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Kenosha Overview

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Kenosha Transit System

3735 65th Street

Kenosha, WI 53142

(262) 653 4290


The Kenosha Streetcar was conceived as a circulator system to connect the older downtown and the Metra commuter rail station with a mixed-use area just east of downtown. This development, the Harborfront, is being built on a 70-acre plot which formerly was a large Chrysler auto plant. The plant had been razed, and the site is surrounded on three sides by Lake Michigan. The streetcar was planned from the beginning as an integral part of the redevelopment project. The line opened June 17, 2000.


The system is a loop of single track, 1.7 miles long which runs from the Metra station to a park on the tip of the peninsula, about 3/4 mile away. It runs in a median for about half its length, alongside the street for about 1/4 of its length, and in the street for the remaining distance. In addition to serving the railroad station and the Harborfront development, it passes municipal buildings, the library, a retail district, and a museum. A maintenance facility is located on the line, and is adjacent to a transfer center where the Kenosha Transit buses have a terminal. Five ex-Toronto streetcars were purchased and rehabilitated for the line, which is electrified. Simple passenger stops are located about every two blocks. The line is handicapped accessible.


The Kenosha Streetcar operates every 15 minutes, Monday through Saturday, from about 11:00 AM until about 7:00 PM. The fare is $0.25. Initial ridership was about 400-500 per day, considerably above expectations. Development in the Harborfront site is being completed rapidly, most of it residential, creating a natural base of potential riders for the system.


The Kenosha Streetcar is owned and operated by Kenosha Transit, which is the department of the City that provides transit service throughout the community.

Operating Costs and Funding:

During the summer of 2000 the initial indications were that the line was covering about 30% of its summer operating cost from the farebox, with the remainder borne by Kenosha Transit.

Capital Costs and Funding:

The line reportedly cost about $5,000,000 to build, including just over $1,000,000 for the maintenance facility, which was built with future system expansion in mind, and which included architectural treatment to make it a very attractive building. Federal funding was obtained for the majority of the cost of the system.

System Benefits:

The major benefits of the system are to help spur economic development of the  Harborfront site. The streetcar provides a circulation system which allows residents and visitors to the recreation facilities to access the commuter rail station, the municipal buildings, and the downtown retail area.

System Problems and Issues:

No significant problems were encountered in the construction and initial operations of the line.

In February, 2002 there was an unexpected discontinuance and then resumption of streetcar operation due to a budgetary crisis::

The Governor of Wisconsin has presented a budget that eliminates all state aid to the cities. The proposed budget also prevents cities from increasing taxes as a substitute. If passed by the Legislature, cities will have to cut most services. Even local buses are in danger. The Mayor of Kenosha shut the trolley down because of his concern about spending money in the winter when there are very few passengers. Cities will need every penny if the Governor's proposal stands. He has stated that trolleys will resume Memorial Day for the summer. He said they are available for charters, school groups, etc in the interim.

The Transit commission then discussed this decision on Monday Feb 11 and voted to reinstate service on Saturdays and Sundays, with daily service to resume between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Subsequently 7-day per week service was resumed, year round.


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