Coffee break sprint: Bike taxes, bike corrals and complete streets

In my recent post about diverting the sales tax on bicycles to pay for bike projects, I mentioned the hypocrisy of how the many of the pro-car, anti-tax advocates are quick to suggest new taxes for people who ride bicycles as if we don’t already pay our way.  The Maine legislature recently considered just such a new tax, but it was defeated.  You can read more about it here.

In other related news, Chicago is considering its first bike corral in Wicker Park.  Steven Vance reports on the approval process here.  For all you Bear/Packers rivals, this means Milwaukee actually did an innovative bicycle project before Chicago.

Also timely is the new video about the complete streets projects in New York City done by the talented folks at Streetfilms. It is particularly relevant to Milwaukee because as we have two complete streets projects in which we added bike lanes, wider sidewalks and street trees to S. 2nd St and converted S. 1st St. from 4 lanes to a three-lane pattern with bike lanes. These ain’t no Times Square pedestrian mall, but the are truly complete street projects in all senses of the term.

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About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
This entry was posted in Advocacy, Bicycle Funding, Bike facilities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Coffee break sprint: Bike taxes, bike corrals and complete streets

  1. Max says:

    The Street Films got me wondering – when will the City complete S 2nd St?

    More specifically, what about S 2nd St is actually more complete aside from some bike lanes?

    The patches of grass are quite comical, the bridge over the river is still not plated for bikes and it doesn’t appear the design did anything for the pedestrian (specifically not helping them at all to cross the street. i.e. bump-outs). The only thing that slows down the traffic on S 2nd is the timing of the lights, not the design.

    I had high hopes for this project, but it appears that we just go more of the same.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Max, I have to disagree with you here. That road used to be 60 ft wide with 5ft sidewalks and no bicycle accomodations. We narrowed it to 50ft and gave the extra road width to pedestrians in the form of an extra 5 feet of sidewalk on each side of the street and added the grass and street trees were there was asphalt before. We considered bump outs, but many residents still don’t like them, so they don’t have universal appeal. Furthermore, the numerous bus stops combined with the proximity of the fire station and the many emergency calls that require turning movements off S. 2nd only left a few intersections where bump outs would fit. As far as the anti-slip plates on the bridge go, that is a very large project. It involves not only adding the plates, but rebalancing the counter weights on the bascule bridge. We are working to add those plates to all the lift bridges in Milwaukee, but it takes time. In the meantime, we did make it legal to ride on the sidewalks over any lift bridge that does not have the plates.

      • Max says:

        I decided to take a walk about during lunch before responding – so I walked S 2nd from St Paul down to around Pierce and back.

        Observations:
        • Sidewalk / pedestrian space is indeed wider. Although it is interesting to note that this space is now as wide as the pedestrian space below the RR bridge which was NOT touched by this project. So it appears this project returned the pedestrian space to what it was previously – HOWEVER still not wide enough to see outdoor cafes sprouting up….oh well.
        • Complete lack of bike parking anywhere – not only are there none of our beloved, rusted out, standard issue City bike racks, there isn’t the usual road signage that can also be used to lock a bike. I’ve been meaning to check out INDUSTRI with some friends, but I may pass due to lack of a decent place to lock up.
        • Lighting is very odd and leads me to believe this is not complete yet. There are 2 to 3 light poles in the same area. So I assume that 2 will be eventually removed BUT since the concrete was poured around these intrusions, I’m expecting to see the typical blacktop patch job when/if these are removed.
        • As stated previously, no curb bump-outs. I’m not sure who these “residents” are that didn’t want them, but I would guess they don’t walk around places like Brady Street much
        • Grass – so out of place. So much of it is already burned out and ruts from trucks or cars. I wonder how the residents will take care of this? I think that sidewalk planters would have been a better consideration
        • Gravel is everywhere on the sidewalks, it would be nice to see this cleaned up
        • Lack of anti-slip plates on the bridge (and the bridge down by Horny Goat as well). As a mere resident and not attuned to the inner workings of City / State / Federal projects, it makes zero sense to me why this wasn’t included in the “Complete Streets” project. I can understand that it takes more than just screwing them on to make it work, but the project included ripping up the entire street! How much bigger would a project have to be to get this included?

        The other thing I observed, which to me speak louder than above was that while I walked this street during the lunch hour (and on a decent day which we haven’t had too many of those yet), I passed 1 other person out for a walk and saw 1 cyclist in the bike lanes of this stretch of S 2nd – lots of traffic though.

        So I guess I’ll agree to disagree with you at this point. When I first learned of this project and saw the renderings on Urban Milwaukee, I was really excited about this. So far I don’t think this Complete Street is living up to the hype. It appears to me no more than a repaving project…..although I hope I’ll eventually eat these words.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    I’d add I believe there is still lighting and street trees to go in as well.

  3. Barry Stuart says:

    Speaking of rusted out bike racks, who’s re3sponsible for their maintenance? DPW or the landowner? There’s one by the Post Office on St. Paul thet needs rust removal and repainting.

  4. David Coles says:

    Elizabeth Press, one of the StreetFilms team members, is my next-door neighbor in NYC. I don’t believe she bikes, but she makes good videos! The 1st & 2nd Ave. separated lanes have greatly improved my life. The biggest problem in those is “salmon” — people going the wrong way.

  5. Will says:

    great film, after seeing the curb side bike lanes in use I really like them. Anybody want to head to NYC for the 5 borough bike tour next may??

    As for 2nd st it might not be the prettiest yet but I think it works and the lighting from Florida south seems fine to me…I should know I take it home from work at 4am most days.

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