Public Safety Committee Approves New Milwaukee Bike Plan
The Bicycle Master Plan was presented to the Public Safety Committee at the September 16th, 2010 meeting. Its goal is to encourage safe riding, increase ridership, and to make bicycling safe for beginning riders. Alderman Nik Kovac, a sponsor of the legislation, put it well saying that the plan, “is for more timid riders.” To accomplish the goals laid out in the plan it proposes an eventual $8.63 million investment in new bike infrastructure, as well as support for safety and enforcement programs. At this point no funding has been budgeted as the plan is simply a guide for the city to follow when paving projects come up. Further, it will assist the city in obtaining grants as they become available. New infrastructure will include striping new bike lanes, building bike boulevards, adding new trails, as well as innovative new concepts such as bike boxes, raised bike lanes, and a pilot bike-sharing system.
Alderman Terry Witkowski asked about the potential side benefits of bike lanes, in particular he was hinting at its traffic calming impacts. Jeff Polenske, City Engineer, explained that adding bike lanes “provides a little bit greater order,” and that “some look at it as a means of traffic calming.” Alderman Witkowski followed up that his experience has been that the perceived narrowing caused by adding bike lanes has gotten people to drive a little closer (slow down) to the speed limit.
The plan was approved unanimously and will now go before the full Common Council.