Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Renderings for Streetcar Extensions

See conceptual plans for how The Hop could integrate with Bronzeville, Walker's Point

By - May 23rd, 2018 04:57 pm
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Walker's Point Streetcar Rendering - S. 1st St. - Rendering by City of Milwaukee

Walker’s Point Streetcar Rendering – S. 1st St. – Rendering by City of Milwaukee

The City of Milwaukee has released conceptual renderings of how extending the streetcar system to Bronzeville and Walker’s Point could change both neighborhoods.

The renderings were first released at a public workshop held Tuesday night regarding land-use plans for the each neighborhood. A second workshop is scheduled for Walker’s Point on Wednesday night.

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 Walker’s Point, the renderings depict empty lots on a traffic-calmed S. 1st St. being developed into mid-rise buildings and continued activation of S. 2nd St. following the street’s 2010 narrowing. A greenway, a street that encourages cycling over high-speed driving, is proposed for Washington St. that would better connect Walker’s Point and the Harbor District to neighborhoods to the west for cyclists. A similar proposal, sometimes called a bike boulevard, is in the works for Riverwest.

A rendering for Bronzeville depicts N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. receiving new development in context with existing buildings on the street. Traffic calming, green-painted bike lanes and medians are all depicted.

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.

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

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 late 2017, which coupled with a federal operating grant, will keep the project from having a direct impact on the city budget until at least 2021.

The Milwaukee Common Council has approved a funding plan for a streetcar extension from the Milwaukee Intermodal Station to the arena, contingent on the city receiving federal funding for a portion of the route. The city has been unsuccessful in securing a grant with their recent applications, but had to apply multiple times to secure the grant to build the lakefront extension.

The grant funding the Bronzeville and Walker’s Point study includes funding for examining land-use patterns around potential extensions, but not for engineering work on the route itself.

Renderings

Bronzeville

S. 1st St.

S. 2nd St.

W. Washington St.

Gallery

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.

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.

12 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Renderings for Streetcar Extensions”

  1. Ed says:

    Run it to Potto, to Miller Park, and to the State Fair. This is so obvious, it hurts my brain to say it.

  2. TransitRider says:

    Ed, running streetcar parallel to I-94 (Potawatomi–Miller Park–State Fair) would be a bad idea.

    Freeways and streetcars work at cross-purposes. Streetcars create walkable neighborhoods (where you don’t need cars as much). By contrast, freeways create automobile-dependent neighborhoods that are hostile to pedestrians (walking over/under a freeway or past parking lots is unpleasant and avoided when possible).

    And while Miller Park and State Fair do attract huge crowds, that only happens a few days/year, so they are unused most days (and a streetcar serving just them would be unused most days as well).

  3. WitheredHusk says:

    @TransitRider

    You make some really good points about the usefulness of running the streetcar to the destinations Ed pointed out. Miller Park and State Fair are not in use enough to make the streetcar economically viable by themselves, and streetcars are better for dense neighborhoods.

    However, I do think there is some merit to the idea and it shouldn’t be wholly dismissed. For starters, I believe that outside of the immediate downtown area, the streetcar could transition to a more light rail-like set up, with its own dedicated lanes ad more distance between stops. Portland’s light rail system does something similar to this. Light rail systems parallel to freeways aren’t nearly as incompatible as streetcars and freeways.

    Secondly, while Miller Park and State Fair are only used several days out of the year, the Menomonee Valley is an economic hub for the city, with very few mass transit options. A mass transit line through the valley could serve workers every day of the year, while also doubling as the line that serves these special events.

    Finally, I believe there are things the city can do that would also make the potential transit corridor more viable. This includes opening up Miller Park’s parking lots to mixed use development. State Fair could also serve as a Park and Ride stop for commuters who want to commute downtown.

    Obviously, the costs would still be large, and there would have to be study to determine if any changes could make this mass transit corridor viable. But I do think it’s at least worth investigating.

  4. MitchellB says:

    @WitheredHusk

    You hit the nail on the head here. There should be a faster streetcar that runs West, similar to a light rail, back to more of a streetcar apparatus for stops in Story Hill, Stallis, and Tosa. Maybe a stop by the bars by Miller Park that can be dual-used on game/concert days. Taking cars off of I-94 with a commuter streetcar/light rail would pay massive dividends over decades.

