Jeramey Jannene

City, Bublr Plan Bike Share Expansion

Federal grant will add 26 stations, 250 bikes and service to more areas by end of 2020.

By - May 14th, 2019 03:17 pm
Bublr Bikes

Bublr Bikes

The City of Milwaukee and non-profit bike-sharing system operator Bublr Bikes are planning to add approximately 26 stations and 250 bikes to the system. But the stations won’t be installed until summer 2020 at the earliest.

The Department of Public Works is soliciting public input on where to place the stations, and has identified three expansion areas beyond the initial service area.

The western expansion would nearly unify the system with stations located in Wauwatosa and West Allis. A map provided by the city shows the expansion going as far west as Highway 175, north to approximately W. Lisbon Ave. and as far south as W. National Ave. Only a handful of stations within the city are located west of Interstate 43 today.

A southern expansion would encompass much of Walker’s Point and the northern tip of Bay View. The map shows the southern expansion area stopping just south of E. Lincoln Ave. One station is located in Bay View today at Zillman Park.

A northern expansion would run east of Interstate 43 and north to the city limits. This includes the neighborhoods of Harambee, Bronzeville, Halyard Park, Brewers Hill, Riverwest and the East Side. Bublr has added a privately-funded station in Riverwest along E. Center St. in the past year.

2019-2020 Bublr Bikes expansion map. Image from the City of Milwaukee.

2019-2020 Bublr Bikes expansion map. Image from the City of Milwaukee.

Adding 26 stations would place Bublr Bikes over its goal of 100 stations.

The dock-based system relies on users taking trips from dock to dock using single payment rides or monthly or annual passes. A map, showing bicycle availability and station locations, is available on Bublr’s website.

The new stations will be funded by a $1.9 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant. Many of the capital costs for stations within the city have been funded by the CMAQ program, with additional stations funded by tax-incremental financing, philanthropic giving and corporate sponsors. Shorewood, Wauwatosa and West Allis also have stations that have been funded by state grants and local funds.

The density of the stations has been found in other markets to be a key driver of system use.

Far from just being able to place the stations wherever they wish, city officials must juggle a number of issues when selecting sites. The most straight-forward involve simple geometry: would a station leave enough clearance space, cause a problem by covering a utility manhole cover, require street light relocation or necessitate chopping down a tree? More burdensome are federal grant requirements. When using federal money to install a station in a park an extensive review process is required and a long-term lease is needed. In addition, the grant requires the city to obtain a long-term lease or have the city acquire a portion of the property when installing a station on private land. Other restrictions arise for federally-designated historic buildings or districts.

Bublr Bikes executive director Sally Sheperdson will be a guest on next week’s episode of City Beat to discuss the expansion plans and how the system is doing.

The city, which administers the federal grant, will hold two open houses to solicit feedback on potential station locations.

Meeting Locations

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
Mitchell Street Library
906 W. Historic Mitchell St.
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2019
Martin Luther King Library
310 W. Locust St.
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Brief presentations at both meetings at 4:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

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Categories: Transportation

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