transportation

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Updated at 3:45 p.m.  

Highway safety advocates are urging Wisconsin, other states, and the federal government to pass laws that the advocates say would keep thousands more drivers and passengers alive. 

A Milwaukee-area doctor is part of the push.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

After a difficult year for rail travel in Wisconsin, passenger groups and government officials are hoping for a better 2021. One bright spot is that the newest COVID-19 relief bill President Donald Trump has signed includes aid that Amtrak hopes will carry them through the end of March. 

And, despite the pandemic, work continues on some rail projects not due to be completed for several years.

Who’s still riding?

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

The list of possible future state highway projects continues to change, as transportation officials discuss shifting costs and needs. Things to consider down the road may be less commuting due to COVID-19, and what might happen with driverless and internet-connected vehicles. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated Thursday at 12:56 p.m. CT

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday that he plans to seek federal approval to restart a long-stalled project to expand a 3.5-mile stretch of Interstate 94 around Milwaukee.

WUWM

Officials at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport say airline passengers are slowly returning to the skies. They also say travelers should have a mask or other face covering with them.

As with many other airports during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitchell lost about 90% of its business at one point. Mitchell official Pat Rowe says lately, passenger volume is up, but only about 10%.

City of Oakland

With social distancing recommended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Milwaukee is one step closer to closing certain streets to through traffic, repurposing them for walking, biking or running. The Public Works committee voted Wednesday to advance a resolution to the full Common Council. It would create an Active Streets program similar to those in other cities.

Corey Coyle / Wikimedia Commons

Concerns over the coronavirus have prompted the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to close the Department of Motor Vehicle service centers. The state says only certain in-person transactions will be conducted — and by appointment.

The new restrictions took effect Wednesday.

Chuck Quirmbach

The automotive industry is talking about a major shift to electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles over the next 20 years.

To see if drivers are ready for the potential change, we went to an area called The Electric Zone at the Car & Truck Show underway in downtown Milwaukee.

The zone is a first floor hallway in the Wisconsin Center, containing a half-dozen plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles. Just like at the rest of the show, or at an auto dealer, people get behind the wheel, look under the hood and slam doors.

Michael Flippo / Getty Images

The Evers administration has started asking the public for advice on how and where to spend up to $10 million for electric vehicle charging stations in Wisconsin. 

Electric vehicles, or EV, still only make up a tiny fraction of automobiles in the state. But analysts say the number will grow if there are more places to recharge the cars.

READ: Push For EVs Predicted To Continue In Wisconsin Amid Questions

Chuck Quirmbach

The transportation sector — that's people driving gasoline-fueled cars and using other vehicles — has become the single largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States. So, despite some setbacks and concerns in Wisconsin, the push for more electric vehicles is expected to continue in 2020.

There are now more than 1 million electric vehicles (EV) on U.S. roads. California is leading the way. In Wisconsin, the percentage of drivers using EV is still less than 1%. But it's a dedicated group. 

Updated at 11 a.m. ET on Jan. 20

It costs just $16 to buy a one-way ticket on the Amtrak train from Chicago to Bloomington, Ill., unless you're the two people who use wheelchairs and tried to buy tickets recently. They were told their tickets will cost not $16 — but $25,000.

When Adam Ballard saw what Amtrak wanted to charge, he couldn't believe it.

Chuck Quirmbach

Amtrak is projecting a new record for ridership on its Hiawatha trains between Milwaukee and Chicago. Looking ahead, some modest changes to the service are expected in the next few years, but it isn't clear exactly when.

Chuck Quirmbach

Another snowfall this week has reminded people of the challenge of wintertime driving. Plus, there are still plenty of accidents not related to the weather.

Chuck Quirmbach

Clean air groups and others continue to promote the all-electric cars as alternatives to ones that run strictly on gasoline, or even to gas-electric hybrids. One hurdle to having more electric vehicles on the road remains — getting more charging stations where drivers away from home can get a "fill-up" of electricity. 

Industry figures show electric vehicle, or EV, sales went up in almost every state last year. Wisconsin sales of EV increased 24%. But here in the Badger State, the market share for EV remains relatively tiny — less than 1%. 

Bay View Bridge 'KK Can Opener' Causes Routine Incidents For Truckers

Sep 17, 2019
Jeff Bentoff

Cars driving to Bay View from Milwaukee on Kinnickinnic Avenue generally pass unscathed. But vehicles taller than 12-feet 9-inches, aren't so lucky. Along that route is a bridge nicknamed the "KK Can Opener" that's been getting semis and delivery trucks stuck on a regular basis.

"Like a tin can, they get their top ripped off," says Matt Hrodey, writer of "Bay View Truck Eater" in the September issue of Milwaukee Magazine

Maayan Silver

Driving the wrong way on the highway can be devastating. Crashes involving wrong-way drivers on the freeway are some of the most catastrophic due to their head-on nature and high speeds.

At a press conference Tuesday, Wisconsin State Patrol Lt. Nathan Clarke called wrong-way driving on the highway an “epidemic” throughout the state of Wisconsin.

