First Streetcar Heading to Milwaukee
Left Pennsylvania plant, will arrive by on March 26, mayor announces.
This is an update on our story from March 16th, “Streetcar Will Run on Streets Next Month.”
Mayor Tom Barrett announced Friday afternoon that the city’s first streetcar vehicle is now headed for Milwaukee. “The vehicle just left the Brookville Equipment Corp. plant in Pennsylvania by truck and will arrive here as early as Monday, March 26,” Barrett said in an email. “It’ll roll off the truck and then head inside our new Operations and Maintenance Facility at 4th and St. Paul. I will be inviting you to a formal unveiling of the first vehicle in a few weeks. You’re also welcome to stop by to see the vehicle arrive, although the exact time and day won’t be known much in advance.”
“You can follow the progress of this first vehicle’s delivery and expected arrival time on the Milwaukee Streetcar social media,” Barrett noted. “We’ll be using the hashtags #THEHOPMKE, #MILWAUKEEORBUST and #BORNTORIDE to help you follow the vehicle’s delivery.”
The first of five Milwaukee Streetcar vehicles is scheduled to arrive in Milwaukee on March 26th. And after a few weeks of final assembly and system testing, the Pennsylvania-built vehicle will begin rolling on city streets on April. The announcement comes 60 years to the month after the last streetcar operated on Milwaukee streets.
The initial test section of track will be from the Operations and Maintenance Facility on N. 4th St. underneath Interstate 794 to the station at W. St. Paul Ave. and N. Plankinton Ave. Testing will expand to the entire route from the Milwaukee Intermodal Station to the intersection of N. Prospect Ave. and E. Ogden Ave. in mid-to-late June according to project representative Patrick J. Flaherty.
Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban declined to identify the final color scheme of the vehicle, but did say the vehicles will have a drastically different paint scheme than what has previously been depicted in renderings. However, one thing is certain to be highlighted on the vehicles: Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. The city announced a $10 million, 12-year presenting sponsorship arrangement with the casino in October for the $128 million project. The system’s official name will be “The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.”
The vehicle, which will be shipped to the city on an oversized truck, will arrive without a few key components installed. The pantograph system, which connects the vehicle to the overhead wire system, will be removed to allow the vehicle to fit under bridges. A “skirt,” which covers the lowest level of the vehicle, will also be missing. Those components will be installed before streetcar operator Transdev begins testing the vehicle.
“It’s going to be somewhat of a teasing phase, where people can see it, but they can’t touch it,” said Korban. Federal guidelines dictate that the vehicle will need to run for 1,000 kilometers before the system can be put into service, or approximately 151 roundtrips on the system’s first phase. “We would love to really invite the public, but we’re systems testing. Just know that we’re making it ready for you to ride,” said streetcar general manager Darryll Simpson.
The city made the vehicle arrival announcement at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Joint Committee on Downtown Streetcar Implementation. Korban said that while the vehicle delivery was originally anticipated to occur a month earlier, it is still within the anticipated delivery window and will not impact the project’s timeline.
The 2.2-mile initial phase is scheduled to begin operation in late 2018, with the extension to the lakefront entering service in 2019.
“To date we are still projecting under budget,” said Flaherty of The Concord Group. The firm, which serves as the city’s owner’s representative on the project, reported that $80.36 million has been spent on the project to date, including $1.13 million from a $4.84 million contingency fund.
Final design work on the lakefront extension is complete and track work on that segment will is scheduled to begin this year. Flaherty said the utility relocation costs are within the projected budget. All utility relocation work is scheduled to be completed by the end of April.
Flaherty reported system construct manager Kiewit Infrastructure is ahead of scheduling on meeting a requirement to hire unemployed or under-employed city residents. Through December approximately 43 percent of the project’s construction hours have been performed by Resident Preference Program participants. Kiewit must meet a city-imposed requirement that 40 percent of the hours be performed by RPP participants. The 40 percent has recently been exceeded by Northwestern Mutual on their new tower and the Milwaukee Bucks are on track to surpass it on the new arena, but smaller developers have struggled to meet the requirement that comes with any project receiving $1 million or more in city funds.
