Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Give Your Input on BRT Project

County will hold two open houses on Bus Rapid Transit line.

By - Jun 7th, 2017 02:30 pm
BRT Rendering. Rendering from of MCTS.

BRT Rendering. Rendering from of MCTS.

Milwaukee County is looking for feedback on the proposed East-West Bus Rapid Transit line. The new bus service, which is proposed to run in dedicated lanes between The Couture on Milwaukee’s lakefront and the Milwaukee County Regional Medical Center on the county’s western edge, would dramatically speed up service in the highly-traveled corridor. The project team, led by a partnership of AECOM and HNTB, will present their work at two open houses this week.

On display will be recommended lane configurations, proposed station locations and designs, project costs, an estimated project schedule, and information about traffic, safety and parking impacts. Attendees are encouraged to provide feedback on the project design.

The roughly nine-mile, 12-stop line would run from the site of the proposed The Couture tower on the lakefront and west on Wisconsin Ave. to Hawley Rd., and then along Bluemound Rd. before snaking through the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center to the park-and-ride at Swan Boulevard.

The project, which would be 80-percent federally funded, would cost between $42-to-$48 million depending on the number of dedicated lanes set aside for the system. Substantial ridership gains in the corridor, upwards of 30 percent, are estimated by the project’s consultants, AECOM and HNTB.

Gains in ridership are expected to come from high service frequency (every 10 minutes on weekdays, every five minutes during rush hours), fewer stops and off-bus ticketing (both leading to reduced travel time), better stations than traditional bus shelters and improved vehicles that would cost upwards of $1 million each. In 2016, project consultant Dan Meyers told a city committee that 23 percent of those living within a half-mile of the route lack an automobile in their household, far above the county average, statistics show. Along the route are major employment and job centers including Downtown (81,000 jobs, 25,000 residents), Near West Side (40,000 residents, 30,000 jobs) and Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (16,000 jobs, 30,000 daily visitors).

Initial engineering work on the project has been previously advanced by the county, the City of Milwaukee and City of Wauwatosa. Milwaukee County is funding the work in part with proceeds from a $30 vehicle registration fee first implemented this year.

The project will ultimately rely on a Small Starts grant from the federal government. President Donald Trump‘s proposed budget would eliminate that program, but the president has also pledged a massive infrastructure program that could include a rebranded or reconfigured Small Starts program. While the budget is debated in Washington D.C., the project team in Milwaukee will continue to do engineering work on the project.

Open House Dates and Locations

Wednesday, June 7th
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Marquette University High School
3306 W. Michigan St.

Thursday, June 8th
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Zoofari Center
9715 W. Bluemound Rd.

Station Options

Video Rendering of BRT in Action at W. Bluemound Rd. and N. Hawley Rd.

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6 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Give Your Input on BRT Project”

  1. ThatGuy says:

    If this project does not get dedicated, preferably protected, lanes all the way along its route it really isnt worth it. That said, I think with the lanes this is a great project and it needs to get underway ASAP. Everyone contact your local alderman in support!!

  2. MissionArchitect says:

    I recently moved to Portland, Oregon and am currently studying the Portland Transit Mall here and this BRT project is using much of the same tactics that project did. It would be great to one day see light rail in conjunction with this going into Waukesha County, providing the under-served citizens of the near-west side equal opportunity to pursue jobs in the suburban areas of Milwaukee, but that would be far in he future. All I can say is keep pushing forward with this, great proposal!

  3. JPKMKE says:

    Awesome. Keep going.

  4. Common sense says:

    30.00 wheel tax for this.
    The Milwaukee liberals, the same people that claim to help the poor once again dig in there pocket books for this crap..

  5. Rich says:

    I went to the sessions, the design options presented were pretty good. I’m a bit skeptical of their ridership projections which seem to bank on more people in that corridor choosing transit because of the service times and trip time reduction — I hope that proves true. Despite one end being at Watertown Plank Road park-n-ride, it’s unclear if people will switch modes to use the service, though thinking about that now, with decent service, it could be an option for some that pay for parking downtown (except then WPR p-n-r will just be full)

    I also asked about enforcement of the dedicated lanes…The rep there agreed that that was an important part but they don’t have any answers. Despite being a county-level service, enforcement would be left to the municipalities en-route, meaning MKE will likely have none, so this dedicated lane will be a high-speed passing lane for those who already don’t follow traffic rules.

  6. Concerned Tax Payer says:

    Spend. Spend. Spend. For what. 4 mins. Who thinks about the reality of how bad traffic is going to be during rush hour times and Brewer game traffic. Who is subsidizing the the local businesses and homes on taxes for depreciating there property values? Milwaukee and Wauwatosa tax payers don’t pay enough? Common. Think responsible before jeopardizing people’s lives and there livelihoods for saving seconds on a bus route that makes no sense to us tax payers. Thanks

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