The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works and Wisconsin Department of Transportation are planning to replace North Humboldt Boulevard from East North Avenue to East Keefe Avenue (1.5 miles). This segment of Humboldt Boulevard was constructed in 1965 with 8 inches of reinforced concrete on a 3 inch gravel base. The street was resurfaced with asphalt in 1992 and again in 2014 as a temporary measure to improve the pavement condition since the street was showing signs of deterioration in various locations due to the degraded substructure of the pavement. The underlying concrete base has deteriorated joints, severe reflective cracking and failed patched along the entire length of the project. It is no longer cost-effective to continue to maintain this street through rehabilitation (asphalt overlays).



  • Reduce motor vehicle speeds
  • Make the street safer for all users, with a focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety
  • Maintain or enhance existing green space and landscaping
  • Improve operational characteristics and safety of the street by addressing the underlying pavement condition


Estimated cost is $8.6 million dollars

  • 80% federally funded and 20% locally funded
  • Assessments will go out to property owners near the end of the design stage. Assessments to owners will include sidewalk and driveway approach replacement in front of their property. It will be calculated based on the City's share of the final cost. 


  • N. Humboldt Blvd is classified as a minor arterial
  • Average Daily Traffic Count: 14,900 motorists per day
  • Posted Speed: 30 MPH
  • N. Humboldt Blvd. currently serves bus route 14, accommodates short lengths of routes 60, 22, and 21, and has a crossing of route 40U. 



We are currently in the final design phase through 2021. Construction is tentatively scheduled for 2022.



Over the last year, project engineers have been developing design plans that include separated bike lanes, presented in alternative 2, along North Humboldt Boulevard. As this alternative progressed through further, more detailed engineering, several design challenges arose. With a narrow curb to curb lane configuration, it is not possible to achieve separated bike lanes without losing most of the cherished and mature trees that provide a canopy over our Riverwest homes, parks and local businesses. In addition, the design of alternative 2 may potentially affect essential public services, including snow removal, emergency services and Milwaukee County Transit System. Due to these conflicts, the preferred design is Alternative 1 - standard bike lane that will move forward into the final design phase. 

The proposed alternative 1 design includes a 10-ft driving lane and 8-ft parking lane in each direction, with 5-ft wide bike lanes on the street. The median width varies throughout the corridor, between 9.5 to 13.5 feet wide. The sidewalk is designed to be 6 feet wide. Majority of the trees along the corridor will be preserved. The proposal presented curb bump-outs at various intersections, improved left turn lanes and additional medians. The proposed typical section of this design is below:

In follow up to the North Humboldt Boulevard public information meeting on June 15th, DPW Forestry and Infrastructure staff met with the design consultant in the field to verify the updated plans detailing the number and locations of trees affected by the preferred alternative design (on-street bike lanes). You can view the full tree plan here. With the preferred alternative design, the breakdown is 81 new trees planted, total loss of 34 trees, with a net gain of 47 trees. Here is a summary:

In addition, you can view a scaled-down version of the construction plans highlighting existing curbs vs. proposed curbs (including bump-outs) here to help illustrate the changes to the curb alignments throughout the boulevard. 

As part of its data collection process, during the preliminary design phase of the project, the Department of Public Works conducted a parking study to determine the extent of on-street parking being utilized and if on-street parking should continue to be an amenity offered as part of the preferred alternative. 

  • Parking was analyzed from 6 am to 10 pm for 7 consecutive days.
  • Parking was utilized along the street from a high of 68% on the east side of the street between Clarke and Center to a low of 11% on the east side of the street between Hadley and Locust.
  • Both sides of the street utilize street parking about 45% of the time, but 5 of the 12 segments are over 100% parked when adding both sides of the street together.
  • The raised median in the middle of the roadway results in lower than normal numbers of people parking on an opposite side of the street from their destination.


