SkyscraperCity banner

1 - 20 of 447 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know that there has been nothing more than an announcement from Chris Abele that the County will be developing this BRT line, there isn't even a map that has been made public yet. However, I thought that maybe this project warranted a thread for its own news and discussion. Especially since a BRT line from downtown to Wauwatosa has been being discussed for at least a decade now, if not longer. I would also imagine that we will be hearing some more information on this project sometime relatively soon since the design study was commissioned 5 months ago in June.

Forum Transit Research Triggers County Action on BRT

County Executive Chris Abele announced a plan to develop a new BRT service that would connect the Milwaukee area's two largest employment centers – downtown Milwaukee and the Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa – and also serve many residential, business, and entertainment destinations. Also encouraging is the County Executive’s statement in his media announcement that he will involve other governments, which presumably may include the City of Milwaukee, City of Wauwatosa, and State of Wisconsin.

http://publicpolicyforum.org/blog/forum-transit-research-triggers-county-action-brt
Here is an article referencing the study that prompted Executive Abele to commission the BRT plan. There is also a link to the larger study accompanying this article:

Picking Up the Pace


This report explores common strategies that transit systems around the country have utilized to enhance the speed and efficiency of their bus services, and considers their potential for implementation in the Milwaukee area. These strategies may hold promise to improve transit connections for the regional workforce and enhance its appeal to the general population, including those who currently do not use transit. Major sources for our analysis include research conducted by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies and conversations with transit system planners from around the country.


http://publicpolicyforum.org/research/picking-pace
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I just wanted to add this information to give a little more background to my claim in the previous post that BRT has been in the planning stages for this area for at least a decade. For those of you who don't remember the COMET proposal here is some information. As I find more that is relevant I will post it:

COMET Bus Rapid Transit

The second part of the Mayor's plan is called COMET (County Of Milwaukee Express Transit). It envisions operating two bus rapid transit lines using modern rubber tired buses operating on existing streets (see map). The lines are designed to link major employment centers including downtown and Mitchell International Airport. The routes would provide enhanced bus stop amenities and faster travel times than current bus service. COMET service would connect with the Downtown Streetcar Circulator at various downtown locations thereby providing access to numerous downtown destinations and the Amtrak Depot/Intermodal Center.

http://city.milwaukee.gov/commoncouncil/District4/LocalTransitPlansAct21441.htm#.VkuM6DZdGhc
And just clarification again that this COMET proposal is a former one that is not being considered anymore. However one of the two routes mentioned did run from downtown out to the vicinity of the Regional Medical Center as well.

There was also a Scott Walker proposal for BRT when he was Milwaukee County executive which was called SMART. I don't have an article to cite right now, however below is a link to a PDF file which is a presentation for the system complete with the maps of the two proposed routes:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I hope that MarqKev does not mind that I reposted this quote here. I had asked a question on the dedicated transportation thread about if anyone had any new information about the proposed BRT line and this is what he had to say:

Behind the scenes work is underway. Expect to hear more before Christmas.
MarqKev seems to be fairly well connected when it comes to local transportation projects, he had some valuable insight into the streetcar project on that thread. Point being I think that we can expect some additional news on this project before Christmas if he says so...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,499 Posts
There's this:

Pressing Pause on Transit Improvements in the East-West Corridor
Author: Joe Peterangelo
Oct 22, 2015 - 11:00am


It appears likely that in the near future, County leaders will pursue federal funding to help develop the proposed BRT service. If they do, the $1.5 million already designated for the TSP project could be included as part of the local match required for federal grant funding, thus requiring fewer additional local resources. According to County and transit system officials, “if the project is initiated before the BRT project is defined to the [Federal Transit Administration], it is probable that the TSP project funds could not be included as a match for the BRT project. This would ultimately mean that the County would have lost a possible advantage of using funds on the TSP project that could have been credited to a much larger project seeking the same objective.”

http://publicpolicyforum.org/blog/pressing-pause-transit-improvements-east-west-corridor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I am sure we have probably talked about this over the last several years on the main thread, but how does everyone feel about the possibility of BRT from downtown to Wauwatosa?

Excited that there is potentially going to be improved transit links? Happy or unhappy with the choice of transit for this connection? I guess I created this thread not just to post news stories about this potential link, which it sounds like we should be getting some more soon, but also to see how people feel about this potential project...
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,705 Posts
Personally, I like the idea. I think any improved connection from downtown to it's suburbs will better connect the metro and sort of break down another barrier between Milwaukee and it's suburbs. Having a BRT system in place will sort of help ease people into thinking about mass transit as a good thing similar to what I hope the streetcar does.

Connecting to Tosa is a good start as it will connect two areas of high employment. I know it goes both ways but I think connecting the two areas with a higher speed transit option will help encourage more people to live downtown knowing their job is a quick BRT ride away. This service or a grown streetcar network could also play a positive role in the efforts to revitalize the Avenues West neighborhood.

