Milwaukee County Department of Transportation receives $400,000 grant from FTA
Washington, July 20, 2023
By: Kevin Schwaller - Spectrum News
The grant came from the Federal Transit Administration.
The Milwaukee County Department of Transportation said it will use the grant to lead a multi-organizational effort to study the feasibility of the shared bus-bike lane, as 35th Street is an arterial street that connects the city and Milwaukee County’s north and south sides.
“Enhancing the safety of our roads for all who use them is one of the most important issues facing the health and well-being of our community,” County Executive David Crowley said. “Receiving funding for this study is critical in assessing how we can improve road safety on an important traffic artery and improve connections throughout Milwaukee County. Thank you to all the changemakers at the Department of Transportation for dedication to securing this award. I am equally grateful for champions Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Gwen Moore for continuing to advocate for Milwaukee County at the federal level.”
If implemented, county officials said the enhancements could lead to improved transit reliability and safer, more accessible, multimodal travel opportunities for all users of the vital Milwaukee corridor, including some of the most underrepresented residents in Milwaukee County.
“For our communities to grow, businesses to thrive and families to lead healthy lives, we need to ensure Wisconsinites can get from point A to point B safely, whether they are driving, walking, biking or riding the bus,” Baldwin said. “I’m proud to support this critical investment and take the first step toward making a vital artery for Milwaukee County safer and more accessible for all travelers.”
The grant stands to build on the early success of the first bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Wisconsin, Connect1, which launched last month. The BRT operates along Wisconsin Avenue and connects with the 35th Street corridor. So far, per Milwaukee County, the Bus Only Lanes implemented along Wisconsin Avenue have seen compliance from drivers, which has calmed traffic.
“One of the ways we can build equity is by creating safer roads for pedestrians and all commuters in Milwaukee and expanding access to different modes of transit,” Moore said. “I work to lift up these issues in Congress for my constituents, and I am so pleased to see these federal funds coming home to support safer communities and help increase access to different modes of transportation, including buses and bikes, in such a vital corridor in Milwaukee.”
According to crash data from Wisconsin County TSC Crash Mapping, from 2018 to 2022, the segment of 35th Street to be studied experienced six fatalities, 20 serious injuries and 114 minor injuries resulting from crashes. Additionally, transit experts estimated there have been hundreds more crashes along the corridor not causing injuries over this period.
“Enhanced multimodal access and traffic calming are critical needs on 35th Street,” Department of Transportation Director Donna Brown-Martin said. “Of the four total lanes of mixed traffic on most of this segment of roadway, there are no dedicated bus lanes, no protected bike lanes and only three-quarters of one mile of painted bike lanes. With motorist speeds often exceeding the posted speed limit along the corridor, the environment for multimodal users on this street is dangerous for all travelers. Never before have the residents of these neighborhoods seen significant investments in multimodal transportation.”
Enhancing safety on roadways is a top priority for the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation, officials said. Earlier this year, the department launched the Complete Communities Transportation Planning Project, a new safety initiative to increase multimodal safety and address reckless driving across all 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County.
To learn more about the project, click here.