Dave Reid

Madison’s Ride the Drive… Milwaukee’s Bike Brady?

By - Sep 2nd, 2009 06:50 am
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Photo courtesy of Trek Bikes

Photo courtesy of Trek Bikes

Ride the Drive?  Just seventy miles to the west, a successful car-free day, often referred to as a Ciclovía, or in the U.S. Sunday Streets, brought thousands of people out of their homes, and into the street to enjoy their city.  At its simplest one of these events, closes off a few miles of city streets to automobile traffic for the day, much like a street festival does, but larger and it doesn’t focus on food, beer, and music.  Street vendors will setup along the street, there could be a space for dancing and exercise, a touch of live music, maybe some bicycle education, but really it is a street festival for bicyclists, walkers, joggers, rollerbladers , and anyone else who wants to see their city from a new point of view.  Simply, it is an event where families, children, and all residents can enjoy the city, breath a bit of cleaner air, and get a little exercise in the process.

Events like these always raise concerns such as, “how will I get around if the street is closed?”, “or will this hurt my business?” but afterwards the biggest concern is “when will the city hold the next car-free day?”  Often enough, streets in downtown Milwaukee on a Sunday are quite empty of significant automobile traffic, possibly because of Milwaukee’s vibrant Saturday night, and every year streets are shutdown for days on end for festivals like Bastille Days, so it ought to be possible for one Sunday during the Summer to close down a few streets, and open them up to people.

Madison had Ride the Drive, how about Roll Down Water, Bike Brady, Stroll State, Bike the Hoan, or quite simply Sunday Streets for Milwaukee?


5 thoughts on “Madison’s Ride the Drive… Milwaukee’s Bike Brady?”

  1. Nick says:

    Or do we need to do this downtown at all? I was just thinking about this today actually, and when trying to come up with ‘good’ streets to do it on, the first one that came to mind was actually KK in Bay View. I think it has the perfect kind of layout for this sort of event.

    P.S. What’s wrong with food, beer, and music?

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Nick Oh yeah an event could be on KK, or in any neighborhood really. What I think would be really great would be to connect a couple neighborhoods together actually.

    And I didn’t mean to come off not liking food, beer, or music just that this is a different kind of event. Trust me I enjoy as many festivals during Milwaukee’s summer as I can squeeze in!:)

  3. I always thought they should do this on Brady just because it is such a narrow street and it is so often flooded with automobile traffic. There are so many pedestrians milling around it always seemed dangerous (though, to the street’s credit, I’m not aware of any incidents). Closing it off and having a bunch of street vendors, cyclists, skaters, etc., it seems, would make that area even more of a destination.

    I would also love to Bike the Hoan at some point, too.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Little Tiny Fish Brady is just one idea, but to me the bigger deal is to get on of these events going in Milwaukee.

  5. Dave Schlabowske says:

    The Milwaukee Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force shopped this idea around for at least four years in a row, but did not get any support from any neighborhoods or political leaders here. So we dropped the idea for the last couple years. Now that Madison and Chicago both have Sunday Parkways/Ciclovia style events, maybe someone in Milwaukee will take up the flag again.

    The original intention of these events is to give people places to ride where they don’t have close access to nice trails free from cars. A great video on the ciclovia in Bogota can be found here: http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/ciclovia/

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