Project Overview

Van Buren Street is an important connector of Milwaukee neighborhoods, running through the Historic Third Ward, Downtown, and Lower East Side neighborhoods. It serves major MCTS bus routes, and is included in the Route of the Badger plan for an all ages and abilities bikeway. It has experienced a high number of crashes, particularly among pedestrians and bicyclists. The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) has also received numerous complaints from residents, business owners, and people traveling along the Van Buren Street corridor regarding high motor vehicle speeds, dangerous crossings, instances of reckless driving, and lack of all ages and abilities bikeway accommodations.

Project Goals

  • Reduce motor vehicle speeds
  • Reduce crashes for all users
  • Improve the comfort, accessibility, and efficiency for all modes, but in particular people walking, biking, and taking transit
  • Create an all ages and abilities bikeway as called for in the Route of the Badger Plan, including a connection along Kilbourn to the existing protected bike lanes east of Jackson Street
  • Consider green storm water infrastructure (GSI) best management practices (BMPs) and other landscaping
  • Enhance the streetscape to create a welcoming and vibrant corridor that supports existing land uses and spurs additional economic development.

Work To Be Completed:

  • Addition of a two-way protected bike lane along the east side of Van Buren Street from Wells Street to Brady Street (Striping will be extended on the Holton Street Bridge to Glover Avenue)
  • Conversion of Van Buren Street from Wisconsin Avenue to Kilbourn Avenue to a two-way street
  • At various locations within the project limits, installation of a floating parking lane on the east side of Van Buren Street, while parking on the west side of the street will remain curb adjacent
  • Improvements for people taking transit
    • Installation of in-lane bus stops and floating bus islands
    • Direct access to Wisconsin Avenue from Van Buren Street for Route 30
  • Improvements for people walking
    • Protected intersection elements
    • High visibility crosswalks
    • Pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions at various locations within the project limits

Construction Phases

Construction for the project will take place in two phases. Phase 1 is scheduled to take place from late March through early July, with Phase 2 beginning shortly after the RNC until November 2024.

Phase One: Construction is scheduled to begin between Kilbourn Avenue and Brady Street. One lane of traffic will be maintained throughout construction.

Phase Two: Construction is scheduled to begin between Wisconsin and Kilbourn avenues during this phase. Van Buren Street will be converted to a two-way street within these limits. Northbound traffic will be maintained throughout construction.


*Construction timelines are weather dependent and subject to change.