City of Milwaukee
Press Release

City of Milwaukee to Host A Public Information Meeting For Proposed New Bublr Bike Sharing Station Locations

Meeting will showcase locations of upcoming Bublr Bikes stations.

By - Jul 14th, 2015 11:31 am

The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW), in partnership with Bublr Bikes, will host a public information meeting on Monday, July 20, 2015 to discuss installing approximately 30 proposed new bike sharing stations over the next two years in and adjacent to Milwaukee downtown neighborhoods, where 11 Bublr Bike stations already are in operation.

The City received a $1.6 million federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant to install approximately 30 new Bublr Bike share stations in 2015 and 2016. Rules for using federal transportation funding for this project require that the proposed station locations must be reviewed for historic and various environmental impacts, and then approved by the State of Wisconsin before installation. The City also must share the proposed station locations with the public for comment.

In addition to the approximately 30 stations proposed using federal funding, six (6) more stations will be installed on and near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus in 2015. These bike share stations will be funded with UWM student segregated fees – $300,000 approved by the Student Senate.

Bublr Bikes is also actively seeking community partners to raise private funds for more bike stations and to support system operations.

“I am proud of the progress we have made since the Bublr Bike launch in 2014,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “We are excited to move forward with bike share station expansion into more neighborhoods in Milwaukee so more residents and visitors have the opportunity to bicycle around our city for work, school, and play.”

Monday, July 20th, 2015
4:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Open house format
5:00 p.m. – Welcome by Mayor Barrett
6:00 P.M. – Repeat of same presentation
Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway, 1st floor meeting room

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62 thoughts on “City of Milwaukee to Host A Public Information Meeting For Proposed New Bublr Bike Sharing Station Locations”

  1. Paul says:

    Hard to say what is the greatest waste of our tax dollars the Bublr or the Trolley

  2. PMD says:

    Are you going to attend the meeting and share your take Paul?

  3. Eric S says:

    I’ve found the slow roll out of new Bublr stations to be frustrating. I understand things take time, so it’s mostly just me being impatient. I do wish more of these stations would be opened in the April/May period, so there would be an entire summer for people to begin to discover them, rather than opening in summer and fall. Hopefully the stations to be added in 2016 will open earlier in the year.

  4. Paul says:

    The Mayor is dead set on wasting federal funds and then our local tax dollars, he won’t listen to common sense

  5. Tim says:

    Paul, should the city have refused the grant for Bublr?

  6. PMD says:

    Paul are you ever surprised when you wake up and discover it’s not 1954? People like you who are so reflexively and obtusely against any transportation system that isn’t centered around the automobile, it seems like you must be at least a little shaken when you wake up in the morning and look outside to see 2015.

  7. Eric S says:

    Adding and expanding transportation options certainly seems like common sense to me. The list of cities/metro areas with bike share systems seems to grow every week, so Milwaukee is hardly unique in offering such a system.

  8. Paul says:

    PMD, in a few years it will look like 1954 with a fixed nonflexable trolley. Until you look at your tax bill.

  9. PMD says:

    Do not fear progress Paul. Really, 2015 isn’t so bad, and I wasn’t alive then but even you must admit that 1954 wasn’t all that great.

  10. Paul says:

    Tim, the costs to local taxpayers has to be taken into that decision, from what I could find it’s around $16 to $20 thousand for maintaining each station per year. Will a low income person rent a bike for $35 per month with all the restrictions when they can buy one at Goodwill for less money.This might be worth while downtown or some other areas.

  11. Eric S says:

    The fixed nature of the streetcar is a feature, not a bug. I have some questions about the streetcar project, particularly concerning the exact route and the lack of dedicated lanes, but the concept of rail transit for Milwaukee is a sound one.

  12. Paul says:

    PMD, I wasn’t around then either, somethings were a lot better back then and some are better now.

  13. PMD says:

    So we should avoid putting bike sharing systems in low-income neighborhoods because they could probably get a decent cheap bike at Goodwill? Only downtown residents deserve bike sharing?

