Complete Streets Coalition Forms in Milwaukee

The Bike Fed is excited to announce the formation of the Milwaukee Complete Streets Coalition. Connecting local neighborhood groups, healthcare providers, businesses and political entities, like the Mayor’s office, Common Council, and Public Works Department, this new coalition will work together to create a formal Complete Streets Policy – and implement it in the city of Milwaukee.

What exactly does Complete Streets mean? The video below explains the concept in two minutes, but simply put, a street isn’t complete unless it accommodates all modes of transportation: walking, bicycling, transit and of course, motor vehicles. Complete street designs begin with the goal of moving people and goods to serve the nearby land use, be that business or residential.

The City already has an ordinance requiring sidewalks along road projects and has a history of adding bicycle and transit accommodations as well. We have the strong past and current leadership of the Mayor, the Common Council and Public Works Department to thank for that.

But a written Complete Streets policy would strengthen those practices and is an opportunity to raise the standards for accommodations for bicycling and walking. The City is also considering ways to leverage the Complete Streets policy to include passive storm water management goals from it’s recently passed ReFreshMKE Sustainability Plan.

In November of last year, Milwaukee’s Common Council adopted the city’s first sustainability plan providing a citywide roadmap for improving the environmental, economic and social conditions of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. Two goals stated inside the plan, under the heading ‘Mobility Goals’ are: integrate current and new transit services with other elements of Milwaukee’s transportation system; and improve pedestrian and biking infrastructure as critical, healthy components of Milwaukee’s transportation system.

One of the ‘Highest-Priority Strategies’ states: “Design city streets for multi-modal travel to accommodate the travel needs of all users of the public way.” The translation is that any reconstruction or new design of our city streets would be designed for all users. This “all users” policy approach for our streets is called Complete Streets

We have already had one public information meeting and have more to help gain support in all the City’s 15 aldermanic districts. Our next meeting is Tuesday, March 25, 1-2:30pm at the Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd. and Wednesday, March 26 6-7:30pm at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Clinic, 1032 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive.

Anyone interested is welcome to join us at either meeting.

About Keith Holt, Southeast Regional Director

Based in Milwaukee, Keith has spent most of the last decade advocating, encouraging, healthier lifestyles in the communities of color mainly using bicycling as the tool for change. Keith worked for more than five years for the Active Transportation Alliance developing and maintaining relationships with the African-American communities throughout Chicagoland. Keith moved to Milwaukee in 2007 where he continues with the formation of Milwaukee Bicycle Works. He also serves as chairman of Milwaukee Bike Ped Task Force.

3 thoughts on “Complete Streets Coalition Forms in Milwaukee

  1. I’m really excited about this. I’ve emailed my alderwoman numerous times without any response. I would love to see this applied to King Drive! Thank you for the work you do.

  2. I’m excited about the idea also. Hopefully, enough support gathers around it, so that it becomes not just general ideas but specific actions. I live in the Walker Square neighborhood, and I plan on going to the Wednesday meeting. (I’ll try to recruit a couple friends to come, too!)

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