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Milwaukee - June 2010

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Milwaukee — Streetcar Route Selected

Rail Transit Online, June 2010

Milwaukee has filed a grant application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for extensions to an approximately two-mile (3.2 km) Downtown Streetcar Circulator that shows the final route for the initial line even though the Locally-Preferred Alternative hasn't officially been selected. "In order to meet federal guidelines, the (grant) application was submitted on February 15 of this year before the LPA was final," Department of Public Works spokeswoman Cecilia Gilbert told Milwaukee NewsBuzz.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Connector study committee voted 3-1 on May 6 to request FTA permission for the start of preliminary engineering. The base route would start at the Downtown Intermodal Station and travel east on St. Paul Avenue, north on Broadway Street, east on Wells Street, then north and south on a one-way couplet of Jackson and Van Buren streets between Wells and Ogden Avenue.

The two extensions would run north from the Intermodal Station on Fourth Street to Juneau Avenue and west to the Brewery Project, site of the former Pabst Brewery, and from the eastern end of Ogden Avenue in a loop on Farwell and Prospect avenues.

Funding would come from a portion of $91.5 million in federal Interstate Construction Estimate funding allocated to the city years ago. In 2009, Congress divided the grant, with 60 percent going to the City of Milwaukee for a downtown streetcar system and 40 percent to Milwaukee County for bus equipment and improvements. The city's $54.9-million share, plus the $9.7-million local contribution, would cover the initial segment.

Estimates for the entire system call for daily ridership of 3,830 riders in 2015 and 4,559 by 2030 if the fare was $1. If the streetcars were free, the numbers would be 6,412 and 7,729 respectively, leaving the city on the hook for $4.6 million in annual operating costs. The plan anticipates five modern streetcars operating on a 10-min. headway during peak hours and every 15 min. at other times.

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