"Wrong-way drivers typically when they crash cause horrific vehicle crashes out there resulting in fatalities, serious property damage, or personal injury events," says Clarke.

Maayan Silver

For years, elected officials and business leaders have been saying there was a disconnect between getting people who need jobs in Milwaukee to where the available jobs are in areas such as Waukesha County.

The JobLines bus route was supposed to fix that issue. However, by the end of this August, the portion of that line that goes into Waukesha County will end. 

READ: As Milwaukee's JobLines Service Ends, What's Next?

Louna Lepoivre

The JobLines bus route into Waukesha County is ending after Saturday. It’s Route 57, which goes from downtown Milwaukee and stops in Menomonee Falls and Germantown. The line gives people access to jobs at places like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and many fast-food restaurants in Waukesha County.

But after Saturday, the 57 will only run within Milwaukee County.

READ: As Milwaukee's JobLines Service Ends, What's Next? 

Markus Mainka / stock.adobe.com

This week, Lake Effect is exploring the end of the Milwaukee County Transit System's JobLines. Route 57 ends service this Saturday. The JobLines was put into place to transport workers from Milwaukee to jobs in Waukesha County. But this is far from the first route that has helped people travel between counties.

READ: As Milwaukee's JobLines Service Ends, What's Next?

Ann-Elise Henzl

On Saturday Aug. 24, the last JobLines bus will cease operations. While Route 57 will still operate in Milwaukee County, it'll no longer cross the county line into Waukesha. Meanwhile, Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is facing a large budget shortfall and is looking to shut down even more routes than the remaining JobLine to balance a nearly $6 million deficit for 2019.

Maayan Silver

Updated on Aug. 5 at 10:15 a.m.

It’s been about a week since 500 Lime scooters legally emerged on Milwaukee streets as part of a Dockless Scooter Pilot Study. City officials report more than 100 complaints about improper scooter use in the first week of the pilot program.

AMBROZINIO / stock.adobe.com

There is an epidemic of reckless driving in Milwaukee. Drivers have been blowing through stop signs, weaving through traffic, and passing in bike lanes — and law enforcement has been cracking down on this behavior.

But there are many solutions to reckless driving, which can include redesigning streets to encourage better driving behaviors. These redesigns are frequently referred to as “road diets,” and they are shown to decrease accidents and reduce the fatalities in crashes. 

Кирилл Рыжов / stock.adobe.com

Milwaukee has faced devastating road range incidents this summer. In two of the most extreme incidents, drivers opened fire on cars with children, killing a 3-year-old and wounding a 5-year-old. As a result, community members and officials alike are seeking to understand how these road rage incidents happen.

So, why do people react with rage in their cars?

Louna Lepoivre

Stand-up electric scooters are back in Milwaukee, after about a year-long hiatus. This time, they’re hitting the streets in a framework approved by city leaders. The company Lime has rolled out 500 scooters in various neighborhoods this week, as part of a pilot program.

LaToya Dennis

Driving in Milwaukee can be a harrowing experience. From people whipping by passing in bike and bus lanes to people blowing through red lights.

On Monday, city leaders announced a new program aimed at ending reckless driving. The public-private pilot program is being made possible by donations from private companies.

READ: City Of Milwaukee & Milwaukee County Join Forces To Tackle Reckless Driving

Chuck Quirmbach

Deadly accidents and major traffic delays have troubled the Interstate 94 reconstruction project south of Milwaukee. At least one trucker blames his fellow drivers. But others want a closer look at the design of the freeway project.

The project is adding a fourth lane each way, partly for the Foxconn factory promised to be built in Racine County. But some motorists who travel that stretch of I-94 say they're concerned about their safety.

ambrozinio / stock.adobe.com

Reckless driving is a problem in a lot of places, especially the city of Milwaukee.

The city and the county have teamed up to tackle the issue. On Monday, the task force looking at the issue held another meeting. 

The number of fatalities due to car accidents is down, according to the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). But driving around the city can sometimes feel like a harrowing experience: people speeding by in the bike lane on the right, running red lights, and sometimes even people driving in the lane of oncoming traffic attempting to speed by you.

Updated at 4:19 p.m. (CT)

A county coroner official says two people are dead after a semi crashed on Interstate 94 Wednesday, exploding and setting fire to other vehicles. The interstate has been closed since.

I-94 may be closed past rush hour — 7 p.m., 8 p.m. — says Scott Stiff, a spokesman for the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department. Although the incident happened in Racine County, his department is serving a supporting role.

Jeramey Jannene / Flickr

As Milwaukee embarks on its plan to extend its streetcar line, the Milwaukee County Transit System is facing a big budget shortfall: a possible 10% cut in service.

At the same time, funding has run out for the county’s last remaining jobline — the 57 bus route, which stretches from Milwaukee into Waukesha County. These potential cuts stand in stark contrast with plans laid out by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC or Sewer Pack).

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated on June 7

Thursday night, the state Legislature's budget committee approved $35 million for expanding Amtrak Hiawatha train service between Milwaukee and Chicago. But the panel nixed spending an additional $10 million for a second daily Empire Builder passenger train across Wisconsin to the Twin Cities.

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