Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Bronzeville and Walker Square Hail Bublr

Residents happy to get bike sharing stations in their neighborhoods.

Bublr Bikes are now available at Cesar Chavez Drive and Washington Street in Walker Square. Photo By Rebecca Carballo.

Bublr Bikes are now available at Cesar Chavez Drive and Washington Street in Walker Square. Photo By Rebecca Carballo.

Residents of Bronzeville and Walker Square are glad that Bublr Bikes are now available in their neighborhoods, but some parents would like to see the bike-sharing service offer cargo bikes, so they can transport their children.

“I think it’s awesome, but I need something more kid-accessible,” said Carina Krantz, a mother of four young children who lives on the South Side.

Krantz said she would consider using Bublr Bikes if cargo bikes were available.

Brent Grier, a South Side parent, said he would use the bicycles “in a pinch,” but noted it would be useful if there were a cargo bike option.

One of two new bike stations is located in Halyard Park at Brown Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, in the area known as Bronzeville. The other is at Cesar Chavez Drive and Washington Street in Walker Square.  

Lucia and William Jenkins, who live with their children in Bronzeville, would like to see Bublr offer cargo bikes. Photo By Rebecca Carballo.

Lucia and William Jenkins, who live with their children in Bronzeville, would like to see Bublr offer cargo bikes. Photo By Rebecca Carballo.

Lucia Jenkins, a Halyard Park resident, said she would not be using Bublr because her family has their own bikes. However, she too said she would be open to use them if cargo bikes were available.

Xochitl Morales who lives in the neighborhood and works at Time Warner Cable, uses Bublr Bikes on her lunch break to explore downtown. She said she would like to see a cargo option.

“I have grandchildren and that’s something I would want,” Morales said. She added that she and her grandchildren have enjoyed using cargo bikes before.

Kevin Hardman, executive director of Bublr Bikes, said he has heard the request for different types of bikes before. He said it is a possibility, but it is in the hands of the supplier, BCycle.

“It’s crucial we hear from users about what they want and need,” Hardman said.

Hardman added that the concept of bike sharing is evolving. He said as it becomes more popular, he anticipates new styles of bikes will be introduced.

Halyard Park resident Pam McFarling said she was excited to see Bublr Bikes come to her neighborhood.

“I saw them in other places and I thought it would be cool to have one in the neighborhood,” McFarling said. “I don’t have a bike but I really like riding them.”

McFarling added that the rental fee would not deter Halyard Park residents. “I don’t think the rates are bad because bikes are pretty expensive,” McFarling said. “It’s a good alternative if you’re not going to ride regularly.”

When scouting for new locations, Bublr Bikes asked Russell Jobs, general manager of DreamBikes, for suggestions. Jobs recommended the location on King Drive because it’s close to residential areas. DreamBikes, 2021 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, is a nonprofit organization that employs neighborhood youth and provides community members with affordable bicycles.

“It’s hopefully breaking down invisible borders between the downtown and the neighborhoods,” Jobs said.

Ashley Parker, who works at DreamBikes, said she thinks the bikes will probably get a lot of use because many neighborhood residents do not have cars.

Ian Bautista, executive director of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, noted that the bikes also will benefit the South Side.

“It’s an affirmation we are connected to the rest of the city,” Bautista said. “It validates we’re a viable economy.”

In the next few years, Bublr Bikes plans to expand to more than 100 stations and 800 Bublr Bikes in the Milwaukee area. The Milwaukee-based nonprofit has launched 40 bike share stations downtown and in adjoining neighborhoods.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

Bublr Bikes

6 thoughts on “Bronzeville and Walker Square Hail Bublr”

  1. MARY GLASS says:

    July 3, 2016

    BUBLR BIKE, the idea, fits in with today’s lifestyle, recreation, exercise and federally supported PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION for 21st Century strategic planning. HOWEVER,

    BUBLR BIKE forgot to include the CORE CONSTITUENTS in Milwaukee.

    BUBLR BIKE leaders are not and have not been good STEWARDS while using funds taken from the city coffers for startup and state-funding from federal funding (over $5 million dollars) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program for expanding. How did African American, other People of Color and Work Challenged neighborhoods get overlooked? They should have been first and for sure simultaneous to any other site. ALL HANDS ON DECK – ALL MILWAUKEEANS involved.

    Not just downtown, tourists, east side, and near Walker’s Point – areas for the Caucasian-dominated population.


    It sends the wrong message from Kevin Hardman, executive director, James Davies, Operations Director & General Counsel, Bruce Keyes, Foley & Lardner, LLP – Board President and Co-Founder, Barry Mainwood, Mainly Editing – Board Vice President and Co-Founder, Trent Johnson, Foley & Lardner, LLP – Board Secretary, Radhika Maheshwari, Johnson Controls – Board Treasurer, Juli Kaufmann, Fix Development, Jeff Polenske, City of Milwaukee and Rese Schneider, Public Policy Forum.

