streetcar starter system, and just a few weeks since the expansion of the city’s bike sharing system, Bublr Bikes.

Tuesday’s Transportation Circus, held at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee in Walker’s Point, celebrated these recent transit developments, and many other thriving transit initiatives.

Parked next to overflowing bike racks sat an old standby with a new look. The latest MCTS bus was open to visitors to experience all its new bells and whistles. Inside hundreds of bikers, bus riders and transportation advocates listened to various new transit riders and experts talk about bicycling, the streetcar, and MCTS. Speakers included County Executive Chris Abele, City Engineer Jeff Polenske, and the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Keith Holt. Aside from the rapid-fire panel commentary, local organizations and vendors were set up throughout the event showcasing various transit activities.

One of Milwaukee’s newest riding clubs, Black Girls Do Ride, was there recruiting and educating visitors about their effort to engage women and girls of color in the cycling community. This chapter of Black Girls Do Ride, founded in December, hopes to use education to break down barriers that discourage women of color from biking in the city according to it’s co-founder Jessica Jones Robinson.

Ian Klepetar, the founding ambassador of Bike Benefits, was excited to share his initiative to get discounts around town and across the country for cyclists, encouraging more people to ride. Members of Bike Benefits get deep discounts at local establishments like Purple Door Ice Cream, Transfer Pizzeria and Cafe and Finks, to name just a few.

Polenske, who is project manager of the streetcar, delivered good news to this transit-friendly crowd, announcing that construction for the project will begin this fall. The streetcar should be ready to ride by summer 2018.

Accompanying the festive atmosphere, Anja Notanja Sieger, currently the Pfister narrator, wrote prosettes on her typewriter based on the question: Where have you never been to in Milwaukee?

Aside from its bus parked outside, MCTS was represented at a booth inside handing out the new M Card, the latest fare system, and explaining the real time technology which allows riders to see where their bus is based on GPS trackers.

View photos from the event to see more of the Transportation Circus’s festivities.

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