Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Wins $4.4 Million For Pedestrian Safety Improvements

Federal grant will fund improvements along city's High-Injury Network of dangerous streets.

By - Feb 1st, 2023 06:46 pm
Members of the Milwaukee Fire Department respond to a multi-vehicle crash on N. Sherman Blvd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Members of the Milwaukee Fire Department respond to a multi-vehicle crash on N. Sherman Blvd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee will receive $4.4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to make pedestrian-focused improvements to 26 intersections identified as part of the Department of Public Works (DPW) high-injury network analysis.

It’s part of an $800 million award announced Wednesday by the federal department as part of its new Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “We are proud that these grants will directly support hundreds of communities as they prepare steps that are proven to make roadways safer and save lives.”

DPW will use the funding to make improvements to intersections along W. Capitol Dr. from W. Roosevelt Dr. to N. 15th St., W. Atkinson Ave. from W. Capitol Dr. to N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., S. Cesar Chavez Dr. and S. 16th St. from W. Pierce St. to W. Forest Home Ave., W. Greenfield Ave. from S. 6th St. to S. Cesar Chavez Dr. and W. Forest Home Ave. from W. Lincoln Ave. to S. 16th St. The five corridors intersect to form two clusters, one on the North Side and one on the South Side.

Planned improvements include replacing traffic signals, realigning intersections to shorten pedestrian crossings and reduce turning radii that enable high vehicle speeds, closing approaches on intersections with five or more legs, installing new walk signal equipment and making intersections comply with the latest Americans with Disability Act standards including curb extensions and refuge islands.

“All five corridors experience very high transit usage and feature land uses that include a mixture of high-density commercial uses, libraries, schools including large high schools, parks and recreational facilities, and high-density residential developments including senior facilities,” says the city’s grant application. “These types of nearby destinations are vital to the lives of all roadway users, including children, older adults, persons with limited mobility, people of color, and economically disadvantaged populations. The proposed project aims to make these nearby destinations safe and accessible for all roadway users, particularly the most vulnerable.” The main objective of the effort, according to the application, is to improve pedestrian safety and comfort.

As part of the grant agreement, the city will need to cover 20% ($1.1 million) of the $5.5 million project cost. The majority of the project cost, $2.75 million, is to fund the construction of pedestrian corner and median improvements. An additional $1.04 million would cover the cost of accessible pedestrian signal installations. The project budget also includes design and community outreach work.

Construction on the improvements would take place in 2025 according to the city’s grant application.

Seven other Wisconsin entities won grants as part of the program: Madison, Park Falls, Brown County, Kenosha County, St. Croix County, the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson, who tweeted a photo of himself talking on the phone high up in the US Bank Center tower, said Buttigieg called to deliver “the good news” that the city was successful in its request.

Project Maps

Proposed intersection improvements. Image from DPW grant application.

Proposed intersection improvements. Image from DPW grant application.

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Categories: Transportation

One thought on “Transportation: Milwaukee Wins $4.4 Million For Pedestrian Safety Improvements”

  1. Mdamat says:

    This is another great win for the Mayor and the city. Good proposals in two areas with great need. Good , innovative, thoughtful and safe infrastructure encourages homeowners and small businesses to buy, stay and invest in their neighborhoods. I hope that the city is bold in their design and improvement. Specifically, that stretch of Atkinson should just be outright narrowed with the tree border extended to include a double row of trees not unlike Hi Mount or 53rd off of North Avenue. That kind of greening and slowing would encourage stability and investment.
    It would be interesting to see a study accompany this work that would measure investment in adjacent properties, permits pulled, property values and owner occupancy compared to similar roads nearby without the greening and narrowing. I expect it would show that investment in strong infrastructure pays for itself through private investment.

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