  14. Eric S says:

    The Bublr system is going to be concentrated in the downtown and neighboring densely populated areas to start, eventually and gradually expanding from there. As noted in the article: “approximately 30 proposed new bike sharing stations over the next two years in and adjacent to Milwaukee downtown neighborhoods, where 11 Bublr Bike stations already are in operation.”

  15. Dave Reid says:

    I’ll just point out Bublr Bikes does not cost $35 a month.

  16. Paul says:

    Dave Reid, I looked it up a couple months ago and remember that $35 figure, checked it out and you’re right $15 for unlimited 60 minute rides plus $3 for every extra 30 minutes

  17. Paul says:

    PMD, if we put them anywhere, they should be where they make the most sense. People downtown would also be way ahead with their own bike. Seems to be something that tourists would use and I doubt many of them would want to ride thru the inner city.

  18. Dave Reid says:

    Just because people own their own bicycles does not mean they won’t use Bublr. For me there are times when taking my bike, the bus, a car, a taxi, uber, the streetcar, make sense and then there are times grabbing a Bublr will make more sense.

  19. PMD says:

    Bike sharing isn’t aimed only at tourists.

  20. Tom D says:

    Paul, using Bublr is better than owning a bike because Bublr:

    • requires no maintenance (Bublr takes care of all that)

    • is theft-proof (if it’s stolen after you dock it, it’s not your problem).

    • provides overnight parking space (important if you have a small apartment)

    • is usable for one-way trips (unlike owned vehicles—bikes or cars)

    The last point (one-way trips) is something car owners may not understand. If I ride a Bublr bike downtown and then decide I don’t want to ride back that night (maybe it’s raining, or I had too many drinks after work, or a co-worker offers me a lift), I can do that without having to worry about how I’ll get to work tomorrow.

  21. Dave Reid says:

    @Tom D Great point on the one-way trips. This is definitely a little understood benefit of bike-sharing.

  22. Paul says:

    Tom D, -no maintenance, taxpayers take care of that -Theft proof, what happens if someone takes ot from you -overnight parking, only if you’re near a station – one way rides, once again if you live near a station I’m not totally against this idea, I do think it needs to be studied before we commit millions to this

  23. PMD says:

    Someone someday could steal your car, so I guess having a car is a bad idea. Sorry Paul but Tom’s points hold a lot more water than yours.

  24. Tim says:

    Paul wants to study it to death… his family must have settled the Milwaukee area… that’s the de facto motto for everything in our corner of the state.

  25. Paul says:

    PMD, I carry insurance in case my car is stolen, is insurance coverage included in the rental agreement, is it covered by Bublr or does it fall upon the state.
    Tim, I’m only asking simple questions about spending tax dollars same as I do when spending my own money.

  26. Dave Reid says:

    @Paul You left out one option, which is actually what I think it is. It falls on the user. But I’ll point out that nationally very few bikes have been stolen in this version of bike-sharing that it is pretty minor concern.

  27. Tom D says:

    Paul, Bublr is NOT a government program, so the taxpayers do NOT “take care” of maintenance. (Maintenance is included in the $15 monthly membership fee.) Bublr is a PRIVATE SECTOR, non-profit organization (like the Symphony or Art Museum) which accepts contributions from individuals, businesses, and (yes) government.

    Shared bikes (like Bublr’s) are really not attractive to thieves. Based on my experience with NYC’s “Citibike” program, they are probably heavier and less desirable than a bike you would buy. The parts are non-standard and don’t fit “regular” bikes. There is no market for a stolen Bublr bike. If Citibike (in NYC, the bike theft capital of America) doesn’t have a problem with stolen bikes, Bublr shouldn’t either.

    Most thefts of “regular” bikes occur while the bike is parked. If all your Bublr trips are from one station to another, you will never park your Bublr bike anywhere except in a dock at a station, and the docks seem almost immune from theft. Somebody stealing it while you are pedaling seems pretty far-fetched, but if somebody did, your homeowner or renter insurance policy would probably cover you.

