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Milwaukee Street Safety Advocates Make Their Case With Reports for Each Council District

Photo: Graham Kilmer/Urban Milwaukee

One of the most effective ways to get elected officials to pay attention to traffic safety is to spell out the dangers in their own districts. A new effort from a coalition in Milwaukee does just that, crafting reports for each of the city's 15 aldermanic districts on the eve of the Wisconsin Bike Summit.

The reports, compiled by MilWALKee Walks, Path to Platinum, and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, "are meant as a starting place for the community," Jessica Wineberg, program director at the Bicycle Federation, told Urban Milwaukee.

Each report has a clear message about why safe streets for walking and biking should be a top priority for Milwaukee electeds:

The City of Milwaukee as a whole, and in each district, has a pedestrian safety problem. The City of Milwaukee has 10.4% of the state population and 29.1% of the state crashes. People of color in Wisconsin are almost twice as likely to be the victim of a crash while crossing the street (15.5% of population is people of color, 26.8% of pedestrian crash victims are people of color). [...] From 2011-2015 (most recent data available) EVERY district had at least one pedestrian killed, most frequently due to people driving failing to yield.

A chart in each report ranks the districts on key indicators like the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries, total number of fatalities, the percentage of households without a car, and miles of bicycle lanes and trails. Each also spells out a series of recommendations specific to the district that the elected official could support, writes Jeramey Jannene at Urban Milwaukee:

Action items in the reports range from relatively easy short-term goals such as encouraging participation in the annual Wisconsin Bike Week (June 3rd through 10th) to redesigning intersections, building new trails and installing separated bicycle lanes... The reports also include a list of citywide, county and state projects that are already funded and encourages council members to advocate for those funds to be spent in their districts.

All 15 of the reports are posted at Urban Milwaukee. The timing is no coincidence: The Wisconsin Bike Summit is happening today in Milwaukee, featuring remarks from Mayor Tom Barrett, who is pushing for the city to become the state's second platinum-rated Bicycle Friendly Community.

More recommended reading today: Metro Magazine reports on a new survey from consulting group HNTB, which shows that Americans have a wide variety of reasons to support transit. Next City takes a look at Tempe's push to build a streetcar, despite threats from the Trump administration to cancel federal support. And Greater Greater Washington visits a roundtable on autonomous vehicles, but leaves uncertain about what kind of impact they will have on cities.

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