The city of Milwaukee plans to resurface and add a median to Milwaukee Street, between East St. Paul Avenue and East Menomonee Street in the Historic Third Ward.
The project is expected to begin next week and will be complete by Thanksgiving.
The median will eliminate a lane of traffic in each direction reducing Milwaukee Street from two lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction to one lane in each direction. Parking lanes will remain on each side of the street.
The goal of the project is to reduce traffic speeds on the street, said Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghasson Korban.
The reconfigured street will not have enough room to add a bike lane, but the single lane of traffic will be wider than the existing lanes, providing more room for bikes, Korban said.
The median will have six planters, which will be maintained by the Historic Third Ward Association.
Michael Gardner, president of the Historic Third Ward Association Board, said that
excess speeds on Milwaukee Street have been a problem for quite awhile in the Third Ward.
“Getting across the street, depending on the time of day, can be very difficult and unsafe for pedestrians,” he said. “(Also,) there have been several accidents over the years.”
“We have the same problem on Water Street,” Gardner said. “But Water Street is a major thoroughfare and there’s not much more you can do about it. Milwaukee Street has a high amount of traffic, but not as much as on Water Street.”
The changes will make Milwaukee Street a more attractive experience for pedestrians and could help attract more retail tenants.
“We will add greenery and shrubs so we can continue to green up the Third Ward and make it nice and pedestrian friendily and a nice place to come down and walk around,” Gardner said.