2-Story Hired to Market System
City engineer Jeff Polenske announced the city is negotiating the final details of a contract to market the system with 2-Story Marketing. The Walker’s Point-based firm will be in charge of developing public information and safety campaigns around the system, as well as generating more sponsorship deals. The firm will also be responsible for developing a final website that reflects the new brand, The Hop.
“Obviously 2-Story is incredibly proud to be part of this transformational project,” said firm owner and president Ellen Homb. “Even though we’re small, we’re very mighty in our reach.” Homb said the firm’s client roster includes the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Milwaukee Public Schools and Brewers Community Foundation. The firm has previously worked with the city on the Lead Safe Milwaukee campaign and with the Forestry Department.
The city received six bids from local firms to market the system. Helping the city analyze the bids were private sector partners Tarik Moody of 88Nine, Gary Witt of the Pabst Theater Group, Scott Schwebel of Colectivo Coffee and Megan Suardini of VISIT Milwaukee. “It was really important for us to not only get the experience on the marketing side from some outside individuals, but also a different set of eyes from a business standpoint,” said Polenske.
Koban and Polenske declined to identify the other bidders.
Streetcar Hiring Underway
System general manager Darryll Simpson reports that Transdev has begun hiring for the project. The manager, who works for Transdev North America, said the system is currently looking to hire nine individuals. TransDevNA.com lists four positions in Milwaukee for supervisory and technician roles.
Simpson told the committee: “We’re looking at having a great startup here in Milwaukee. I don’t see any obstacles.”
Hiring for vehicle operators will begin in late April according to Simpson. The jobs will be posted on TransdevNA.com and MilwaukeeStreetcar.com
“We have a very robust training program, for the supervisory staff, operator staffing, maintenance staff. If you come in with the right qualities that we can build out from, that’s what we’re really looking for,” said Simpson.
City Misses on Federal Grant for Arena Extension
The city again failed on a federal grant application to partially support the extension of the system to the new arena. The city had applied for the grant through the Targeted Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation under the direction of Secretary Elaine Chao and President Donald Trump has drastically altered the competitively-awarded program to favor rural highways, with only 3.8 percent of the latest grant round supporting transit projects. “Previous rounds of TIGER grants allocated about 15-30 percent of the total to transit, a quarter to walking and biking projects and less than half to roads and bridges,” reports Streetsblog editor Angie Schmitt.
After multiple submissions, the city received a $14 million grant in 2015 to support the lakefront extension. The city also received past TIGER grants for other projects, including the reconstruction of the Juneau Avenue bridge over the Milwaukee River.
The city intends to continue to apply for future TIGER grants.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
More about the Milwaukee Streetcar
For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.
- Plenty of Horne: Streetcar Barn is Hopping - Michael Horne - Apr 6th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Presents First Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 26th, 2018
- First Milwaukee Streetcar Vehicle Has Departed Manufacturer In Pennsylvania, Due to Arrive At New Home Early Next Week - City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works - Mar 23rd, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: First Streetcar Heading to Milwaukee - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2018
- Join Us Tonight For The Third Community Workshop For The Moving Milwaukee Forward Study - City of Milwaukee - Jan 31st, 2018
- Bastille Days announces new footprint for 2018 festival - East Town Association - Jan 25th, 2018
- Op Ed: Don’t Make Streetcar Rides Free - Jay Bullock - Jan 2nd, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: $65 Million Spent on Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 18th, 2017
- Transit Workers Union Announces Milwaukee Streetcar Labor Peace Agreement - Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 - Dec 1st, 2017
- Plenty of Horne: How Will Streetcar Stops Be Designed? - Michael Horne - Nov 27th, 2017
- City of Milwaukee Issues RFP For Milwaukee Streetcar Marketing Services - City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works - Nov 21st, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Who Wants To Market The Streetcar? - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 20th, 2017
- Will Streetcar Gentrify Bronzeville? - Elliot Hughes - Nov 8th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Holding Streetcar Planning Meetings Saturday - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 3rd, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: See Streetcar Floors Made Locally - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 26th, 2017
