Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Advances Streetcar Extension Plans

What will streetcar extensions look like in Walker's Point and Bronzeville?

By - May 22nd, 2018 10:35 am
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4th and Wisconsin Streetcar Rendering

4th and Wisconsin Streetcar Rendering

The city is advancing land-use plans around future extensions of The Hop, Milwaukee’s streetcar starter system. Public workshops will be held Tuesday and Wednesday nights to present an update regarding the ongoing study of the potential impacts of extending the streetcar north to Bronzeville and south to Walker’s Point.

The study team will present renderings that reflect feedback from area stakeholders on what new development could look like.

The meetings are the fourth installment in a series focusing on how the extensions can better connect residents to downtown jobs and maximize positive impacts on the two neighborhoods, while respecting and maintaining the neighborhoods’ character. Residents and area stakeholders are invited to give their input as part of the process.

In October 2016, Urban Milwaukee broke the news that the city had received a $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to study transit-oriented development along two future extensions of the route. These workshops are a step in that planning process and will help city planners draft modifications to the zoning code and plans for streetscaping, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The city is also examining strategies to avoid displacement of existing residents if new development does occur.

A press release from the city notes that each session will include a presentation, discussion and neighborhood tour. The city is leading the workshops in partnership with the King Drive Business Improvement District, Walker’s Point Association, and the Harbor District. The city has hired Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to help facilitate the study.

To date the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD) locally has been illustrated by projects like The Couture, which will have a streetcar and bus rapid transit station in the first floor of the building, but 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 transit stops and stations.

Looking for more information? The planning effort has a website, MovingMKEForward.com.

The Milwaukee Streetcar project, now known as The Hop, is scheduled to begin operation this fall. An extension to the lakefront is scheduled to begin in late 2019. The $128 million starter system is being funded in part by $68 million in federal grants. A 12-year, $10 million sponsorship commitment from Potawatomi Hotel & Casino was announced in recent weeks, which coupled with a federal operating grant, will keep the project from having a direct impact on the city budget until at least 2021.

Meeting Locations

Tuesday, May 22nd
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Welford Sanders Enterprise Center
2812 N. 5th St., Milwaukee, WI 53212

Wednesday, May 23rd
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Escuela Vieau, gymnasium
823 S, 4th St,
Milwaukee WI 53204

A press release announcing the events notes a light dinner will be served, and that the meetings will open with presentations followed by small group discussions.

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More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

8 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: City Advances Streetcar Extension Plans”

  1. Jimbo says:

    Taking a bad idea and making it worse.

  2. Ann Knoedler says:

    Yes, bring this wonderful transit system to Bronzeville!!!

  3. Steve says:

    The amount of infrastructure they are ripping up is absolutely ridiculous. Not to get into details but this damn chuuu chuu train for barrets vanity cost our company 1000.00 in wasted IT labor and will likely cost more. We are just one example of hundreds in the area. All of this to put in a technology from the 1900s. Barrett’s vanity is breathtaking!!

  4. Sam says:

    @Steve

    How is that exactly? Please provide more details. Also, if you want to be taken seriously, please refrain from calling things names like a 5 year old.

  5. LenaTaylorNeedsToResign says:

    Don’t go small, Milwaukee! Set a goal of a billion-and-a-half taxpayer bucks for starters… Keep all those streets torn up for the next ten years!

  6. michael says:

    If we’re going to do this right,

    Phase 1: it should run down S. 1st street through Walkers Point. Then over the 1st street bridge/KK river to where there’s substantial redevelopment opportunity between the river and S. 1st & Lincoln. This would also puts legs behind the Solvey Coke clean-up/redevelopment and the eventual redevelopment of the Bay View Allis compound. South End of the harbor is the cities biggest development opportunity within the great downtown.

    Phase 1a. Extend the tracks north on 4th to the stadium, then across on Winnebago by the Pabst Brewery, to 12th & Vliet. 12th and Vliet area is the second biggest re-development opportunity in the greater downtown.

    Phase 2: Extend south from 1st and Lincoln, down Chase/Howell to Airport Amtrak Station via the airport & Grange Ave. A. That way there’s a connection between the Amtrak station and the airport, which currently doesn’t exist and thus means the 9 million Chicagoans aren’t likely to take the train to MKE airport. B. The existing park & fly lots at the airport could also used for commuter lots for the streetcar into downtown. C. Chase is ripe for upzoning and TOD development, especially at the DMV. D. From the airport to downtown, it’s 15ish mins to bay view, 20ish to mitchell/walkers point, 25 into downtown. Probably 35mins to the east side or 12th & Vliet.

  7. JMac says:

    There are 2 meetings scheduled to see the plans. Why not open your mind and attend one of them?

  8. The Conductor says:

    Why is it that the anti-streetcar crowd always bleats that the streetcar is old-fashioned, when they haven’t updated their memes about modern, urban rail transit since 1980? Now that’s old-fashioned. Way back then, there were not 39 US cities operating such lines, as there are today. And there were not five new streetcar lines opening in a year, as is happening this year. The “streetcars are antique” crowd has obviously never been on a modern streetcar, such as those running in Kansas City, Toronto, Dallas or San Francisco. When the public here gets to ride, they will all get to judge what’s old-fashioned. A modern, electric vehicle with three-phase AC inverter drive, lithium ion battery, all-LED lighting, regenerative braking and an aluminum composite body running on all-welded rail is not likely to fit any reasonable person’s idea of old-fashioned.

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