Complete Communities Transportation Planning Project
The Milwaukee County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has launched a new safety initiative. The Complete Communities Transportation Planning Project is an effort to increase multimodal safety and address reckless driving across all 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County. With support from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and as part of the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program, Milwaukee County is working collaboratively with municipal leaders across the County to develop a comprehensive, data-driven, countywide plan. Sixteen of Milwaukee County’s 19 municipalities have signed letters of support for this important effort.
Reckless driving has reached crisis levels in Milwaukee County. Our pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers demand and deserve an effective plan to increase multimodal safety. Milwaukee County's vision to be the healthiest county in Wisconsin by achieving racial equity cannot be achieved without taking a new approach to transportation safety, addressing the root causes of reckless driving, and protecting our most vulnerable roadway users. The planning process and resulting plan will use an equity lens to center communities of color who often experience the greatest harm.
The project will include several phases and deliverables:
- Safe Streets Roadshow (a series of 20 public engagement meetings across Milwaukee County)
- Public Advisory Committee (community leaders, advocates and non-profits)
- Safety Working Group (industry leaders and professionals)
- Transportation Safety Assessment Report for Milwaukee County
- Development of a countywide Safe Streets Action Plan
- Development of participating Milwaukee County municipalities individual Safe Streets Action Plans
Phase one of the project is expected to conclude in late 2024.
What Is a Complete Community?
As an opportunity to engage with and hear from residents, an initial step in the planning process is to host a Safe Streets Roadshow beginning in June for each of Milwaukee County’s 19 municipalities. The Safe Streets Roadshow will gather feedback from residents to understand how Milwaukee County municipalities and all roadway users are impacted by reckless driving. The roadshow will also provide an overview of the project, goals and timeline.
Public Advisory Committee
In addition to the Safe Streets Roadshow, this effort will be informed and guided by municipal partners throughout Milwaukee County through steering committees including a Public Advisory Committee comprised of community leaders, advocates and non-profits, and an interdisciplinary Safety Working Group comprised of industry leaders and professionals. Both groups will convene at key moments throughout the process to inform outcomes of the study. The Public Advisory Committee has been formed and will meet quarterly for the next year. More information on its progress will be posted as it becomes available. Information on the Safety Working Group will be available later this year.
The City of Milwaukee Mayor’s staff, Milwaukee County Executive staff and Milwaukee County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Director’s Office staff meet monthly to update each other on reckless driving prevention efforts and projects. Director’s Office staff also now meets with the City of Milwaukee Vision Zero Policy Director weekly. MCDOT Director’s Office staff has also recently met with representatives from Glendale, Greendale, City of Milwaukee, Shorewood, South Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and West Allis along with staff from Bublr Bikes and Bike Federation of Wisconsin to discuss a variety of traffic calming and innovative mobility improvement solutions.
Milwaukee County Department of Transportation Director’s Office staff have joined Coalition for Safe Driving MKE and the Sherman Park Reckless Driving Task Force on a consistent basis to discuss reckless driving prevention efforts and to build bridges between residents, neighborhoods and local government.
Milwaukee County Department of Transportation Director’s Office has committed a portion of its TAP grant funding to the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Institute for Healthy & Equity’s Milwaukee-Area Safe Streets Taskforce (MASST) data analysis and dashboard generation. The dashboard will be announced and unveiled to the public later in 2023. Additionally, MCDOT Director’s Office staff meets with MASST members on a monthly basis.
Milwaukee County’s East-West Bus Rapid Transit project is wrapping up construction of its BRT station infrastructure and starting service of its first-ever BRT route, CONNECT 1, on June 4, 2023. These highly visible bus stop stations along Wisconsin Ave. and Bluemound Rd. will help slow traffic and prevent passing in the parking/curb lane. Also, Bus Only Lanes on Wisconsin Avenue between Hawley Rd. and N. 8th St. and Plankinton Ave. and Cass St. will further calm traffic and make transit a more feasible and equitable mobility option for everyone. Additionally, Milwaukee County’s North-South Transit Enhancement project is entering into project development, including engineering and design led by a consulting firm. Like the East-West BRT, these highly visible bus stop stations along 27th Street will help slow traffic and prevent passing in the parking/curb lane.
Milwaukee County Department of Transportation Director’s Office has started a collective of internal and external regional stakeholders to study and rapidly implement temporary/tactical Protected Bike Lanes and Bus Only lanes, thus reducing lanes of vehicle travel and calming traffic speeds. The goal is to prove the need for permanent infrastructure in these corridors and shift the tactical infrastructure to other locations of need. Furthermore, Milwaukee County Department of Transportation Director’s Office submitted an Areas of Persistent Poverty grant application proposing a Feasibility Study to assess Multimodal Enhancements and Traffic Calming Infrastructure on 35th St. between Vliet St. and National Ave. The proposal includes two different phases of temporary demonstration equipment being used in the corridor as a Shared Bus-Bike Only Lane.
Image: MCTS Bus Rapid Transit Station at Eastbound Wisconsin Ave. & N. 35th St., Milwaukee