MILWAUKEE — The federal government gave the City of Milwaukee a $4.4 million grant to improve traffic safety, the city announced on Wednesday.
The Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and includes $4.4 million in federal money, as well as $1.1 million in city money. Milwaukee will utilize the $5.5 million total to “increase the number of traffic calming projects [it] builds citywide.”
In the grant application, Milwaukee said it wanted to make improvements to at least five “major” streets. These five streets, the city said, are among Milwaukee’s “most dangerous and underserved streets,” including:
- Capitol Dr., From Roosevelt to 15th
- Atkinson Ave., from Capitol to MLK
- Cesar Chavez Dr. and 16th St., from Pierce to Forest Home
- Greenfield Ave., from Cesar Chavez to 6th
- Forest Home Ave., from 16th to Lincoln
“All of these locations are within the city’s pedestrian high injury network. This funding is a major step forward as we work toward safer streets for all modes of travel,” Commissioner of Public Works Jerrel Kruschke said.
Fittingly, the city said it entitled its grant application “Accessible Intersections for All.”
The project will first identify improvements that can be made for pedestrians at a total of 26 intersections along the five identified streets. The city said it specifically plans to improve intersections for people who have visual and/or audible impairments, with a goal to bring “intersections up to ADA compliance according to PROWAG guidelines.”
According to a press release, the city wants to make the following improvements with the SS4A grant:
- Upgrading traffic signal equipment to ensure reliable corridor operations, equipped with the latest safety technology
- Bringing intersections up to ADA standards to address non-compliant pedestrian facilities, including pedestrian ramp upgrades, island installations with cut-throughs, and curb extensions to slow turning vehicle speeds, shorten pedestrian crossings, and increase pedestrian visibility
- Realigning skewed intersections to shorten pedestrian crossing distances
- Closing approaches on intersections with five or more legs to reduce intersection complexity and return awareness to non-motorists
- Applying road diets where appropriate along corridors to reduce high speeds and double-threat crash scenarios
- Installing APS at all project signals to ensure our most vulnerable users can safely locate corners, aligning themselves with the crossing direction, maximize use of the "Walk" time, and safely clear intersections prior to the onset of conflicting green movements
Additionally, Milwaukee officials said they want to install high visibility pedestrian markings. Stop bars will also be placed farther away from pedestrian crosswalks.
City officials said they may also consider “other low-cost signal and sign improvements may be considered including leading pedestrian indications.”
“Safe streets are vital to our quality of life. This federal resource will lead to greater safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and stroller pushers throughout these neighborhoods,” Milwuakee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said.
A total of 37 cities were awarded a SS4A grant. Milwaukee said it hopes this money will ensure “all Milwaukeeans can safely, comfortably and predictably travel along our streets.”