I guess the biggest thing to me is trying to break down the barriers that exist to true mass transit. Hopefully people start to view it as an asset instead of a liability. To me this is a good next step in accomplishing that mission.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,046 Posts
It would be great to see a true BRT system developed in the Milwaukee area. The addition of the recent 'express' routes are nice but they fall far short of BRT.

I would like to see the first line running from Waukesha Memorial, through Downtown Waukesha, heading through the Bluemound Road corridor to hit the research park & Froedtert in Tosa, then continue to Downtown Milwaukee and directly to UW-Milwaukee.

This hits many of the top generators of trips (Universities, Offices, Retail, Hospitals, Urban & Urbanish locations).

The trick is getting East, West & everyone along the route to work together... same story as the last 70 years in the Milwaukee metro. I hope our track record isn't an indication of future success.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I only briefly scanned the document that MarqKev provided above regarding the BRT proposal, so if this information is buried in the document and I missed it I apologize. However, for those who are interested in what the FTA's Small Starts program is here is some information:

Small Starts

Program Overview

The following summarize the requirements of the Small Starts program:

•Grants are for capital costs associated with new fixed guideway systems, extensions, and bus corridor improvements. Requests must be for under $75 million in New Starts funds and total project costs must be under $250 million.

•Small Starts has a separate funding category for a total of $200 million per year.

•Streamlined criteria and approval process.

•Non-fixed guideway corridor improvements (e.g. Bus Rapid Transit) are allowed under Small Starts.

•Exemption for projects under $25 million will be eliminated once Small Starts regulation is final.

•All projects receiving funding will be analyzed and rated.


http://www.fta.dot.gov/12304_222.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Here is an article summing up what has happened with the plans for Milwaukee County BRT so far as well as talking about a course that UWM students have participated in focusing on BRT in the area. The article below includes two renderings of their ideas.

UWM students add vision to BRT planning efforts

Much has happened since we released our Picking up the Pace report, which presented options for improving bus services in the Milwaukee area, including the possibility of introducing bus rapid transit (BRT).

In June, the Milwaukee County Executive proposed developing a BRT route in the east-west corridor, connecting downtown Milwaukee and the Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa.

Meanwhile, this semester, a group of 22 UWM students have been engaged in a unique course entirely focused on the potential for BRT in the Milwaukee area. They presented the fruits of their labor on Monday night at UWM’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, including detailed plans and designs for an initial east-west BRT route, and a broader vision for a system of up to seven BRT lines connecting major activity centers throughout the region.


http://publicpolicyforum.org/blog/uwm-students-add-vision-brt-planning-efforts
Here are a couple of sample images of what the BRT workshop came up with. Anyone who might want to see more renderings of what the students came up with please visit the link below and scroll down to the PDF links:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
633 Posts
Thanks for sharing that! Fascinating stuff. I wish I had known about the BRT workshop earlier, I would have definitely gone.

Hopefully we hear more about the official plans for a BRT system soon, although I suspect that the unveiling will wait until after the County Executive race is over in the spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for sharing that! Fascinating stuff. I wish I had known about the BRT workshop earlier, I would have definitely gone.

Hopefully we hear more about the official plans for a BRT system soon, although I suspect that the unveiling will wait until after the County Executive race is over in the spring.
I think that we might be hearing more about this project sooner rather than later irregardless of the County Executive race. The prebids to provide consulting services for design of the BRT system were actually due on 12/15 and the final bids are due on 1/14:

I am not sure how long it will take whoever wins the bidding process to create a conceptual design, but I would like to hope that we will start seeing some renderings and hearing some more concrete information a couple of months after the consulting firm is hired.

However this might be something that MarqKev would be able to shed a little more light on...
 

·
🚲 🚲 🚲 🚲 🚲
Joined
·
3,389 Posts
If the BRT is designed and implemented in the right way, it could potentially be one day upgraded to an LRT line. All you'd really need to do is lay down track where the BRT lane is built...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,696 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
If the BRT is designed and implemented in the right way, it could potentially be one day upgraded to an LRT line. All you'd really need to do is lay down track where the BRT lane is built...
Not sure if you meant this by "just lay down track" but there probably would also be the need to relocate underground utilities. BRT systems do not necessarily require the relocation of utilities so I guess we are going to have to wait and see what this system will all consist of when more details are made available to see what exactly would need to be done to potentially upgrade the alignment to LRT in the future.
 

·
🚲 🚲 🚲 🚲 🚲
Joined
·
3,389 Posts
Not sure if you meant this by "just lay down track" but there probably would also be the need to relocate underground utilities. BRT systems do not necessarily require the relocation of utilities so I guess we are going to have to wait and see what this system will all consist of when more details are made available to see what exactly would need to be done to potentially upgrade the alignment to LRT in the future.
True, by "lay down track", I mean all the construction involved with that too, although--to be fair-- the cost of moving utilities ought to be the responsibility of the utility companies and not the municipalities (despite what the state is trying to screw Milwaukee with on the streetcar).

But BRT stations and platforms could easily be converted to LRT stations and platforms, and once you have a dedicated separated ROW for BRT, it makes it a lot easier to upgrade to light rail at that point.
 
1 - 20 of 447 Posts
Top