Category Archives: General

Repaved south shore lake front trails.

The trails in Grant and Sheridan parks have been showing their age. Fortunately they were repaved and, in the case of Grant Park, realigned this summer.

Last obstacles between Milwaukee lakefront and Oostberg

The last section of trail missing between the Milwaukee Lakefront and the Ozaukee Interurban Trail is currently under construction. This trail follows the former Chicago and Northwestern route (the “400”) between Hampton Avenue and Mill Road. This would allow for a largely unbroken (except for city streets in Cedarburg, Grafton, and Port Washington) 20151010_150138trail route between Milwaukee and Oostberg in Sheboygan County. The remaining obstacle is the bridge across the Milwaukee River.

The photo shows the bridge under construction taken from the west end. It makes use of the old railroad bridge, but with a new wooden deck and railing.

The trail itself is currently paved from the Milwaukee River Parkway north west to Mill Road. There were already a fair number of bicyclists taking advantage of today’s great weather.

Bug Line Trail and Menomonee Falls

I checked out the Bug Line Trail the other day. It was recently paved between Merton and Menomonee Falls–a big improvement over the old unpaved trail which seemed intent on returning to nature. At the eastern end, two blocks of street riding (shown on the Milwaukee map) takes one to a trail along the Menomonee River, passing by the falls themselves. This trail ends at Fond du Lac Avenue, but a trail is under construction next to FDL Avenue that will connect to the branch of Milwaukee County’s Oak Leaf Trail that runs next to Bradley Road.

Hank Aaron State Trail Closure

Because of the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange, the section of the Hank Aaron State Trail west of 94th Place has been closed and is not projected to reopen until 2018. There is a well-marked detour south of the trail. For more information go to this site.

Second section of KK River Trail Opens

The second section of the Kinnickinnic Trail is now open. This section runs from Lincoln Avenue, just east of First Street, south then swings west to Sixth Street at Rosedale St. A new bridge takes the trail across Chase Street. There is no connection at Chase.

The new trail would appear to form an on-trail section of Milwaukee County’s Oak Leaf Trail East-West Connector, but no Oak Leaf Trail signs have been placed yet. The Connector runs east from the Oak Leaf Trail along Lake Michigan to 84th Street where it turns north. The new trail would seem to imply a re-routing of the Connector in Bayview from Montana Street to Lincoln.

The first section of the KK River Trail runs between Washington Street and Maple Street to the east of First Street. To connect to the second section, one would continue on Maple St to First Street and then go south on First to Lincoln.

Site Additions

I have been doing a bit of maintenance on the site. I filled a gap on the Milwaukee to Door county route. I also added links the pdfs of the Great Lakes History Tours, published in the 1970s. The Lake Superior guide is a full pdf copy (minus the fold-out map) that I found on the Government Printing Office web site. The Lake Michigan pdf includes the route instructions and two city maps. While old, these guides can be a valuable starting point for trip planning. If you use them, please send me a report, so I can update them with current information.

New trail in Glendale

Glendale has just opened a new bike trail running south from Mill Road along the former Interurban route to Sidney Place. Among other things, this trail connects a Glendale neighborhood isolated by two railroad tracks to the rest of Glendale.

For bicyclists traveling to Brown Deer Park (or further north along the Interurban Trail), the new trail offers an alternative to following the Milwaukee River Parkway. Going north, the new route starts with the recently repaved (mostly) trail that leaves the parkway before the first of two bridges crossing Lincoln Creek and continues northwest to Villard Avenue. Then the route continues west to 25th St. The route then goes north along 25th, with a few jogs until Sidney Place dead ends. The new path starts there and runs through a triangle formed by the intersection of three railroads. At the end of the path, the bicyclist can job east on Mill Road and then north on Range Line Rd to the park.

The Milwaukee parks department has plans to build a trail connecting the new trail with Brown Deer Park, also along the old Interurban right of way. More long range plans call for converting an abandoned right of way connecting the north end of the new trail to the existing Oak Leaf Trail that follows Wilson Drive south of Hampton. The railroad abandoned this track some years ago but apparently has still not called it excess.

The Distracted Driver Danger

Drivers who are distracted because they are on their cell phones or texting are a particular danger to bicyclists who have little protection from cars that wander onto the shoulder. The US Department of Transportation recently set up a website to fight this danger.

The site summarizes state laws restricting driving while on the phone or texting. Wisconsin recently passed a law banning texting while driving, although talking on the phone appears essentially unrestricted.

The All-purpose Bicyclist

Whenever a new facility is proposed for bicyclists, in Milwaukee at least one can expect some letters to the editor in adamant opposition. Some look at bicycling as a frivolous activity; others seem to have been traumatized by an encounter with a bicycle. But the most frustrating are those who claim to be bicyclists, state that they would not use the facility, and conclude that therefore no bicyclist in his right mind would use the facility.

For example, when a bicycle lane was proposed for Milwaukee’s Hoan bridge, there were a number of letters that insisted the bridge was too steep and too windy for bikes. Yet when the bridge was closed one morning last summer to allow the UPAF Ride for the Arts to cross, it proved very popular and much less steep than many of the hills that bicyclists often ride.

I have run into several other examples in the past month. A proposal to extend the Lake Parkway south with a parallel bike path resulted in several letters saying that the idea was folly since the letter writers would never use it. A proposal to add shoulders to a road reconstruction in Pewaukee also apparently prompted letters that insisted bicyclists did not want shoulders.

The notion that bicyclists can project from their own preferences to what all bicyclists want seems like a stretch to me (although I am also skeptical as to whether some of the letter writers are the avid bicyclists they claim to be). In my experience bicyclists vary widely in what they look for in a route. Some just want to get from one place to another as quickly as possible and have considerable faith that drivers will look out for them. Others put much greater weight on scenery and protection from traffic.

Progress in Brookfield

Recently, I complained about new trails in Brookfield (and Milwaukee) that are reported on maps before they actually appear on the ground. A recent visit to Brookfield shows some progress in making reality match their map. The black plastic fencing used to mark off construction zones has appeared along the routes of three of the trails. On the fourth, filling in a gap through a wetland along Brookfield Rd, a boardwalk has actually been built but is not yet open.

Still no evident progress along the Milwaukee trails, however.