Question: What is an Active Street?
Answer: A street that is repurposed for people walking, biking, running, or wheeling by reducing or prohibiting through traffic.
Question: So I can walk, run, bike, or wheel in the street?
Answer: Yes! This will help ensure you and your neighbors can maintain six feet of distance from one another when getting essential physical activity.
Question: The Stay at Home Order requires me to stay home except for when needing to make essential trips, am I allowed to use the Active Streets in my neighborhood?
Answer: Yes! The Stay at Home Order also recognizes the importance of maintaining physical and mental health during this time of physical distancing. Getting outside for fresh air, and to walk, bike, or run for exercise are all considered essential during the Stay at Home Order. It is recommended to wear a face covering when outside, however, if possible.
Question: What types of activities are allowed on the Active Streets?
Answer: Neighborhood residents can walk, bike, run, or wheel on these streets for exercise. Games, socializing, or congregating are prohibited as they do not allow for proper physical distancing and do not adhere to the guidance in the Stay at Home Order.
Question: Why can’t people simply use the sidewalks, or ride their bikes in the street as they are today?
Answer: Streets and sidewalks can easily become crowded, especially during warmer weather. This crowding will make it difficult for people to adhere to the six-foot physical distancing requirement. In addition, some areas of the city lack access to parks, open space, and trails, leaving some residents without opportunities to be physically active. In areas that lack access to these green spaces, residents utilize sidewalks to get outside. Most sidewalks in the City of Milwaukee, however, are no wider than six feet, making it even more difficult to adhere to the six-foot physical distancing requirement.
At the same time, streets in the City of Milwaukee have become greatly underutilized as fewer people travel by car. This creates an opportunity to reallocate streets for people to be physically active. Unfortunately, many people do not feel safe riding their bike in the street with motor vehicle traffic. Active Streets will further reduce motor vehicle traffic, with a goal of making more people feel comfortable biking in the street.
Question: Will police, fire, and other emergency services be able to use the streets? And what about mail services, garbage pick-up, and deliveries?
Answer: Yes, most Active Streets will be open to local traffic, including essential services such as those listed above. Anyone driving on the street should drive with care (as is always the case) and slow down and yield to people walking, biking, or running. Active Streets in County parks will be closed to all traffic, however, except for emergency services and park vehicles as necessary.
Question: What if I live on the street? Will I be able to drive to my residence or park on my street?
Answer: Yes. All Active Streets, except for those in parks, will be open to local traffic only. If you live on the street you will be able to drive on the street and park on the street as needed, parking will not be impacted. Again, when driving on the street people are asked to drive with care and slow down and yield to people walking, biking, or running. Efforts should be made to find alternate driving routes whenever possible.
Question: How will the City and County monitor the Active Streets? And what should I do if I see an issue on an Active Street?
Answer: Staff will monitor barricade placement on a daily basis and make adjustments as needed. We are also asking community partners and residents to alert us of any issues including dangerous driving behaviors, unintended impacts to local access, moved or removed barricades, etc. If there is an emergency or a dangerous situation occurring, as always, call 911. Finally, we are working with community partners and residents to build awareness of this initiative and document successes and lessons learned.
Residents can also email the City of Milwaukee at firstname.lastname@example.org, email their local Alder, or reach out to Milwaukee County Parks at ParksTrails@milwaukeecountywi.gov with any feedback or to report issues.
Question: What if I want an Active Street in my neighborhood?
Answer: Email us your suggestion! This initial roll-out of Active Streets will be monitored and adjustments will be made as necessary. If successful and if resources allow, additional streets may be added in other neighborhoods throughout the City.
Question: How were the Active Streets selected?
Answer: We used several criteria in selecting the initial Active Streets locations; 1) we identified streets in our Milwaukee Bike Plan identified as neighborhood bike boulevards, 2) we identified streets that provide access to / through parks and / or trails, 3) we identified residential streets in residential neighborhoods to ensure as many people as possible have access to safe spaces for physical activity near where they live, 4) we prioritized streets in Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas to ensure Active Streets were equitably distributed throughout Milwaukee.
After this initial screening, we reached out to community partners to ensure there was support at the local level.
County Parks used several criteria: 1) which Parkways had no access to residences or businesses and were possible to close, 2) which areas have few parks and or trails and could use additional space for exercise, 3) where was overcrowding occurring or likely to occur.
After this initial screening, we reached out to community partners and Supervisors to ensure there was support at the local level.
Question: What was the community engagement process for selecting Active Streets?
Answer: The Active Streets Initiative was developed very quickly in response to COVID-19 with less community engagement than we would typically like to have. The nature of the pandemic makes it difficult, if not impossible, to engage in-person. We worked with elected officials and a number of community partners and neighborhood groups to build awareness around the Active Streets Initiative. We will continue to engage with these and other community organizations throughout the Stay at Home Order via email and phone. If the Active Streets Initiative continues beyond the Stay at Home Order, we will continue to brainstorm and innovate on ways to better engage community members throughout the planning and implementation of any Active Streets corridors. If you have any feedback on the existing Active Streets or ideas for future Active Streets please let us know!