Jeramey Jannene

‘Traffic Gardens’ Coming to MPS Buildings

Part of Safe Routes to School program, teaching students how to bike and follow rules of the road.

By - May 19th, 2022 06:56 am
Aubrey Jannene walks through the traffic garden at Clement Avenue School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Aubrey Jannene walks through the traffic garden at Clement Avenue School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee is poised to repeal an ordinance prohibiting bicycle riding on public school property as part of a push to encourage students to bike to school and learn traffic safety.

The move, recommended by the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Bike-Ped Task Force and Milwaukee Public Schools, is an outgrowth of the Safe Routes To School program.

Bike Fed program director Michael Anderson told the Public Works Committee that the 17-year-old program is working to create “traffic gardens” at all MPS buildings.

“They actually teach kids at a very young age how to walk, bike and follow the rules of the road,” said Department of Public Works multi-modal planning manager Michael Amsden.

The “garden” is actually a series of painted lines that simulate intersections.

An MPS budget document says bringing the gardens to every school would cost $700,000 and be funded by federal COVID-19 relief funding.

One is already painted on the Clement Avenue School property, 3666 S. Clement Ave. Area Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic is the sponsor behind repealing the prohibition.

The 2021 Safe Routes plan found that the ordinance technically prohibited the installation of the traffic gardens. It also had a side effect of placing signs at schools that said bicycle riding was prohibited, a message which was believed to reduce the willingness of people to bike to school.

“Changing the current climate of reckless driving will take a community-wide effort,” said MPS Superintendent Keith P. Posley in a letter of support. “Milwaukee Public Schools is proud to do our part in educating the children and families in Milwaukee about pedestrian bike safety. Our families need the opportunity to use playground spaces to ride safely.” Posley’s predecessor Darienne Driver had submitted a similar letter of support for the repeal as far back as 2016.

On a case-by-case basis schools will still be able to prohibit riding, said Anderson.

“Sounds good to me,” said Alderman Robert Bauman. The committee unanimously approved the measure.

The full council is slated to consider the proposal at its June 1 meeting.

The repeal would still maintain a prohibition on riding bicycles on sidewalks by those 10 or older with an exception for those with a disability.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us