    You are correct that you can’t use Bublr for commuting if don’t live near a station; that’s why it is so important to spread stations over a broad area (including low income areas) so that more people can use it.

  28. Paul says:

    Tom D, at $50,000 a station to build and setup and $16 to $20 thousand per year to maintain, we are talking huge money, doubt if the fees come near covering it. You say it’s not a government program but alot of government money is going into this.

  29. PMD says:

    Paul could there be any benefits to a bike sharing system? How do you decide if something is worth trying or not? Few things are guaranteed. You seem like someone who is really stuck in the past, fearful of any and all change.

  30. Tom D says:

    Paul, you claim it will $16,000–$20,000 to maintain a bike docking station. Do you have a source for that?

    As to your cost of $50,000 for a bike docking station (with space for perhaps 10-15 bikes), that’s much cheaper than what the City has paid to build parking garages ($27,000 per parking space in Cathedral Square, for example, and that was over 10 years ago). Also, the cost of the dock includes the bicycles themselves which seem to cost over $1,000 each—they use non-standard parts (to deter parts theft) and probably contain sophisticated theft-deterrent devices similar to LoJack.

    Going forward, perhaps we can convince commercial property owners to sponsor public docking stations at their properties—even at $50,000 per station for 15 bikes, that’s about the same as providing 15 surface parking spaces for cars (and much cheaper than 15 garage parking spaces.

    Right now, zoning laws contain minimum off-street parking requirements (one of many hidden subsidies given to automobiles). If Bublr takes off, I’d like to see those laws amended to allow Bublr docking stations to replace some of those mandated spaces.

  31. Paul says:

    Tom, looked at Bublr site $80 to $100 thousand for five years. Also none of the share bike sites I’ve been to say anything about tracking systems. If you as a rider lose the bike, you are held responsible for the cost of bike, $1,000
    PMD, , you’re finally seem to be catching on, let’s see how it’s working in other cities so we can weigh the costs to benefits. If I was living in the past I’d be supporting a fixed rail trolley.

  32. PMD says:

    What would you say the benefits of bike sharing are? If you weren’t living in the past you’d support transportation systems not solely focused on automobiles.

  33. Dave Reid says:

    @Paul All of the US modern bike-sharing systems have gps. In fact some cities have opened up this data to show bike traffic. This data is used to help prioritize station locations, system balancing, and yes in the extremely rare case a bike goes missing.

    PS Milwaukee is not the first city with bike-sharing.

  34. Paul says:

    PMD, where did you get that I’m against public transportation, a bus system like we already have, that is flexible to street closures due to construction, accidents or any other reasons works just fine.

  35. Tom D says:

    Paul, MCTS “works just fine”??

    According to data in the National Transit Database, its average speed system-wide (even averaging in Freeway Flyers) is 12.3 mph, and (according to its published timetables) its speed downtown along Wisconsin Avenue averages about 6 mph. And you call that “just fine”?

  36. Paul says:

    Tom D, and do you think the trolley will move any faster, and if an accident blocks a street the trolley doesn’t move at all

  37. PMD says:

    Is the possibility of a worst-case scenario occurring a good reason to not build something? Cars don’t move when there’s an accident blocking a street or highway.

  38. Tom D says:

    Paul, buses are slow because they spend so much time at bus stops, leaving those stops, waiting for red lights, and “going around” obstructions (double-parked delivery trucks or cars).

    Streetcars reduce all (or almost all) of the above delays (and are therefore faster).

    • Buses require everybody to board through a single doorway, single-file, stopping to pay their fare. Streetcars have multiple doors, all of which can be used to enter (fare is paid via a vending machine either before or after boarding).

    • Buses (even the modern “low-floor” models—older ones were worse) require passengers to climb one “giant” step (taller than a standard stairstep) up into the bus. Younger, healthier people, take this step easily, older people (or people with joint problems) take longer, and the boarding line only moves as fast as the slowest person.

