Dave Reid

Important Hoan Bridge and Milwaukee Streetcar Meetings this Week

By - Nov 14th, 2011 01:24 pm

Rendering of the Milwaukee Streetcar vehicle.

This week there are two important public meetings regarding the future of Milwaukee’s built environment.

Today there will be a meeting hosted by the Department of Transportation which will give residents a chance to ask questions and share opinions about the proposal to add a bike and pedestrian lane on the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge.  The meeting will be held in the DOT offices, 1001 W. St. Paul Ave., and starts at 5 p.m. The DOT planners presentation will begin at 5:15.

On Wednesday the 16th, the Federal Government will hold a Public Hearing on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Milwaukee Streetcar Project.  The meeting will be held in the Frontier Airlines Center, 410 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee First Floor, Room 101A-D (closest entrance is 4th Street & Wisconsin Avenue) and starts at 5:30 p.m.  The formal presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

UrbanMilwaukee.com has long supported both of these projects (Bike the Hoan / Milwaukee Streetcar Project), and hopes the public comes out to show their support for these improvements to Milwaukee.

More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

Read more about Milwaukee Streetcar here


18 thoughts on “Important Hoan Bridge and Milwaukee Streetcar Meetings this Week”

  1. vysuaiosc says:

    The ped/bike path on the hoan sounds like it *could* be nice, but who wants to ride next to a load, smelly freeway? It couldn’t be at-grade with the road without being unpleasant to use.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @vysuaiosc I do. Riding over the Hoan would draw riders from across Wisconsin to take in the unique ride and view. And it would be a straight shot south, goodfor long trips and commuting in that regards.

  3. vysuaiosc says:

    Yes it’s a unique path, it more easily connects bayview to downtown, it’s safer than a street route. I understand all these advantages and as a biker, I endorse the idea. However, I would like to see the path designed in a way that removes it in some regard from the highway that will be right next to it. Otherwise you have the exhaust of hundreds of cars to inhale as you make the journey and the sound of the same cars cruising by en masse at 60mph. It would be nice if the path was above or below the grade of the highway in some way, removed and separated entirely.

  4. Hereiam says:

    @vysuaiosc it seems to me the only reason the Hoan bike lane is a feasible idea is because the bridge itself is so severely underutilized.

    You mention the potential nastiness of riding along in the exhaust of hundreds of cars. Based on the usage figures (and anecdotal observation), however, the only time you are going to face that problem is roughly one half hour in the morning and and one half hour in the evening on weekdays.

  5. Dave Reid says:

    @Hereiam Thanks I meant to get back to that point.

  6. Eric says:

    A street car that goes along at the same level as cars and has to stop for traffic, stop lights, pedestrians, and pick up passengers? Sounds like a city bus on rails, it also sounds….slow and expensive to the tune of $3 million dollars per mile of track. it will also create more congestion along the street. What Milwaukee has here is an opportunity to build a light rail system from a blank slate and they are building a street car? Technologies now exist where we could have an elevated track that could be very quiet, unlike the system in Chicago that’s loud dirty and unattractive. People are just opposed to the idea of an elevated track because what people think of is the system in Chicago. Has anyone been on the airport tram in Detroit? I know it’s indoors and on a very small scale, but it’s an example of something that could work for Milwaukee and not be bound by streets.

  7. Dave Reid says:

    @Eric Milwaukee does not currently have an opportunity to build out a full LRT system. We simply don’t have that kind of funding. That said the Streetcar project is much like the system in Portland and Seattle, both of which have seen economic development follow the tracks, which well is something we as a city and region should want. A

  8. Eric S says:

    @Dave Not to mention, any light rail line/system that has been proposed or is even conceivable at this point would have street-running in the downtown area at least.

  9. Dave Reid says:

    @Eric Yup. And it works just fine.

  10. Eric says:

    @Dave do you have any information on how much the cost of a monorail system is per-mile? I found statistics ranging from 4 million per mile to 200 million per mile for the high speed systems used in Japan. I’m all for a trolly, I used one on a regular basis when I was living in Melbourne and they were nice. I’m just wondering if the cost of tearing up the road to put in tracks outweighs what it would cost to put in a monorail that might be less disruptive. And is $3 million dollars a mile for a trolly realistic or is that on the conservative side? I’m in graduate school for urban planning so I’m interested how the city did their analysis.

  11. Dave Reid says:

    @Eric A monorail? Nobody’s building monorail, and quite frankly I haven’t seen (Seattle) the economic development with that tech that streetcars bring. The taxpayer money involved in the Milwaukee Streetcar project for the initial route is $64.6 million (there will be a cost to utilities but there is in any public works project), mostly federal, some local TIF match. The route is 2.1 miles. And I’d add that cost includes the vehicles, maintenance facility and so on. Oh and rebuilding streets that likely need rebuilding anyhow.

  12. Eric S says:

    A quick search yielded the following rough estimates: approximately $200 million per mile for elevated rail (not monorail, standard rail, such as the Honolulu rail transit project), approximately $30-60 million per mile for light rail, and approximately $10-20 million per mile for streetcar. However, there are so many variables that costs for such projects have ranged from well above those to well below those figures. And, for the most part, those estimates do not include vehicles and are for longer projects than the Milwaukee Streetcar, so per mile averages are perhaps lower than for a shorter “starter” project.

  13. Eric says:

    Does anyone know if there has been an impact analysis on traffic congestion in downtown Milwaukee if these street cars were to be imposed? I just cant bring myself to call it a trolly….it looks nothing like the typical trolly’s we see in San Francisco or the old ones that Milwaukee had before they paved over them. I think this project is moving very quickly and I haven’t seen any hard data either for or against it.

  14. Dave Reid says:

    @Eric There has been a federal EIS, and it had a finding of no significant impact. There is nothing fast about this project. We are years into the process, there have been multiple votes, numerous public hearings, and multiple open houses Of course it doesn’t look like a cable car, it is a modern streetcar system just like the ones in Portland, Seattle, and around the world.

  15. Eric says:

    I found what I was looking for http://www.themilwaukeestreetcar.com%2Fpdf%2FMilwaukee-Streetcar-Environmental-Assessment.pdf&ei=8YQ5T7HAF8Xl0QG1jtmpAg&usg=AFQjCNFzsdRRlImq-CnoGL0DM0oZ3RLbyQ I’m just wondering what’s going to happen in 20 or 30 years if Milwaukee sees a population boom and we do eventually have money for a full light rail system. Will we be stuck with street cars or will we be able to integrate it with something…faster.

  16. Dave Reid says:

    @Eric There is no reason we can’t have streetcars and light-rail. Again Portland and Seattle are US cities that do this today.

    UPDATED And I’d add (to myself) that LRT generally serves a great distance and purpose than a Streetcar

  17. Kevin Muhs says:

    Do we know when the PSC meeting regarding responsibility for utility costs will be?

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