Streetcar Project Receives Federal Grant
City will use funding to study extension of streetcar to Bronzeville and Walker's Point.
The city and its Milwaukee Streetcar project has received a federal grant to study development on route extensions. The $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration will fund a study of transit-oriented development along planned extensions south into Walker’s Point and north along N. Martin Luther King Dr.
Mayor Tom Barrett has long sold the project as an economic development tool as much as it is a transportation tool, and this grant reinforces that notion. According to a release from the United States Department of Transportation “the city will work with stakeholders along the proposed extensions to evaluate how to use transit-supportive development to revitalize the two corridors and better connect residents to downtown jobs.” To date the concept of transit-oriented development has been illustrated by projects like The Couture, which will have a streetcar station in the first floor of the building, TOD is often not that literal. Successful TOD strategies include aligning zoning and design standards along a transit corridor, finding synergies with other public investments along the route, as well as maximizing the development of land nearest stations on a transit system.
Examples of TOD can be found in the urban nodes that form around commuter rail stations in the Chicago area or the South Waterfront neighborhood that developed around the Portland Streetcar. Ironically, a great example of TOD can be found in Milwaukie, Oregon, which recently was connected to the Portland light rail system and now boasts the ninth hottest real estate market in the country.
The description of the list of federal grant awards, totaling $14.7 million, notes that for Milwaukee “final outcomes will include revised zoning code text, development plans and policies for key sites, streetscape and pedestrian/bicycle access plans, affordable housing development strategies, and TOD financing strategies.”
Other Streetcar Updates
Earlier this year city officials learned they were unsuccessful in securing a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for the N. 4th St. extension to the new Milwaukee Bucks arena. This doesn’t mean that extension won’t move forward; the city has applied multiple times for the highly-competitive TIGER grants with varying amounts of success. Following a few misses, they were ultimately successful in 2015 in securing $14.2 million to help fund the lakefront extension to the planned Couture development, something Barrett had indicated was likely if the city approved the phase 1 route. Expect the city to continue to refine the .75 mile N. 4th St. extension and explore other federal funding programs to pay for additional extensions.
In a press release, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated “the [Barack] Obama Administration is proud to partner with forward-leaning communities with plans to develop around transit options that connect hardworking families to jobs, education and opportunity.”
N. 4th St. Extension and Other Expansion Plans
For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.
- Transportation: First Streetcar Smart Kiosks Installed - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 3rd, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: Lakefront Streetcar Extension Scheduled for June 2022 Opening - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 6th, 2020
- Transportation: Should Milwaukee Stop The Hop? - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 13th, 2020
- Transportation: The Hop Now Wears a Mask - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 18th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Is A Couture Deal Finally Coming? - Jeramey Jannene - May 13th, 2020
- Transportation: SUV Driver Runs Into The Hop - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 28th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Kiosks Could Bring In $500,000 Annually - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 20th, 2020
- Thanks A Million, Hop Riders! - The Hop - Feb 19th, 2020
- Transportation: We Energies Will Sponsor Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 10th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Ridership Up in January Versus 2019 - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 7th, 2020
Read more about Milwaukee Streetcar here