    Streetcars, guided by their “inflexible” rails, stop precisely where needed—exactly parallel to (and even with) the curb, each and every time, with a horizontal gap of less than 2 inches and a vertical difference of under a half-inch. Buses simply cannot do this and need more time to board and discharge passengers, especially people with wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, or even wheeled luggage.

    • Buses partially compensate for their “giant” step by “kneeling”—lowering the vehicle’s front right corner a few inches to make the “giant” step a little shorter (but still higher than a standard stairstep). This “kneeling” is done while stopped, and adds perhaps 10 seconds to each stop. Streetcars don’t do this because they are always level with (and adjacent to) the curb.

    • Buses have two doors for exiting passengers, but the back door is underused because it has a higher step than the front (the kneeling process which lowers the front step does nothing to reduce the height of the back step—it may slightly raise it).

    Streetcars have at least 3 (or as many as 5—the exact design isn’t finalized) doors for exiting passengers. The more doors people use, the less time needed at a stop.

    • When a bus pulls away from a bus stop, it must merge back into traffic. Since diesel buses have abysmal acceleration, they waste a few more seconds (and sometimes an entire traffic light cycle) waiting for a long gap in traffic.

    Streetcars will stop in the traffic lane, not the parking lane (the curb is extended out through the parking lane at streetcar stops), so they won’t wait for traffic at all. Streetcars have electric motors and accelerate much faster than buses, saving more time.

    • Buses spend more time at red lights than cars because traffic signals, when synchronized at all, are timed for cars which have faster acceleration and don’t pull over and stop between lights.

    While streetcars must also stop for lights, they will have special lights at some intersections and there are rumors of giving streetcars signal priority, so they can slightly modify the signal timings as they approach to reduce the waits.

    • Buses waste time “going around” double-parked vehicles. I realize streetcar opponents think that buses’ ability to “go around” is an asset, but it is not. Each time a bus goes around it loses time (up to an entire traffic light cycle if traffic is heavy).

    Streetcars, of course, cannot go around, and must sit and wait if some idiot parks on the tracks, but they (the idiots) won’t—precisely because they know the streetcar cannot go around them.

    • Finally, when a bus reaches the end of the line, it must turn around to face the other way. Since buses are too long for simple U-turns or Y-turns, they waste several minutes going around the block.

    Streetcars are double-ended–there are headlights, taillights, and a driver’s seat at each end. The driver just walks to the other end of the car and the vehicle is ready for the return trip.

    Each of these time-savers are small, but when you stop 6 or 8 times each mile (not counting red lights), they really add up.

  39. Paul says:

    PMD, that worse-case scenario happens daily in downtown Milwaukee

  40. Paul says:

    Tom D, you assume people won’t double park because they know the streetcar can not go around them, these are the same people that double park now and don’t care who thy block.
    When that streetcar stops at that exact spot, lets hope there’s not a snow pile or drift at that spot.
    You’re also basing this on “rumors” that they will get signal priority
    Talk to the drivers now about people not paying their fare with the one entrance, lets make ot three to five and see how many pay.

  41. Paul says:

    Tom D, I also looked up average speeds, Cincinnati streetcar 6.7 mph, Washington bus 10 mph. Couldn’t find any comparing the speeds in the same city, but they always bring up the Cincinnati streetcar so lets say we’ll average about 7mph

  42. Tom D says:

    Paul, I’m amazed that you found the average speed of Cincinnati’s streetcar, since it doesn’t yet exist. They are still laying track and waiting for their first vehicle. But even if you are right and streetcars average 7.0 mph, that’s still 17% faster than today’s 6 mph buses on Wisconsin Avenue.

