County Survey Finds Support for Bike, Pedestrian Options
Residents concerned about street safety, reckless driving, lack of bike lanes and buses.
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.
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 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.
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.”