With the feedback and input we received from residents and the community, we have developed an alternative design that offers 6-ft protected bike lanes raised at sidewalk level throughout the corridor. The bike lanes are positioned between the parking lane and the sidewalk to provide separation between people biking and moving motor vehicle traffic. Protected bike lanes attract people of all ages and abilities, and will make bicycling on the street safer and more enjoyable. In addition to the 6-ft protected bike lanes, this alternative design offers a 10-ft driving lane and 8-ft parking lane in each direction, narrows the median to 6 feet, and provides 6-ft wide sidewalks while preserving the majority of the existing street trees. Curb bump-outs at various intersections, improved left turn lanes and additional medians are also included. The proposed typical section of this alternative design is below:







Improved/New Left Turn Lanes

Left turn lanes will be improved or added at the following locations:

  • E. North Avenue (improved-North leg of intersection)
  • E. Center Street (new-South leg of intersection)
  • E. Locust Street (improved-North and South legs of intersection)
  • E. Burleigh Street (new-North and South legs of intersection)
  • E. Keefe Ave (Improved-South leg of intersection)

Additional Medians
Additional medians will be installed between:

  • E. North Ave. to E. Meinecke Ave.
  • E. Center St. to E. Locust St.

Signature Beds
Signature beds are landscaping features that include trees, shrubs, flowers, and possible boulders or other landscaping elements. Signature beds are planned in the following locations: 

  • North of E. Meinecke Ave.
  • South of E. Hadley St.
  • South of E. Chambers St.
  • South of E. Keefe Ave.

Planting 81 new trees

  • 19 on the east side of the street
  • 19 on the west side of the street
  • 43 in the median boulevard 

Curb Extensions
Curb extensions (bump-outs) are being added at 8 intersections: 

  • E. Walworth St.
  • E. Meinecke Ave.
  • E. Clarke St. 
  • E. Hadley St.
  • E. Chambers St. (east side T-intersection)
  • E. Auer Ave. 
  • E. Concordia Ave. (east side T-intersection)
  • E. Townsend St. 

Benefits of curb extensions
-Increased pedestrian visibility by preventing people from parking too close to crosswalks 
-Reduced crossing distances and decreased pedestrian exposure to motorists
-Slower speeds by motorists making turns at intersections and driving along the corridor 
-Prevents illegal passing on the right in the bike or parking lane.

Traffic Signal Upgrades
All of the signalized intersections will be upgraded to the Federal requirement of a signal face over each lane, and allow for flashing yellow arrows for painted left turn lanes or medians less than six feet. 

Drainage Improvements
The existing storm sewer lateral pipes are undersized, and will be replaced with new pipes that meet current design standards. The inlets will also be replaced. 

Lighting Upgrades
New LED street lighting will be installed throughout the project. LED lighting provides  increased visibility for  all users of facility, including pedestrians.

Sidewalk Replacement
Sidewalk will be replaced based on condition, grade change, and to meet ADA requirements. The existing six foot width will be maintained throughout the corridor, contributing to a safe walking environment for pedestrians.

Curb Ramps
The existing curb ramps are not in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. All 54 non-compliant curb ramps will be replaced with 106 ADA compliant curb ramps.



The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works holds public involvement meetings to receive input and share project details with residents and businesses located in the project area. 

Virtual Public Information Meeting #4 - June 15, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m
DPW staff provided a project status update and discussed the alignment challenges related to tree conflicts and essential public services that have affected the process and selection of the proposed final design plans. 

Virtual Public Involvement Meeting #3 - September 23, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Register for this meeting at After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar from your computer, tablet or smart phone. If you prefer to call in, dial +1 (631) 992-3221 and you will be prompted to enter the access code: 545-839-793.

Public Involvement Meeting #2 - February 26, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The second public involvement meeting was held at Gordon Park Pavilion. 80 people attended the open house to share their thoughts and ideas on the proposed design. Attendees were able to submit comment cards and meet with DPW representatives to ask questions or provide input. 

Public Involvement Meeting #1 - February 27, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The first public involvement meeting was held at Gordon Park Pavilion. Over 40 people attended the open house to learn more about the preliminary design concept. Attendees were able to submit comment cards and meet with DPW representatives to ask questions or provide input. 





Thank you for your input and suggestions during the design phase of this project. The public comment period is closed (as of 6/30/21). If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Samuel Medhin, Project Manager, at or 414-286-0474


Samuel Medhin, Project Manager

Megan O'Connor, Project Liaison

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