    But Milwaukee’s streetcars should be faster than that. Each Milwaukee streetcar is expected to make one roundtrip (from 4th & St Paul to Ogden/Prospect and back) in 30 minutes (4 one-way trips each hour). If a one-way trip is 2.1 miles, it averages 8.4 mph (40% faster than a Wisconsin Avenue bus). If there is a one-minute layover at the end of each one-way run, it travels 8.4 miles in 56 minutes, and averages 9.0 mph (50% faster than a 6 mph bus).

    Comparing speeds of buses to streetcars in a given city is meaningless because the streetcar operates downtown where traffic lights at each intersection cause lots of delays while buses operate mostly in areas where traffic lights (and the delays they cause) are less frequent.

    Double-parkers DO care about who they block, and right now, they aren’t totally blocking anybody (since every vehicle can “go around”). They will care even more once the City starts towing them (which will happen if they block the streetcar).

    The streetcar fare collection system (called “POP” or Proof of Payment) involves inspectors who board a vehicle at random times and demand to see everybody’s fare receipt. Failure to produce a receipt results in a large fine ($100 in other cities). It is similar to the familiar parking meter model, where inspectors (meter maids) check for payment and fine non-payers.

    NYC has instituted POP on some bus routes to speed up service and has found that fare evasion has actually dropped. In the old system, somebody who boards without paying has little to fear (unless a cop happens to see him board). Under POP, that person is subject to being caught throughout his trip rather than just once at boarding.

    Streetcars actually handle better in light snow than buses or many cars. The rails prevent them from fishtailing and insure that all their power is used for forward motion. Streetcar operation is monitored by an on-board computer. Whenever the computer detects slippery rail conditions, it automatically drops a tiny amount of sand (7 grams/second) onto the rails ahead of the wheels, ensuring traction even in ice and snow.

    Snow will be plowed into the parking lane, the same as today. Since the streetcar doesn’t use the parking lane, it won’t encounter snowpiles. Snow removal at streetcar stops will require extra attention (like snow removal at bus stops today). The biggest change is that the streetcar route probably will not be salted (since salt would destroy the steel rails). It will be sanded (or just plowed more often) instead.

    Streetcars aren’t just about speed. Compared to buses, they are much quieter and ride better (smoother than a bus or most cars). They have zero tail-pipe emissions (they don’t even have tail-pipes). They can easily and cheaply be converted to electric power that doesn’t come from coal at all.

  43. Paul says:

    Tom, I went to the CincyStreetcar Blog. Right now in the winter the snow is pushed towards the curb and cars park farther out into the streets because of the piles, so either we will lose a lot of street parking or there will be an added cost for snow removal.

  44. Tommy says:

    Paul, have you ever heard of a plow? Every winter I see them plow many streets Downtown curb to curb… it’s the side streets that I see snow piling up. Are you against plows doing their job? What’s next, yelling at clouds that are ugly shapes?

  45. Paul says:

    Tommy, I get downtown alot, streets are not plowed curb to curb after every storm, last year there was three to four feet of snow in the parking lanes. I have never seen an ugly shaped cloud.

  46. tom D says:

    Paul, parking should be banned whenever snowbanks are so wide cars can no longer fit in the parking lane. This is common sense, even without streetcars.

    In Portland, they painted a line between the parking lane and the traffic/streetcar lane. If your parked car crosses the painted line, it will be towed; if its inside the line, its fine. Prohibiting cars from sticking out into the traffic lane ensures the streetcar has no obstructions AND ensures a smooth flow of traffic (something often lacking today after snowstorms when cars park so far into the street that they block a traffic lane).

    The primary purpose of roads is to move people and goods, not to store cars for hours at a time. There is plenty of off-street parking downtown.

  47. Paul says:

    tom D, I thought one of the reasons Barrett uses to promote the streetcar was that there isn’t enough downtown parking

  48. Dave Reid says:

    @Paul Can you provide a link?

  49. Tom D says:

    Paul, there’s plenty of parking downtown, but shortages in specific areas.

    Buildings built before World War II (before automobiles became popular) often have no (or very few) off-street parking spaces. Businesses wanting to move into one of these buildings often have trouble getting bank loans because many banks won’t lend for commercial buildings without parking (even if there are parking lots or garages a few blocks away).

