Milwaukee’s Second Bike Corral

Dave Reid of Urban Milwaukee fame was one of the first to take advantage of the new bicycle parking on Warren.

With typical Milwaukee modesty, the owner of Nomad World Pub installed the City’s second on-street bike corral yesterday.  There was no ribbon cutting, speech or fanfare, just an awesome new Kojak approved spot to park your bike when you go out for a beer on Brady Street. Readers of OTB may remember that Alterra Coffee installed the first Milwaukee on-street bike corral about a month ago.

My hat is off to these folks, who decided Milwaukee does indeed matter and have been working quietly behind the scenes to effect positive, place making change in the Cream City. Bike corrals have been one of the things they have been pushing.

The new bike corral did not actually remove an on-street parking place for cars.  It was installed in a no parking area that was a bit of wasted concrete on the street.  Anyone who frequents the Nomad knows that there is very limited sidewalk area for bike parking.  It was not uncommon to see bikes locked in piles to the stop sign post outside the bar on weekend nights.  The new 9 rack bike corral provides sophisticated and discreet parking spaces for 18 bicycles and should alleviate the parking problems.

Apparently the owner of the Nomad is worried he might not be able to find a spot on busy nights, so like Norm, he has staked a place for himself. Who can blame the guy, after all, he paid to park there. The rest of the two-wheel masses get a Kojak for free!

One of the first questions I get about bike corrals is “won’t cars run into them?” First, drunks hit cars parked on the street all the time, but people still park there.  Bikes should not be treated any differently. That said, in my experience at DPW, I am not sure if anything can keep drivers on the road.  They manage to leave the road and knock down street lights, signal standards and utility poles, so it might take a concrete wall to ensure a completely car-free area.  If people are willing to risk parking their cars on the street, I think people will risk parking their bikes there. Relative to this bike corral, the installation is not entirely complete.  There are still plans for some additional pavement markings and retroreflective flexible delineators to mark off the spot.

The second question I get about bike corrals is “what happens in the winter?  Won’t the plows hit it?”  The plan right now is to remove this bike corral and the one in front of Alterra on Prospect during the winter.  Demand for bike parking goes way down once the snow starts falling, so the spaces are not needed as much and those who ride all year (yours truly) can find adequate bike parking on the sidewalk.  If winter demand continues to grow as more and more people ride all year, the City could look at how bike corrals could be integrated into plowing operations, or maybe the curb and sidewalk in those areas could be bumped out to create a permanent spot for the racks.

For now, this is just one more element of the City’s new bike plan that is being implemented. Three cheers to the business owners of the Nomad and Alterra for investing in Milwaukee’s future.  And those of us who bike owe the folks in Milwaukee Matters, especially Chris Socha of The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc., a beer for helping to build a more bicycle friendly Milwaukee.


About daveschlabowske

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

11 Responses to Milwaukee’s Second Bike Corral

  1. Jim Franzen says:

    Dave, if you would like I have some flexible delineators I would donate to Nomad if they would like. These would be used from old construction site, but still have lots of life in them. I work for Highway Technologies and I am sure it wouldn’t be a problem.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Hey Jim, I thought of you last night when they said theirs had not arrived yet. I think they ordered two of them already, but I can mention that to Mike Eitel, the owner of the Nomad. Thanks!

      • Jim Franzen says:

        I probably would have enough yellow line scraps left over where I could put down some tape to make a lane around this too. The tape would last all summer long. (probably longer)

      • daveschlabowske says:

        Thanks again Jim, I passed your offer and email on to the architect that designed the projects.

  2. Juli Kaufmann says:

    Dave, your presence last night was very helpful to shaping our discussion. We now have a great plan for another cool project in the month’s ahead- stay tuned! The lesson here is that individuals can take ideas and just make them happen. Ours is a motley coalition of people from different walks of life, but collectively we believe that Milwaukee matters. We just decide to be the change we want to see. So, what’s next? How about sharrows on Brady Street? Who is going to take that on?

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Hmmm, midnight project with a can of paint, a stencil and a roller? JUST KIDDING! I will talk to the Brady Street folks and the City DPW about it.

  3. Dave Reid says:

    hmmm Guerilla Urbanism:) hehe no

  4. Chris says:

    Ha. I really would like to see the sharrows happen. If nothing else, it would be a nice statement for a street too narrow for lanes that sees very heavy bike ridership. It would also compliment the crosswalk signs put up during the Spring through the Fall — indicating that it’s a slow, pedestrian street.

    I’ll be happy to start accepting those beers this weekend during the Women’s World Cup final! 🙂

  5. Barry Stuart says:

    I’m all for the sharrows on Brady since this is my neighborhood. I just noticed the new bike corral this week near the Nomad.

  6. andy says:

    The bike parking is on Warren, not Arlington 😉

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