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ARPA Dollars for Safer Streets: Sign the Petition and Volunteer Opportunities

This Summer Mayor Barrett produced a plan to expedite a portion of American Rescue Plan Act 2021 (ARPA) funding. In that plan combatting reckless driving was set as a priority. With respect to the committee’s recent decision to place a hold on the Mayor’s proposed spending plan, the Bike Fed and Milwaukee Safe and Healthy Streets are requesting that the Finance and Personnel Committee, the President of the Council (Alderman Johnson), and the  Office of Equity and Inclusion take into consideration our specific requests for safer streets by way of the ARPA budgetary review process. 


In 2018 Milwaukee Safe and Healthy Streets alliance partnered with the City of Milwaukee’s DPW  Multimodal Division, Department of City Development, and the Department of Health, in order to put together an annual safe streets report called the Complete Streets Health and Equity Report. The report is meant to track how well the City implements our recently adopted Complete Streets Policy on the ground. Additionally, throughout the report importance is placed on qualitative and quantitative data regarding increasing safety in neighborhoods where residents of color have been historically harmed by poor planning practices and who are still being harmed by those decisions today. The report’s introduction states:


“Complete Streets influence health by creating environments where it is safe, easy, and comfortable to be active and healthy. Historically, however, communities of color have been negatively impacted by land use and transportation planning, and these past decisions continue to impact neighborhoods today.


In July 2019, Common Council passed a resolution committing the City of Milwaukee to take action towards racial equity and to transform the systems of racism that contribute to poor health. The system and process changes necessary to implement Milwaukee’s Complete Streets policy present an opportunity to work towards the goals laid out in this resolution. Resources can be directed towards communities that historically have been harmed by governmental decisions.”



Today we are advocating for an increase from the Mayor’s proposal of a full $7M/annually in ARPA funding. This request is intended  to drastically and expeditiously improve the pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation experience for Milwaukee residents by doing the following:


  • Implement critical pedestrian focused infrastructure projects in accordance with the City of Milwaukee’s adopted Pedestrian Plan, primarily addressing the Pedestrian High Injury Network (PHIN) within HUD Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas. This includes expanding to all other arterial, collector, and local streets throughout the city, implementing temporary pilot treatments, including paint, bollards, concrete planters, and other low-cost materials that will make streets more attractive and slow vehicle speeds. Temporary treatments will lead to reduced pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Funding from future infrastructure packages should then, by council direction, be allocated to make these improvements permanent, with long-lasting hardscape infrastructure.


  • Lower speed limits and narrow roadways. N 27th Street, W Fond Du Lac Avenue, W Capitol Drive and N 35th Street continually come up as problem streets for reckless driving. The factors that prior DPW studies have found to contribute to the unsafe driving conditions are multiple lanes of travel in each direction and 30+ mph speed limits that are often exceeded by 10 mph or more. To the extent possible under the City of Milwaukee’s jurisdiction, these streets should have their speed limit reduced to 25 mph, crossings narrowed, and excess travel lanes repurposed. Additional space should be used for physically separated bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and/or dedicated MCTS bus lanes. This project could be enhanced with future infrastructure grants. If the redesigned streets increase bus use and reduce reckless driving, additional funding should be sought in the future to turn them into full Bus Rapid Transit routes (dedicated lanes, with busways and iconic stations typically aligned to the center of the road, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations).


  • Update the current city-wide Master Bike Plan. Include an increased number of miles of all ages and abilities protected bicycle-lane network and implement the protected bicycle-lane network. The City of Milwaukee must engage residents to publicly set and share specific goals, strategies, and prioritize projects or project areas on a set timeline


Eighty percent of the United States population live in U.S cities and urbanized areas. Today, in Milwaukee and across the country, people who live in cities are struggling and are facing grave crises of a global pandemic, systemic racism, and hastened climate change.


Transportation connects people to opportunities and is a social determinant of health. Resetting our City’s transportation priorities is imperative. The pandemic has presented incredible financial hardship for residents. Costly means of living such as the high cost of driving must not only be alleviated, but in perpetuity with serious consideration in the trajectory of the changing climate. In 2020 we saw an incredible spike in trail usage, bicycle purchases, and a collective desire to get out and walk and bicycle, all while fatal crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists are still on the rise.  With ARPA funding coming directly to our City we have hope that our exasperated plight will be better accommodated and the stage will be set for a just and sustainable recovery.


August 10th 2021 the Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), released this statement warning advocates and local government agencies across the country that the Senate’s Infrastructure bill passed “keeps our nation on an unsafe and unsustainable path…giving a whopping $200 billion in virtually unrestricted funding to [new highways].”  In this moment advocates across the country are headed to the  House of Representatives; demanding critical changes to the bill including no unrestricted highway funding and  Expanding Local Control  “Cities are home to the majority of Americans and sites of innovation in transportation, yet they are not directly eligible for the majority of federal transportation funding, which is mostly channeled through state DOTs. Worse: States are, in many cases, empowered to push through projects within city boundaries that run counter to city goals, and over city opposition. The INVEST Act provides local governments with greater authority over the design and selection of projects within their borders and additional opportunities to directly receive federal funds.” -NACTO  


SIGN THE PETITION ARPA funding by People and for People for Safe and Healthy Streets

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Take this opportunity to tell Alders and other City Leaders that ARPA funding should improve street safety!
Wanna hear about more important bike advocacy issues?*


  1. Read UP! Read the information above carefully and take a look at the Built Environment Solutions to Milwaukee Perceived Street Safety and Population Health Outcomes Executive Summary (optional)
  2. Share the infor on the Call to Action flyer with anyone you meet (Formatted for 11×17 to print and cut several)
  3. Get people to sign the Call to Action petition
  4. Return signed petitions to the Bike Fed (187 E Becher St Suite B, MKE WI) OR scan and EMAIL to (SUBJECT LINE ARPA Petitions)