Jeramey Jannene

Bridge Bike Lanes Get Concrete Barriers

Barriers that will damage cars added for bike lanes on North Ave. and Locust St. bridges.

By - Jul 31st, 2019 04:26 pm
New "jersey barriers" on Locust Street bridge. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

New “jersey barriers” on Locust Street bridge. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Concrete barriers have been installed at the start and end of the protected bicycle lanes on the Locust Street and North Avenue bridges that link the city’s East Side with Riverwest.

The move comes after drivers had repeatedly knocked over plastic delineators. After installing the protected lanes in June 2018, the city had to replace the plastic bollards with orange construction cones because so many had been destroyed by vehicles.

The new barriers, made up of 28 concrete walls commonly called “jersey barriers,” are more likely to deter drivers from swerving into them, or at least that’s the hope. The city also hopes they will attract more cyclists.

Department of Public Works (DPW) employees were on the bridges Wednesday morning lifting the new barriers into place. They will cost $14,780.

Even without the new barriers, the bike lanes have been a success, according to DPW analysis, increasing cycling by at least 104 percent and reducing excessive speeding (vehicles traveling in excess of 40 miles per hour) by at least 50 percent on both bridges.

A city fact sheet on the project from 2018 states: “from 2012 to 2016, there were 221 crashes resulting in 80 injuries on E. Locust Street and 120 crashes resulting in 54 injuries on E. North Avenue, including 23 pedestrians and 23 bicyclists struck.” A DPW report indicates that prior to the lane’s installation one in five cars on the Locust Street bridge were measured going over 40 miles per hour. That means an average of two vehicles a minute flew by at least 10 miles per hour faster than the speed limit.

Are jersey barriers coming to the Kilbourn Avenue bike lanes that have suffered the same problem? Not yet. A DPW representative said the department is planning to increase the frequency of delineators on those lanes.

DPW is also working on adding two bike boulevards in Riverwest. A campaign, Take it EZ, is also underway to reduce reckless driving and speeding.

And as is all the rage this month, scooters are legally allowed to use the lanes. However, the gas-powered moped I saw cruise through the North Ave. lane is not.

Lanes Today

Original Configuration

Spring 2019 Configuration

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Categories: Transportation

4 thoughts on “Transportation: Bridge Bike Lanes Get Concrete Barriers”

  1. Thomas Gaudynski says:


  2. Juli Kaufmann says:

    I appreciate the continued effort. I use both bridges frequently, the Locust bridge almost daily to access the Oak Leaf. It remains ridiculously hazardous with current driving behavior. I will not allow my 12 year old son to bike it solo and still make him use the extended sidewalk instead. Alderman Kovac advised me once that that portion of sidewalk on the south side of the Locust bridge remains part of the official Oak Leaf Trail so I use it as well when heading West. I hope that’s a real memory not something I made up. Anyway – more more more bike infrastructure please!

  3. kmurphy724 says:

    Lesson learned. Good on the city for stepping up to the challenge. Now for those other locations…..

  4. Dennis Grzezinski says:

    Kudos to the Milwaukee Department of Public Works for getting this right!

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