    As a result, these buildings (with more beauty and character than most) go un-used (or under-used). Or even worse, they are razed and replaced by ugly surface parking lots to provide parking for remaining buildings.

    Banks are more willing to overlook on-site parking shortages IF there are nearby spaces (AND transportation to and from those spaces). A permanent, “inflexible” streetcar satisfies banks in this regard; buses don’t (because buses are flexible and there is little assurance of on-going future service).

    The streetcar will help downtown parking two other ways:
    • by handling temporary supply and demand imbalances during brief, but highly-attended events like Bastille Days or NCAA basketball regionals
    • by giving drivers an alternative to driving between downtown parking spaces (like if you work at NML and have lunch at the Hilton on West Wisconsin), what the City calls a “Park Once” strategy.

    The streetcar retains all on-street parking EXCEPT at streetcar stops (similar to today’s bus stops), at turns (where the streetcar would sideswipe a parked car), and perhaps briefly in winter (when downtown parking is least needed).

  50. Eric S says:

    The map of proposed new Bublr locations is available on the Bublr website. I’m still looking it over and digesting it, but a couple things jumped out at me. One, there will probably be a need for more stations to sort of fill in the area south of the UWM campus. Two, I’m a little surprised no stations are proposed on or immediately adjacent to the Marquette campus. (Perhaps in that case Bublr is assuming MU will pick up the cost of adding stations to their campus.)

  51. Paul says:

    Tom D, first you state that there is plenty of downtown parking then you admit there are parking shortages.
    Handling supply and demand is much better accomplished by a flexible system that could pick up people from any location and get them where they need to go.
    The last streetcar plan I’ve seen takes it right through the middle of Bastille Days, wiping out the main street of stands

  52. Dave Reid says:

    Of course Bastille Days could simply shift its alignment. Put most on Wells and more on Jefferson (more along the lines of what it used be). Problem solved.

  53. Tom D says:

    I think Bastille Days could even still use part of Kilbourn (the parking lane, south of the tracks if the stands face the south sidewalk).

    They might even turn Kilbourn into a pedestrian mall with 8-12 streetcars/hour slowly running through the crowd. Such things are done in Europe. See this real-time web-cam from Amsterdam for an example:

    Note that Amsterdam is 7 hours ahead of Milwaukee and that the image is much clearer (with more people present) during Amsterdam’s daytime (between about 10:45 pm and 2:45 pm Central time this time of year).

  54. Dave Reid says:

    @Tom D True. Bastille Days could possible still use part of Kilbourn. My point is that the “streetcar is going to kill Bastille Days” argument that some may attempt to make is silly. As you point out, and I was trying to, the solutions are easy.

  55. PMD says:

    If someone is claiming that the streetcar is a bad idea and shouldn’t go forward because it will kill Bastille Days, they are grasping at straws and have lost the argument.

  56. Paul says:

    PMD, nobody on this thread or any other that I’ve seen has stated that the reason to kill the streetcar was to save Bastille Days

  57. PMD says:

    What’s next Paul? The streetcar is going to kill Brady Street Festival? I can’t wait to hear what insipid anti-streetcar nonsense you spew next.

  58. Paul says:

    PMD, where are you pulling these ideas from, once again I haven’t seen any threads where people want to stop the streetcar because it might kill festivals You are now grasping at straws by making up false statements

  59. Casey says:

    Tom D- Thank you so much for that link to the web cam. Very interesting to see how the streetcar and other traffic interacts with people. Plus…the sounds of the street especially being cooped up in the office all day.

  60. Dave Reid says:

    “The last streetcar plan I’ve seen takes it right through the middle of Bastille Days, wiping out the main street of stands”

  61. Paul says:

    Dave Reid, yes I’ve already stated that in a response to Tom D, after he said the streetcar could be used to get to highly attended events such as Bastille Days or the NCAA regional finals.

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