The City of Milwaukee plans to expand modes of travel for residents throughout the city with both a 2021 dockless scooter pilot study and an expansion of the Bublr bike share program.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) has selected three scooter companies – Bird, Lime and Spin – for participation in the dockless scooter pilot study that will run from June 1 to November 15. In total six operators applied to participate in the pilot with Helbiz, Veo, and Superpedestrian not selected for the pilot that only allows up to three operators.
The maximum speed limit for dockless scooters is 15 miles-per-hour. Riders must obey the rules of the road and park responsibly. Sidewalk riding is illegal and was a common concern during the 2019 pilot which ran from late July 2019 to late November 2019.
Bird, Lime, and Spin were selected in large part for the ability to technologically track sidewalk riding and provide notification to riders either via in-app messaging or on the scooter. This technology is anticipated to go live this summer. Additionally all three operators have a strong plan to deploy at least 100 scooters each for people of varying abilities (adaptive scooters).
Additional safety measures for the 2021 pilot include requiring each operator to host two monthly education events and conduct monthly targeted sidewalk outreach. Meantime, DPW is in the process of selecting a consultant to conduct sidewalk riding counts.
The 2021 pilot, which allows three operators with 1,000 scooters per operator, requires a broader dispersal of scooters city-wide with fewer concentrated Downtown, compared to the 2019 pilot. The pilot is citywide with a total of seven zones to support wider distribution and use. Zone 1 – which encompasses the downtown, near west side, near south side and lower east side – allows a maximum of 300 scooters. The remaining six zones require a minimum 480 scooters in each zone.
Beginning this summer, DPW is also expanding Bublr Bikes – the City’s bike share system, by 26 stations and approximately 250 bikes with the support of a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Grant (CMAQ). DPW worked with community partners and residents to identify sites for expansion, and most stations will be installed in the Bronzeville, Harambee, Midtown, Washington Park, Silver City, Clarke Square, and Walker Square neighborhoods.
“The expansion of Bublr Bikes further into Milwaukee neighborhoods reaffirms the City’s and Bublr Bikes’ commitment to an equitable bike share system for all Milwaukeeans,” Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Polenske said. “And with a greater number of scooters being spread out throughout Milwaukee compared to 2019, we are greatly increasing transportation options for Black and Latinx neighborhoods.”
Of the 250 bikes, approximately 200 will be new electric-assist “e-bikes” that will greatly increase access to bicycling for people of various ages and abilities.