As Milwaukee County’s first-ever Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line enters the final construction stage, streets along the downtown route will undergo a visual transformation by being painted with dedicated lane stripes.

The dedicated bus lanes, a collaboration between MCTS and the City of Milwaukee, are a significant component of the modernized transit route that keeps bus schedules fast and reliable, similar to train or light rail service.

MCTS battery electric buses will deliver high-frequency service, with 10-minute headways at peak times along the route. The BRT line, called MCTS CONNECT, begins service on June 4, 2023.

“Modernizing public transit through the BRT has taken nearly 5 years to achieve,” said Denise Wandke, MCTS President and Interim Managing Director. “We’re excited to introduce Milwaukee County to this enhanced travel experience. Dedicated bus lanes are proven to increase safety for not only buses and cars, but for pedestrians and cyclists, too.”

The CONNECT 1’s nine-mile route is nearly an even 50/50 split between dedicated lanes and mixed traffic from Downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex in Wauwatosa. The dedicated bus lanes are along the right travel lane of the eastern portion of the route, on Wisconsin Avenue from Hawley Road to 8th Street and Plankinton Avenue to Cass Street.

After yielding to buses, motorists will be permitted to enter the dedicated bus lane for right turns and parallel park in designated areas. Motorists are not allowed to travel in the dedicated bus lanes, but cyclists are.


At high-demand times, bus lanes easily move far more people than traffic lanes. To keep traffic running smoothly, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians should follow these guidelines:


  • After yielding to the bus, motorists may access the dedicated bus lanes to access driveways and designated parallel parking.
  • After yielding to the bus and obeying pavement markings (dashed striping), motorists may access the dedicated bus lanes to make right turns at intersections.
  • When parking in designated parking areas, make sure your entire vehicle, including side mirrors, is inside the parking lane, and use caution when opening doors as buses, bikes, and vehicles could be approaching from behind you.
  • Never park your vehicle in the bus-only lane, even temporarily.


  • Only cross the dedicated bus lanes at designated crosswalks, wait for the appropriate signals, and look in all directions before crossing the dedicated bus lanes.
  • Never cross or run in front of an approaching bus and avoid entering the dedicated bus lane from between two parked vehicles.
  • Take a break from your electronic devices. Remove your headphones so you can hear traffic in the dedicated bus lane, and don’t walk and text when crossing the BRT route.


  • Cyclists are allowed to travel in the dedicated bus lane.
  • Be aware of approaching vehicles.
  • Use hand signals to indicate turning.

Lane installation begins on April 25, weather permitting, and will continue for up to 4 weeks. The lanes will be designated using pavement markings and permanent signage. Access will be maintained to parallel parking and driveways.

© Photo

Lee Matz