- New poll shows Milwaukee area’s divided feelings on Foxconn, views on other topics as Marquette Law School launches expanded public policy program - Marquette University - Oct 24th, 2017
- Mayor Barrett needs to start listening to the people - Ald. Bob Donovan - Oct 24th, 2017
- Mayor’s Chief of Staff Responds to Ald. Zielinski - Patrick Curley - Oct 24th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Zielinski Again Attacks Mayor, Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 24th, 2017
- Ald. Zielinski: Mayor diverts additional funding for streetcar that could go to more cops - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Oct 23rd, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Potawatomi Gives $10 Million To Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 6th, 2017
- City and Potawatomi strike 12-year, $10 million streetcar presenting sponsorship agreement, includes free rides for the first 12 months - City of Milwaukee - Oct 6th, 2017
- How Streetcar Could Change King Drive - Elizabeth Baker - Oct 5th, 2017
- The Streetcar, Public Safety and Our Budget Crisis An Honest Assessment of Milwaukee’s Status Quo - Ald. Bob Donovan - Oct 4th, 2017
- Alderman Zielinski tells Mayor Barrett: Cut the streetcar, don’t cut protective services - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Sep 27th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Republicans Heap Hate On Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 7th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Chooses Streetcar Operator - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 6th, 2017
- Milwaukee Streetcar Construction on Target to Meet Residential Preference Program, DBE Goals - City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works - Jul 21st, 2017
- Friday Photos: Streetcar Tracks Getting Road Tested - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 30th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: $30 Million Spent on Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - May 19th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Track Getting Installed - Jeramey Jannene - May 12th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: County Gets Waiver on Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 17th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Rails Being Welded - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 7th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Won’t Delay Streetcar for County - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 28th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: County Board Okays Bid for Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 23rd, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Track Steel Has Arrived - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 16th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Should County Operate Streetcar? - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 8th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Track Construction Starts in April - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 17th, 2017
- Streetsblog: 80 Transit Projects in 2017 - Angie Schmitt - Feb 6th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: The Milwaukee Streetcar is Hiring - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 20th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Project Receives Federal Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 12th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Cincinnati Streetcar Opens - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 19th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Okays Streetcar to Bucks Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 6th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: $6.5 Million in Streetcar Savings - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 26th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Donovan Lies About Streetcar Suit - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: BID Sells Streetcar-Related Development - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 15th, 2016
- Murphy’s Law: Do Millennials Oppose the Streetcar? - Bruce Murphy - Dec 15th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Pennsylvania Company Wins Streetcar Contract - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 13th, 2015
- Plenty of Horne: City Accepts $14 Million Federal Streetcar Grant - Michael Horne - Oct 29th, 2015
- Milwaukee to Receive $14.2 Million Grant for Streetcar Extension - Mayor Tom Barrett - Oct 26th, 2015
- Back in the News: Anti-Streetcar Petition Dies - Bruce Murphy - Aug 28th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Scott Walker Aids Milwaukee Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 13th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Construction Starts in October - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 10th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: The Strange Politics of Anti-Streetcar-ites - Bruce Murphy - Jun 18th, 2015
- Plenty of Horne: Bucks Plan Envisions Arena Streetcar - Michael Horne - Apr 8th, 2015
- A Short History of Milwaukee’s Old Streetcar System - Ken Smith - Mar 31st, 2015
- Plenty of Horne: Davis Sets, Cancels Meeting on Streetcar - Michael Horne - Mar 17th, 2015
