Jeramey Jannene

City Wants Feedback on KK River Trails

Proposal would link two off-road trail segments, create corridor from South Side to Downtown

By - Sep 27th, 2022 08:38 pm
A bicyclist on the Kinnickinnic River Trail. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A bicyclist on the Kinnickinnic River Trail. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Department of Public Works is starting the design process to create a link between the two off-road segments of the Kinnickinnic River Trail and improve the trail’s connection with other area trails. A website soliciting feedback on the corridors to be improved is now live.

The current northern leg in Walker’s Point runs from E. Maple St. to E. Washington St. along the Canadian Pacific rail line. The southern leg in the Bay View and Polonia neighborhoods runs on a former railroad corridor from E. Lincoln Ave. near S. 1st St. southwest to S. 6th St. and W. Rosedale Ave. A gap of 0.7 miles currently separates the two.

Kinnickinnic River Trail map. Image from the City of Milwaukee.

Kinnickinnic River Trail map. Image from the City of Milwaukee.

Funded by a 2020 state grant, the plan by DPW envisions a mix of protected bicycle lanes, traffic calming measures and other strategies, making on-street accommodations on approximately two miles of city streets that are intended to serve people of all ages and abilities. Construction would take place in late 2023 and early 2024.

Nearly simultaneously, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is working on a western extension of the trail along the Kinnickinnic River west from S. 6th St. to Pulaski Park at S. 16th St. That project is part of a larger flood management project that has resulted in the deconstruction of several houses located near the formerly concrete-channeled river.

“We are very excited about this project as it will provide greater options for people to bike to and from Downtown. It is one more component to creating a stronger network of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure throughout the city of Milwaukee,” said interim Commissioner of Public Works Jerrel Kruschke in a statement.

DPW’s project calls for improvements in four areas: S. 1st St. between E. Lincoln Ave. and E. Maple St. that separates the two trail segments; S. Water St. from W. National Ave. to E. Pittsburgh Ave. and the Milwaukee River that connects the trail to the Historic Third Ward; E. Pittsburgh Ave. and W. Freshwater Way that connect the north-south corridor with the Hank Aaron State Trail and Reed Street Yards; and, much further west, S. 16th St. to the extended trail in Pulaski Park.

When complete, riders could get on a bike near S. 16th St. and W. Cleveland Ave. and have a safe pathway to Downtown while passing through the Lincoln Village, Polonia, Bay View, Harbor District, Walker’s Point and Historic Third Ward neighborhoods. “Along with other planned improvements, over 14,700 people within [a quarter mile] of the [KK River Trail] and the new bikeways will be able to bike downtown and other destinations along the corridor,” says a press release from DPW.

“Thoughtfully designed infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians adds vitality and quality of life in Milwaukee. It promotes recreation and non-motorized travel for commuters and others,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson in a statement. “In this case, we have the resources and support to significantly improve the Kinnickinnic River Trail, and that is good news for people throughout the city.”

The federal government, through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant passed through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, will pay for 80% of the project’s costs. The project’s total budget is $1,199,780 according to a 2020 council approval.

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Categories: Transportation, Weekly

One thought on “Transportation: City Wants Feedback on KK River Trails”

  1. Mingus says:

    It is great to see different governmental entities working towards developing a thoughtful option for downtown commuters which would also provide recreational opportunities of city residents. During Scott Walkers time as County Executive, he opposed putting bike racks on busses. The Republicans are a 2ist Century social and political version of the 18th Century Luddites.

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