Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Bublr Bikes Touts Big Expansion Plan

New stations coming in 2016 to Bay View, East Side, Walker's Point, Harambee.

By - Feb 19th, 2016 12:25 pm
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Bublr Bikes

Bublr Bikes

The little bike sharing system that could is about to climb another hill. After starting with 10 stations in 2014, and adding 18 more in 2015, it is now poised to more than double in size: another 32 stations are currently being readied for final approval and installation. The system, which is operated by a non-profit, has a goal to eventually reach 100 stations and 1,000 bicycles.

The latest expansion plans include installing many of the remaining stations from last year’s 35-station announcement. Newly-planned stations will take the system well into Bay View, west into the Marquette University campus and further north into the Harambee, Riverwest, Northpoint, Murray Hill and Upper East Side neighborhoods. A number of infill stations are also planned to strengthen the network. A complete list and map is available below.

The public is invited to respond to these proposed plans at an open house at the Zeidler Municipal Building (841 N. Broadway) on February 23rd from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Comments on the proposed locations are also being collected via a form on the city’s website.

Utilizing an $1.28 million federal grant and required $320,000 city match, the city is studying 32 stations, but likely won’t be able to install all of them before the current grant runs out.

According to Department of Public Works (DPW) spokesperson Sandra Rusch Walton: “We are screening a greater number of stations to ensure we have enough stations that come through the public input process as well as the required environmental/historical/archaeological reviews. Staff estimates there is enough funding left in this CMAQ grant for at least 20 or more new stations.  Any stations that make it through the public input and environmental screening processes, but cannot be funded because of the limited remaining dollars would still be in the queue for installation with future funds.  The city has applied for additional CMAQ funding (awaiting results) or these locations could be funded through private fund raising efforts.”

The city used the existing grant to install 12 of 18 stations last year, with private donations paying for one and UW-Milwaukee student fees paying for the remaining five.

Bublr Bikes will rely on private fundraising to install additional stations this year, including one for S. Cesar Chavez Dr. and another near Walker Square.

Installation of the city-sponsored stations is expected to begin in mid-to-late May according to the DPW. Due to availability issues because other cities are also purchasing the Trek-manufactured B-Cycle system, some additional stations may be installed as late as July.

Difficulties Locating Stations

Far from just being able to place the stations wherever they wish, the city must juggle a number of issues when selecting sites. The most straight-forward involve simple geometry: would a station leave enough clearance space, cause a problem by covering a utility manhole cover, require street light relocation or necessitate chopping down a tree? More burdensome are federal grant requirements. When using federal money to install a station in a park an extensive review process is required and a long-term lease is needed. In addition, the grant requires the city to obtain a long-term lease or have the land be vacated when installing a station on private land. Other restrictions arise on federally-designated historic buildings or districts. If this all sounds ridiculous, just imagine how good it looks to a lawyer.

Suburban Expansion

Don’t expect the system to reach the suburbs just yet. West Allis, Wauwatosa and Shorewood all received federal Transporation Alternatives Program grants to join the system in 2014, but aren’t scheduled to use the money for this until 2017. Bike sharing systems thrive on a dense network of stations, allowing riders to take short rides from station-to-station, and it doesn’t make sense for the suburbs to come on-board unless the network extends to them.

Bike Sharing Explained

Bike sharing now exists in 75 U.S. cities, as an easy way to get riders from point to point. System biycles can be checked out from docking stations using a credit card or membership fob.  Unlike traditional bike rentals, all trips start and stop at a docking station. It gives riders the benefit of a bike at their disposal without the need to buy, maintain or store one. A single 30-minute ride costs $3 ($3 for each additional 30 minutes) or a month-long membership of unlimited 60 minute rides costs $15. The system pairs well with existing and planned transit options like the bus system or streetcar by providing another mobility option, allowing riders to choose the mode that bests fits their need.

Station Map

February 2016 Bublr Station Map

February 2016 Bublr Station Map

Proposed New Station List

  1. Mason/Milwaukee – 2016
  2. Bradford Beach – 2016
  3. Pleasant/Water (Aperture Apartments) – 2016 – Already Approved
  4. Commerce/Pleasant – 2016 – Already Approved
  5. Marsupial Bridge East (Water/Pearson) – 2016
  6. Astor/Juneau – 2016
  7. Burns Commons (Prospect/Ogden) – 2016
  8. MIAD (Menomonee/Erie) – 2016
  9. Greenfield/1st (Freshwater Plaza) – 2016
  10. 2nd/Freshwater – 2016 – Already Approved
  11. 2nd/Washington (1029 S. 1st St.) – 2016 – Already Approved
  12. Virginia/2nd – 2016
  13. Superior/Russell – 2016
  14. Milwaukee Public Museum (Wells/James Lovell) – 2016
  15. MATC (State/James Lovell) – 2016
  16. Old World Third (Highland/Old World Third) – 2016 – Already Approved
  17. North/Martin Luther King – 2016
  18. Brown/Martin Luther King – 2016
  19. King Park (Vliet/14th) – 2016
  20. Webster/Downer – 2016
  21. Park/Downer – 2016
  22. North/Lake – 2016
  23. Prospect/North – 2016
  24. North/Oakland – 2016
  25. Bradford/Oakland – 2016
  26. Riverside Park (Oakland/Riverside) – 2016
  27. Kenwood/Oakland – 2016
  28. Washington/Cesar Chavez – 2016 – Privately Funded
  29. Walker Square (Washington/9th)  – 2016 – Privately Funded
  30. Wells/16th – 2016 – Privately Funded
  31. Lincoln/Kinnickinnic – 2016
  32. Kinnickinnic/Ward – 2016 – Privatley Funded

Bublr Photos

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