    What are African American, other People of Color and Work Challenged families supposed to think? There is NO EXCITEMENT of the two sites mentioned in this article. There is the thought of being LEFT OUT – an “after-thought”, based on present implementation. That is just WRONG. Especially when you travel in the downtown, east side, UW-M, MSOE, Marquette and near downtown Walkers Point, the bikes are everywhere and “IN EXCESS” – STATIONS HERE AND THERE.

    Halyard Park resident Pam McFarling said she was excited to see Bublr Bikes come to her neighborhood.
    “I saw them in other places and I thought it would be cool to have one in the neighborhood,” McFarling said. “I don’t have a bike but I really like riding them.”

    This is a very telling statement by Pam McFarling. It speaks volumes to the discrimination and being left out.

    Others in the article spoke of a need for a cargo attachment. If Bublr Bike were “in-tune to the People” and customer care for families in Milwaukee, they would have known this and had it built into the expansion dollars.

    Russell Jobs, Dream Bikes, should not have been the main source for placing the bikes at Brown & MLKing Drive. He has a working agreement with Bublr Bike.

    Bublr Bike sites are maintained by Caucasians only (in a city majority People of Color, with Enduring Concentrated Poverty and huge unemployment).

    Bublr Bike has jumped on the Milwaukee County Transit System with Announcements of stops of Bublr Bike – most of the folk riding the bus do not have them in their area.

    It is important to note, Bublr Bike owners have their eyes on “FRANCHISING” and moving to Glendale, Whitefish Bay and other suburbs and the immediate world – and they have not taken care of the ones who got them started.

    Where is Tom Barrett,Mayor (Executive Branch), Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman & Common Council President and the 14 Alderpersons (Legislative Branch)?

    Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC wrote about this:

  2. Michael says:

    What a load of crap.

    There have been people of color that work for bublr to help maintain the system. I know one personally.

    They also did not have the money for a simultaneous city wide implementation. With these types of systems you need a critical density of stations in order to make people feel they can ride it to where they any without being stuck looking for a bike station. You are already seeing the system expand outside of areas this core and it will continue to grow. The reasons there is heavy focus around universities is that is because those universities provided specific funding. Note that the only two stations north of north Ave on the east side are at UWM.

  3. MARY GLASS says:

    July 5, 2016

    The facts as we have found them are what they are.

    If You are pissed, guess how African American, other People of Color and Work Challenge – in mass – feel. It is wrong Michael. It is wrong.

    As far as who they hired. Did you say you knew of “ONE” hire?

    We used Bublr Bike reporting from their website. The photo of staff may of been removed since we started outreach of this DISENFRANCHISEMENT – we see Sharon Adams, Walnut Way and Maanaan Sabir, Juice Kitchen, friends of Julie Kaufmann, The Fix and Bublr Bike board member – falsely representing Bublr Bike outreach to African American. It is wrong Michael.

    See the link below.
    BUBLR BIKE must answer to REDLINING in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Public Transportation

  4. Eric S says:

    I’m sorry, but such over-the-top comments come across as more of a rambling rant than a list of legitimate concerns. (All caps comes across as shouting and what seems to be a number of personal attacks doesn’t help the cause either.)

    Bublr continues to expand from its initial downtown/university-based starter phase. Given limited funding, any such system needs to start in the area likely to demonstrate the strongest demand. Experience with systems elsewhere, both in the US and around the world, shows that for bike share to work well stations need to be located fairly close together – instead of spreading stations far from each other, there needs to be a concentration (or density) of stations. This also means that expansion will tend to occur in neighborhoods contiguous to the existing system. More funding will enable the network to expand more quickly to more neighborhoods.

    As a useful, important transportation service, it is only natural to include announcements on MCTS buses. Downtown is the most transit-accessible neighborhood in the city – more accessible to residents and visitors than any other single neighborhood – meaning that Bublr bike stations in the downtown area may be useful to any persons traveling to or through downtown. The ability to link the use of bike share and transit helps to expand the reach of both networks.

    The idea of having cargo bikes available is interesting. I’d be curious if any other bike share systems offer this as an option. It would seem to present a number of logistical challenges though, which is why I imagine that it is not a common feature of any systems with which I’m familiar.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    Mary isn’t the fact that Bublr is expanding into more and more neighborhoods, including the two mentioned in this story, a good thing and exactly what you want it to be doing? They do not have unlimited funds and resources. Someone’s full-time job is seeking funding opportunities and other partnerships to keep it going and growing. Your criticisms seem excessively harsh and highly unfair.

  6. AG says:

    The responses to Mary are spot on. Mary Glass doesn’t seem to understand the SOP in creating a successful bike sharing system or that stations may open outside the normal circumstances if sponsored by an entity in that area (universities, businesses, suburbs) due to limited resources to roll out city-wide right away. Because of that lack of understanding, Mary gets a pass. But what doesn’t get a pass is the jumping to conclusions regarding race. This is particularly concerning since this is an article talking about minority areas getting stations.

    Bublr bikes has always talked about their desire to move out into neighborhoods and has made clear from day 1 that it needs to happen in a way that connects a certain density of stations. They have also said how they’d make this happen in step with available resources. We’re seeing that come to fruition, yet some people still aren’t happy. One should take the time to fully understand why things are done the way they are done before making up your mind on what you think should be done.

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