- Back in the News: Anti-Streetcar Petition Drive Fails - Bruce Murphy - Mar 5th, 2015
- Friday Photos: Streetcar Signing Is Quite a Celebration - Michael Horne - Feb 13th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Milwaukee Streetcar Approved - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 10th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Who is “Lobbying” For the Streetcar? - Bruce Murphy - Feb 5th, 2015
- Data Wonk: Will Streetcar Help The Inner City? - Bruce Thompson - Feb 4th, 2015
- Back in the News: City Attorney Says Streetcar Petitions Might be Moot - Bruce Murphy - Jan 30th, 2015
- Data Wonk: Millennials And The Streetcar - Bruce Thompson - Jan 27th, 2015
- Op-Ed: Why I Support the Streetcar - Russell Rossetto - Jan 26th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Responses Shows Wide Support - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 22nd, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Approved, but Held - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 21st, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Koch-Funded Group Backs Anti-Streetcar Drive - Bruce Murphy - Jan 20th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Streetcar Backers Say They Have the Votes - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 20th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Who Is Funding the Anti-Streetcar Effort? - Bruce Murphy - Jan 20th, 2015
- Op Ed: Why the Streetcar Won’t Work - Samuel Jensen - Jan 14th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Will Anti-Streetcar Referendum Succeed? - Bruce Murphy - Jan 9th, 2015
- The Story Behind the Streetcar Referendum - Michael Horne and Bruce Murphy - Jan 8th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Delays Streetcar Until January - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 16th, 2014
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Committee Takes No Action on Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 10th, 2014
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Committee Approves Milwaukee Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 9th, 2014
- Plenty of Horne: RACM Approves Tax Funding for Streetcar - Michael Horne - Dec 2nd, 2014
- Plenty of Horne: How to Sell the Streetcar - Michael Horne - Nov 28th, 2014
- Plenty of Horne: Next Stops For The Streetcar - Michael Horne - Nov 24th, 2014
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Barrett Moving Forward With Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 18th, 2014
- Plenty of Horne: Who Will Be Streetcar Operator? - Michael Horne - May 8th, 2014
- Back in the News: A Streetcar Named Cooperation? - Dave Reid - Apr 27th, 2014
- Streetsblog: How a Streetcar Spurs Development - Angie Schmitt - Nov 3rd, 2013
- Plenty of Horne: Streetcar Social - Michael Horne - Sep 12th, 2013
- Republicans Move to Kill Milwaukee Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - May 9th, 2013
- Plenty of Horne: Mayor Says Streetcar is “Trojan Horse” - Michael Horne - Apr 17th, 2013
- Streetcar Meeting on Tuesday - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 29th, 2012
- Whoops, We Changed Our Mind - Dave Reid - Sep 27th, 2012
- Donovan’s New Anti-Streetcar Allies - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 16th, 2012
- Battle of the Bobs: Donovan vs Bauman Streetcar Press Conference - Jeramey Jannene - May 18th, 2012
- Milwaukee Streetcar Hearing at Frontier Airlines Center - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 15th, 2011
- Important Hoan Bridge and Milwaukee Streetcar Meetings this Week - Dave Reid - Nov 14th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar Passes Common Council, Proceeds to Final Engineering - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 26th, 2011
- Alderman Donovan Proposes Delaying the Streetcar Project - Dave Reid - Jul 19th, 2011
- Barrett says Streetcar is an investment in growing Milwaukee - Patti Wenzel - Jul 13th, 2011
- Keep the Milwaukee Streetcar Moving Forward - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 8th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar at Apex - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 16th, 2011
- Milwaukee Streetcar Takes Key Step Forward - Jeramey Jannene - May 6th, 2010
- Streetcars and Trams Around the World - Dave Reid - Feb 1st, 2010
- Milwaukee Streetcar Meeting This Thursday - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 5th, 2009
- Downtown Streetcar Open House - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 23rd, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Routes Unveiled by Mayor Barrett - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 21st, 2009
- Common Council Creates Streetcar Committee - Dave Reid - Jun 18th, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Round-Up - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 19th, 2009
- Vote For Your Favorite Milwaukee Streetcar Route - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 25th, 2009
- Design Your Own Streetcar Route - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 23rd, 2009
- Milwaukee Streetcar Map - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 21st, 2009
- Streetcars Coming to Milwaukee - Dave Reid - Mar 14th, 2009
- Palomar or Streetcar? - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 22nd, 2009