Citizens write to Wisconsin Department of Transportation about bikes on the Hoan

Add yours? Send to: comments@bikethehoan.com ********************************************

Ms. Gellings,

I am taking this opportunity to provide comments to you regarding the feasibility study of adding a bicycle/pedestrian facility to the Hoan bridge when the surface is reconstructed. I am no engineer, therefore I apologize in advance if I have misunderstood those aspects of the study upon which my comments will come to bear.

I would like to advocate for Alternative 1A. As I read the study, the primary concern related to this alternative is that the Level of Service will be reduced to an "E" or "F" by 2035. As you are no doubt aware, reductions in volume are amplified in reductions of congestion. Studies have indicated that reductions of as little as 5% in traffic volume have caused reductions by as much as 30% in congestion. The addition of a Bicycle/Pedestrian facility provides the opportunity to reduce the volume of vehicles on the bridge, ease potential congestion on the bridge, and allow the bridge's LOS to be maintained at a "D" during peak hours, which the study indicates as being the preferred standard for WisDOT.

The Summary Table of Alternatives goes on to list four other items which are concerns, but are relatively minor by comparison. The first of these, widening of the structure on the south end and a reduction of the northbound shoulder to 8 feet, has an unanticipated benefit. A reduced shoulder width gives motorists the impression of a narrower roadway. This technique is used in residential construction to slow the flow of traffic. On a bridge where traffic flows at 53.3 to 54.9 mph, but is posted at 50 mph, this concern seems moot.

The concern regarding the need for an agreement with a maintaining authority for snow removal, is no greater than the need to remove snow from the vehicular travel lanes. WisDOT already has these agreements in place for snow removal, they need only be amended to include the additional Bicycle/Pedestrian facility.

The need to close the Bicycle/Pedestrian lane for inspection and maintenance also parallels the need to close vehicular lanes to travel for similar purposes. Advance notice can be given to bicyclists and pedestrians using the same temporary portable message boards that announce to motorists that lane closures will be in effect. As it relates to emergency responders, specific training regimens can be implemented to train those responders to be prepared for such conditions.

The final concern, that of adding to the construction schedule, seems almost manufactured. By that, I mean to say that for a project which is designed to have a life span of 25 years, the additional time required for such structural work seems insignificantly minor by comparison.

To build upon the idea that this project will have a life span of 25 years, I would like to add some comments which do not directly relate to the feasibility study. First and foremost is that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. If a Bicycle/Pedestrian lane is not incorporated into this project at this time, we deprive an entire generation of the potential to derive any benefits from adding that lane to this project.

In 2010, a study by the University of Wisconsin estimated the annual financial impacts of bicycling in the state of Wisconsin to be more than $900M and over 13,000 FTE jobs. Since 1967, the total expenditures to create the entirety of bicycle-specific infrastructure in the state of Wisconsin has been totaled at $244M. I don't know how to make a proper comparison that will adequately illustrate the financial impact a $9.4M investment may have on a $1B industry; nor can I adequately convey that the investment, a one-time cost, will cause that financial impact to be multiplied by the 25-year life span of this project.

Beyond the measurable effects of this project are the intangibles: the possibilities. This project has the potential to become a catalyst for more and greater bicycle and pedestrian projects. Advocacy groups tout the benefits of bicycling to individual and group health, air quality and the environment, the ability to attract a new generation of employees, and the ethereal idea of "quality of life". If taken away from this project, it can never be known what positive benefits a bicycle / pedestrian lane may have had upon the communities, the citizens, the economy and the quality of life of Wisconsin.

Thank you for your careful consideration of my comments;

Michael Callovi

Kenosha, WI 53143


I am a taxpayer and I am fully in support of a bicycle/pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge.

It will be a good investment and will attract tourism.

1) As for the accessibility to average riders: I am an average person with no special bicycling skills but have had no trouble bicycling on the Hoan on the days when it has been open to bicyclists.

2) As for the convenience of motorists: I would welcome slower automobile speeds on the Hoan. I get along fine on I-43 north of downtown at rush hour, even though that is frequently at LOS E-F with no accompanying bike/ped benefits.

3) As for the projections of future traffic: Instead of planning for inevitable linear increases in automobile traffic, consider planning that will spur a decrease in automobile traffic.

Having both this bike lane and the bus bicycle racks (together), along with the good publicity of becoming a bicycle-friendly city, will enable more people to leave their cars behind. Many now wish to but it is too inconvenient, but when there is the flexibility to ride the bus with a bike TO work, and to bicycle home FROM work, many more people will leave their cars behind. Perhaps unknown to letter-writers in the western suburbs, there are many of these nascent bicycle riders, and many of them live in Bay View and on the East Side. This path is well-placed to encourage reduction in demand. As bicycle facilities are added in Milwaukee, I am commuting more and more often by bicycle, which reduces traffic, since I am not unique.

4) As for safety: a) My children bicycle to school on occasion. The existing bike lanes on surface streets cross many driveways, which are the most dangerous for bicycles. I would prefer that they bicycle over the Hoan (few traffic crossings, well-regulated), rather than on surface streets.

b) As bicycle-riding increases, so does safety. All planning that encourages an increase in bicycle-riding anywhere in the region makes all bicycle riding in the region safer.

5) I am sure that there was a good reason that the projections did not consider diversion in 2035 even though diversion is currently experienced for construction. However, as a driver, I expect that if I divert for construction now, I would also divert for lane reduction in 2035. I might even decide to take a bike or bus instead of my car.

I speak for my husband and children, so that makes four of us.

Thank you.

Joyce Tang Boyland


Greg Bird

To: Wisconsin Dept of Transportation

Re: Bicycle and pedestrian lane for Hoan Bridge - addition design thoughts

Date: Nov 28, 2011

I submitted comments on Nov 14 after the public meeting.

Additional design thoughts have come to me since that time.

Since hanging (cantilevering) the bike/ped lane from the side of the existing lanes was considered not feasible because of the weakness of the ends of the pylons, I had suggested extending cantilever support beams such that they are supported by hanging them from deck frame members supported more in the center of the pylons, keeping the bike/ped lane weight off the end portion of the pylons and with weight more centered on the pylons - and, keeping all the motor vehicle lanes (as currently configured) available to motor vehicles only, and separated from the bike/ped lane.

I would now add that the bike/ped lane cantilever support beams could have their torquing effects mitigated by extending the beams distal ends such that a wire rope support system anchored by loops attached around the base element of the pylons, could transfer counter-forces balancing the weight of the cantilevered lane to the distal end and allowing the weight of the cantilevered system to be better centered on the central deck support frames without twisted forces. This seems likely to be less costly than other options.

Thank you --

Gregory Francis Bird Milwaukee, WI 53207 1316


Dear Ms. Gellings,

I'm writing to say I strongly agree with the Hoan Bridge as a thoroughfare that includes a separate path for bicyclists, namely Plan 1a or 1b of the proposed draft, where the car lanes are reduced from 3 lanes to 2 lanes. I have lived in Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, New Orleans, and New York, and have been a resident of Milwaukee for 8 years. The traffic on the Hoan bridge has always been sparse in comparison to any of these cities, and two-lanes would suffice. The advantages gained by allowing bicycles to access the bridge are profound in comparison to the costs. If NYC can denote congested areas to one-lane of car traffic for pedestrian and bicycle safety, surely Milwaukee can do everything in its power to make bicycle lanes accessible that would connect the entire city. Having a safe bicycle path on the Hoan Bridge would be a major asset to this city.

Thank you for your time,

Adrienne Pierluissi


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