Ald. Michael Murphy
Press Release

Council approves amended bus rapid transit resolution

Legislation protects city taxpayers and city priorities

By - Jul 31st, 2017 04:51 pm
Bus Rapid Transit Potential Alignments

Bus Rapid Transit Potential Alignments

The Common Council today unanimously approved an amended resolution that puts conditions on any possible City of Milwaukee involvement in the future development of a bus rapid transit (BRT) line along the East-West Corridor through portions of the city.

Alderman Michael J. Murphy, the lead sponsor on the legislation (Council file # 170541), said the resolution provides clear protections for city taxpayers and city interests if the BRT is moved forward by Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee County Transit System. He said the plan to use dedicated traffic lanes for east-west BRT buses on W. Blue Mound Rd. was “simply not practical.”

“After careful review of the BRT analysis and listening to area citizens and businesses at various public hearings, it doesn’t seem practical to develop and use single, dedicated lanes west of Hawley Road (on Blue Mound). The only way this project could move forward is if the BRT buses operate in mixed traffic,” Alderman Murphy said. Legislation co-sponsor Alderman Robert J. Bauman said the amended resolution approved today also includes other key requirements and stipulations.

“The amended resolution stipulates that the city ‘shall not incur any direct or indirect expenses, including the forfeiture of any revenue, related to the development or operation of the BRT system’ and that it ‘shall not contribute financially to the development or management of the BRT system, nor provide assistance or management of the BRT system, unless reimbursed,’” Alderman Bauman said. Alderman Murphy said he and Alderman Bauman will continue to keep a close eye on the County-led BRT project and will make sure citizens are kept informed about developments.

News release from Aldermen Michael J. Murphy and Robert J. Bauman

More about the East-West BRT Line

6 thoughts on “County Plans for Bus Rapid Transit”

  1. Deano says:

    While on a vacation trip to Oregon last summer we stayed in Eugene across the street from the University of Oregon campus. We boarded buses at a Lane County Transit District EmX (Emerald Express) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) station, located at the University, to travel around the Eugene/Springfield area.

    The EmX is a convenient transportation service as it provides connections to downtown Eugene, Springfield and a local shopping center (where a Visitor’s Center is located). The articulated, hybrid powered buses, painted in a green Oregon Ducks color scheme, provides rapid efficient service between stops, located at major destinations such as the University and the downtown Eugene transit center.

    The station adjacent to where we stayed was located in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, had a canopy cover to protect passengers from frequent rainy weather and a warm sun during the summer season. It had decorative art panels. overhead electronic signs that tell passengers of the arrival times of the next buses, waiting benches, lighting and ticket dispensing machines. The buses appeared to hold tightly to printed schedules which are also available online. The thing we liked about the electronic next bus arrival signs is that it made the service feel dependable.

    The Eugene/Springfield area has a population of about 200,000 which is slightly smaller than Madison (where planning is expected to take place for a BRT system) and quite a bit smaller still than Milwaukee. Development of a BRT extension to West Eugene in the community is already underway, after the successful implementation of the initial EmX service.

    It seems that if Milwaukee County builds a BRT line it should link to the Amtrak Station and the new Milwaukee Streetcar. Also, some type of heat, perhaps solar powered radiant heaters, should be provided for passenger comfort due to the severe Wisconsin winters. It would be great if center city residents could be better connected to suburban job sites. Also, with the amount of new development taking place downtown (Bucks arena, Northwestern Mutual office and residential towers, Couture and possibly a new corporate headquarters in the Gateway District) it will attract choice suburban transit riders.

    Use of either environmentally friendly hybrid powered or electric trackless trolley buses should be mandatory in an effort to improve local air quality and mitigate global climate change. (see “The Trackless Trolley Years, A Milwaukee Transport Era”, by Russell Schultz. The line should be planned for a possible future conversion to light rail service.

  2. Deano says:

    “TM: The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company” by Joseph M. Canfield and “Badger Traction” (Central Electric Railfans’ Association) (Bulletin 111) also provide some historical perspective on urban and interurban transit in the Milwaukee area and Wisconsin.

  3. MidnightSon says:

    I am a supporter of both the Milwaukee Streetcar and Bus Rapid Transit, and am especially excited by how quickly Milwaukee can implement BRT between downtown and Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. Both kinds of transit have their merits, the BRT being less expensive to implement and also better positioned to serve as commuter transportation.

    While I totally get using Wisconsin Avenue as the arterial for BRT to the med. center, I think it’s better suited for a streetcar extension and would best serve the interests in developing West Town. I wonder if some combination of Michigan Avenue / Bluemound could be used for the BRT, at least until getting past 27th or 35th Street. And, yes, BRT should be connected, somehow, to the Intermodal Station. Perhaps via something like Loop Link that we’ve now got down here in Chicago.

    What all this discussion of West Town development and BRT brings up for me is how unfortunate it is that the I-794 reconstruction only calls for bringing 2-3 blocks down to grade as part of the Lakefront Gateway Project. It sure would be tremendous to bring it down to grade as a boulevard as early as 6th or 7th Street and free up all that land for development. Developers of Gateway are touting a two-block stretch of “Clybourn Boulevard” as a potential, high-end shopping area. While I believe that’s all development speak, opening up that stretch of downtown would allow for BRT and other forms of transit to connect to the lakefront and continue on up Lincoln Memorial Drive.

    I think BRT belongs there and probably eventually on Kilbourn and 6th Street. Streetcar extensions belong on Wisconsin, Water, Third and elsewhere as planned.

    Sunday evening dreaming…!

  4. Casey says:

    This is great and all but I sure would love to see transit infrastructure upgraded along FDL Ave. Transit should really take advantage of the spoke and (somewhat) wheel system we have. BRT down FDL connecting Downtown to Menomonee Falls; another line down Forest Home connecting Downtown to Southridge/Greendale and a line running down 76th which would connect all three BRTs, NW Side industries, Tosa, Stallis, State Fair.
    Just a pipe dream I know….but doesn’t hurt to dream.

  5. James says:

    Nice work, Danny. Agree with all of Casey’s pipe dream proposals – especially a line on Fondy to the Falls. Price seems right, too.

  6. chloe says:

    Why not run limited stop “express” buses during rush hour?

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