Dave Reid
Eyes on Milwaukee

Bike-Sharing Comes To The Burbs

Shorewood, Tosa and West Allis would each have 10-15 stations and would be part of a regional system.

By - May 28th, 2014 03:56 pm

Midwest BikeShare, Inc. plans to launch a small bike-sharing system in Milwaukee this summer with five to 10 bike-sharing stations downtown. But the plan isn’t to stay small or simply Downtown- focused, it is to grow into a regional system.

Jessica Binder, Program and Policy Director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, reported that, “Last week [May 9th] a regional committee approved $4.14 million in federal Transportation Alternative Program funds for 12 grant applications.” Items recommended for approval by the committee, as shown in the table below, include typical bicycle improvements such as funding for trails, but also funding for preliminary engineering and construction of bike-sharing, in three suburbs: Shorewood ($398,608), Wauwatosa ($426,635), and West Allis ($399,360).

Projects Recommended for Approval.

Projects Recommended for Approval.

It should be noted this approval, by the Advisory Committee on Transportation System Planning and Programming in the Milwaukee Urbanized Area, is just the first step towards accepting these federal grants. Approvals by WisDOT and Gov. Scott Walker are still required. The final approval from Walker should occur by mid-June.

According to Kevin Hardman, Launch Director at Midwest BikeShare, Inc., the suburban partners would have 10 to 15 stations each and would be part of united network of bike-sharing in this area:  “the vision is this is a single network.”

If this recommendation gets final approval it will “provide a big boost to reach our vision of creating a regional bike-share system,” Hardman stated. He is glad, he added, that “bike-sharing has the potential to not stop at Milwaukee’s borders.”

The committee also recommended $547,016 for a “Citywide Bicycle Parking Program,” and $144,000 for “Interactive Bicycle Mapping Applications” for the City of Milwaukee.

Stations Like This One Coming to the Burbs:


Categories: Eyes on Milwaukee

2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Bike-Sharing Comes To The Burbs”

  1. Jeff Jordan says:

    Great news! This is a wonderful demonstration of the concept of integrating into the system and serving people in a seamless way. Imagine riding downtown to work from Shorewood, dropping off the shared bike. After work, you pick up another bike and you’re pedaling home. On the day that it happens to threaten to rain, you pop out your new MCTS M-Card and take the bus either one way or both. Park that car Milwaukee, a New day is coming.

  2. Tom D says:

    Jeff, yes the concept of commuting from Shorewood to downtown on a shared bike sounds great, but it probably won’t work out because there probably won’t be enough bikes in the right places.

    If a Shorewood bike station holds 12 bikes, and 13 people decide to commute by bike, somebody is going to be disappointed. Even worse, what happens if you get back to Shorewood at night and find every station full?

    The NYC and Washington DC bike share systems have been fighting (and losing) this battle for a while now. Both have purchased trucks and hired staff to “rebalance” bikes (drive them from full stations to empty ones). I live part-time in Manhattan and am amazed at how often I see totally empty bike stations (stations that had 50 available bikes the day before).

    Within downtown, bike sharing should work well, because there is a mix of people going back and forth throughout the day, but when people start using them to commute (especially when there are very few reverse commuters), it doesn’t work as well.

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