July 20, 2023
Milwaukee County Department of Transportation Receives $400,000 Award
from Federal Transit Administration
MILWAUKEE, WI – Today, the Federal Transit Administration announced Milwaukee County as a grant recipient of its Areas of Persistent Poverty Program. Milwaukee County will receive a $400,000 award to fund a feasibility study of multimodal enhancements and traffic calming on 35th Street Between Vliet Street and National Avenue.
“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. 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,” said County Executive David Crowley. “Thank you to all the changemakers at the Department of Transportation for dedication to securing this award. I am equally grateful for champions Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Gwen Moore for continuing to advocate for Milwaukee County at the federal level.”
The Milwaukee County Department of Transportation will use the grant award to lead a multi-organizational effort to study the feasibility of a shared Bus-Bike Only Lane on 35th Street Between W. Vliet Street and W. National Avenue. 35th Street is a vital arterial street connecting the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County's North and South Sides. If implemented, the enhancements will 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 vulnerable and 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. 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,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin.
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, the Bus Only Lanes implemented along Wisconsin Avenue have seen a great deal of compliance from drivers, thus calming 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. 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,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore.
According to crash data from Wisconsin County TSC Crash Mapping from 2018-2022, the segment of 35th Street to be studied has experienced six fatalities, 20 serious injuries and 114 minor injuries resulting from crashes. Additionally, transit experts estimate 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. 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.” said Department of Transportation Director Donna Brown-Martin. “Never before have the residents of these neighborhoods seen significant investments in multimodal transportation. I look forward to working with our team to study ways we can enable residents and users of the 35th Street corridor to access the many connections safely and easily throughout this essential Milwaukee artery.”
Enhancing safety on roadways is a top priority for the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation. 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. Learn more about the Complete Communities Transportation Planning Project here.