Graham Kilmer

County Survey Finds Support for Bike, Pedestrian Options

Residents concerned about street safety, reckless driving, lack of bike lanes and buses.

By - Jan 23rd, 2023 08:26 pm
Wave delineators on the N. Hawley Rd. protected bike lane. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Wave delineators on the N. Hawley Rd. protected bike lane. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A survey conducted by the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation (MDCOT) found that residents are concerned about street safety and displeased with current transportation infrastructure and how it is contributing to dangerous roadways.

The survey was conducted online and in person at town hall meetings for the annual budget. While not scientifically conducted, it does offer a general sentiment among residents that their safety on Milwaukee roadways is a major concern. The survey also found huge support for bicycle infrastructure and street designs that make it safer for pedestrians.

Safety and infrastructure concerns, specifically, are what the survey was trying to capture. It was conducted to set the table for a larger federally-funded reckless driving project which MCDOT is planning. The end product of this effort will be a countywide street safety plan with specific safety design concepts that each of the county’s 19 municipalities can consider.

This survey is an early step in the process, expected to take three years to complete. The data from it will be synthesized with other local and national data, as well as the results of public outreach that will be conducted over a period of 18 months.

The first question asked respondents, “What is your biggest concern regarding the streets where you live?” Of the 648 respondents, 45% chose reckless driving, and 23% said their street was dangerous to cross as a pedestrian. The rest chose as their biggest concern that there were not enough transit options, potholes or “other.”

When asked how the streets could be made safer, 38% of survey respondents said they wanted protected bike lanes. The second most chosen option for safer streets was “more speed bumps on neighborhood streets.”

The survey also included a question asking respondents to say how MCTS, the county bus system, might improve. The top responses show respondents want the bus to come more often and for the bus to take them directly to their destination.

The survey also collected less neatly organized data from respondents on streets that they feel are too dangerous to bike or walk on and also general transportation-related questions and concerns. Responses to these two questions indicate that, for many Milwaukeans, safety concerns are a major deterrent to bicycle and pedestrian travel; and that the inadequacy of current transit offerings and transit infrastructure is actually inducing further car use.

Dozens of streets were offered as being too dangerous for bicycle or pedestrian travel. But some that topped the list include North Avenue, Water Street, Wisconsin Avenue, Kinnickinnic Avenue, Capitol Drive, Locust Street and Center Street.

One commenter captured a general sentiment found in a number of responses, saying, “I don’t want to drive, I want to bike and bus, and feel safe doing so at anytime night or day, any location. We need robust bike and public transit infrastructure. We need trains.” Another said, “need more buses, trams, protected bike lanes. fewer car lanes. I would sell my car in an instant if i could. I drive to work 25 min. i googled how long it would take by bus: 2 and a half HOURS! please fix.”

When given the chance to express their general concerns, responses ranged from reckless driving to the volume of ads played on buses. But one theme that came up again and again was the need to build out infrastructure that makes it safer for people to ride their bike or walk. As one person said, “We need actual protected bike infrastructure in the county. More people would leave their cars at home for short trips if they didn’t feel like they were risking their lives every time they got on a bike.”

One thought on “Transportation: County Survey Finds Support for Bike, Pedestrian Options”

  1. Mingus says:

    The County should not expect any funding from the State for projects for biking. Opposition to biking and funding bike trails is part of the conservative woke that Wisconsin has dealt with for decades. Yet many of these same legislators from rural areas where riding bike trails brings in tourist dollars still refuse to support this economic boon for the areas they represent-21st Century Luddites.

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