Cyclists raise concerns about Milwaukee streetcar

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee residents are raising safety concerns about the city's new streetcar which will begin operations in November.

Several cyclists have filed injury claims with the city of Milwaukee after their tires became wedged in the streetcar's tracks, WUWM-FM reported . Residents wonder how motor vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians will coexist once the streetcar begins running.

Five streetcars will run along the 2-mile street that connects downtown to the lower east side. McKayla Campbell, who lives near the route, said she's concerned that more accidents will happen along the route.

"I do have a safety concern with bikes because I know there is already a bike problem in Milwaukee with people getting hit, and I think the trolley will add an extra distraction for drivers," Campbell said.

Mayor Tom Barrett said it will take time for people to adjust. He said bicyclists should cross the tracks at a 90-degree angle.

Officials are working to inform people of what to do when traveling in the streetcar's vicinity, said City Engineer Jeff Polenske. Officials are creating signs, have safety tips listed on the streetcar's website and will use social media to spread information.

"The rules of the road are essentially the same. There are some unique scenarios that not only the streetcar will be encountering to operate within the downtown but also motorists," Polenske said. "There are some locations where there are exclusive lanes to the streetcar. In those locations, motorists will see some unique signage that will indicate to not follow the streetcar into those lanes."

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