  5. Terry says:

    For accuracies sake these renderings really should show that car smashing into one of these huge Scottholes that Career Politician Scott Walker and republicans have left the state littered with all while running up massive 1 Billion dollar DOT budget debt. Even considering this gross ineptitude, we could’ve still actually paved the roads but unfortunately Walker and republicans gave all our money and our children’s money, 4.5 Billion of taypayers’ money to be exact, to a Chinese company as Corporate Welfare! Oh well, that’s just life in Walker’s corrupt, crooked, low pay, slave wage Chinese job, gerrymandered, crony capitalist, pay to play, rotten Dark Money, third world banana republic Scotthole littered, state formerly known as “Wisconsin.”

  6. Sam says:

    As long as city leadership sees the streetcar as a development tool and not a transit tool, the whole thing is bound for failure. You need dedicated lanes and signal priority.

  7. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    At last, all Milwaukee problems solved: kids cannot read, drug wars, bad roads, buses do not get to jobs, neither will trolleys, human trafficking,, carjackings, overdoses deaths way up, car theft, murders, kids unemployed but against Foxconn, heroin, corruption, high taxes,MPS national disgrace, abandoned homes, top ten worst managed city in country.
    But it is Bushes’ Walkers fault.

  8. MitchellB says:

    @Wisconsin Conservative Digest

    Looks like someone is double counting problems. There’s no fix-all to Milwaukee’s multiple issues. Investment in downtown’s infrastructure and mass transit is a surefire way to alleviate certain issues. Also last I checked heroin ODs are higher/similar to the rate seen in Milwaukee. But sure, make this an ‘us vs. them’ type of argument, that’ll certainly help things. I hope you’re not late for Limbaugh today you pessimistic moron.

  9. Steve says:

    Looking forward to taking the Hop to Texas Js.

  10. DAG999 says:

    Until we can see some actual times for trips to and from various locations in the City, I will withhold judgement on this thing. When I went to UWM, a county bus ride with transfers took me almost 1 1/2 hours to get to campus. When the express UBUS route came in, this was cut down to a little over 1/2 hour. As others have mentioned, the “express” feature and limited stops create a viable (and better) system Many milwaukee residents EXPECT transit stops to be no longer than 2 blocks away from them, whereas in cities served by subways, people are willing to walk 1/4 mile or even more. (Blocks vary in distance remember, so it is not a good measurement when it comes to transit systems). And yes, until this thing is expanded and takes you somewhere, this thing will be more of a novelty only used by a few that live and/or work on the route itself.
    http://humantransit.org/2010/11/san-francisco-a-rational-stop-spacing-plan.html

  11. michael says:

    WCD – Walker & Ryan are fools because they support an absurd pro-highway/pro-trucking agenda, in spite of the fact that we live in a state that has the richest freight rail resources per capita as well as great lakes & Mississippi river options. Nowhere wins bigger than South East Wisconsin if the USA moves away from trucking. Not to mention, almost no where loses worse than we do since our climate makes maintaining a trucking-based industrial economy with a corresponding automobile-dependent populace spectacularly expensive. Crack open a budget – it’s a joke. It’s almost as if they want us to move to Texas.

    Here’s a coherent vision: Wisconsin is the Saudi Arabia of good small town urbanism – where are the policies that support this asset? We just let these places rot, while bribing big box stores and silver bullet schemes. Milwaukee is the 14th densest city in the US by weighted density, but we impose an agenda on the city like it’s Orlando, Florida. This is a map of the roads under control by the state DOT. It’s also a map of milwaukee’s pedestrian death roads, all littered with 2 foot deep pot holes.

    http://www.wisconsinhighways.org/maps/trunkline_map_milw.html

    Here’s what it boils down to: If you want to live in some new sprawl subdivision, the State will buy your town 100s of millions in new highway interchanges, a few brand new 6 laners @ $6M per mile for the walmarts, a set of brand new schools, and even bribe some new employers for you. But if you want to live somewhere established, you get treated like yesterday’s newspaper.

  12. Hugh W Swofford says:

    I hope that the streetcar will be used as a connector to some existing routes to expand its reach a bit. This was talked about in Walkers Point at a meeting recently.it is supposed to enhance not duplicate bus routes. Remember some bus routes only run two times an hour which is not enough.

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