Designing for All Road Users on Milwaukee’s National Avenue – Wisconsin Bike Fed Guide

For years, Bike Fed staff have kept a close eye on the National Avenue project on Milwaukee’s south side.

National Avenue is a major thoroughfare, nearly the entirety of which is on the City’s Pedestrian High Injury Network. It is a trucking route and state trunk highway, which means that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has an important stake in the project. State DOT urban arterials like National Avenue are a challenge for road safety across the state and country. Many are dangerous by design

Late in 2022, the Bike Fed wrote an analysis of the project until that point. They did not yet have a detailed design concept, and were extremely concerned that this project would not make substantial improvements to safety. This spring, the Bike Fed walked the entirety of the project with national pedestrian advocate Jonathon Stalls, whose comments illustrate the dire need for change. 

This month, project staff released proposed designs to the public. Thanks to the great work, creativity, and willingness to collaborate on the part of both City and WisDOT staff, as well as the support of engaged advocates and dedicated elected officials, it looks like we will get an impressive change to the road.

Insights for All Wisconsinites

To aid advocates across the state, the Bike Fed prepared an in-depth review of how the design elements proposed benefit all road users. They hope that all Wisconsin residents can use this project to understand what is possible on highways like National Avenue and encourage you to identify a state highway in an urban or town setting near you as you read this post. Imagine how these life-saving designs can also be a part of your city or town’s infrastructure. The ground is truly shifting on what is possible. 

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Wisconsin Bike Fed Guide - How National
Avenue's Redesign
Benefits Everyone