Rain Barrels

We know rain barrels are a great idea. They help keep polluted runoff out of area waterways and conserve water. I don’t have one, but maybe I will soon. This video highlights 30 beautiful rain barrels designed by talented artists and children, all part of a great community project by our local civic foundation. Bay Ridge Consulting is sponsoring the whimsical barrel shown here, painted by Michelle Sherkow. If you want one of these barrels for your home, you can bid on them through the end of May.


Think Spring

Though spring seems closer on some days more than others, we are looking forward to the greening that comes with the change of season.

Last September the League of American Bicyclists formally recognized Wisconsin’s lakefront metropolis as a bicycle friendly community. Milwaukee was one of 117 communities across the nation to earn a bronze designation for “providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and encouraging residents to bike for transportation and recreation.”

A little later in the fall, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) reported news regarding biking in Milwaukee. Implemented in August 2009, the first two months of MCTS offering bike racks had 1,890 bike boardings, MCTS records show 14,289 bike boardings during the same two months in 2010, a tremendous amount of growth. In fact, bike rack usage in August and September 2010 alone accounts for nearly 50% of the total use of MCTS bike racks in the program’s first year.

The bike rack program has come along way during its first year of implementation, but reported use was only about half way to the projected levels of use as of November last year. However, MCTS notes that records are likely at least 25% lower than actual use. As the weather continues to slowly warm, it will be easy to anticipate the seasonal increase in bicyclists across the nation. It’s refreshing to have the return of another green spring bringing green events:

First day of Spring        Sunday, March 20

Earth Day                     Friday, April 22

Bike to Work Day          Friday, May 20

Bike to Work Week        May 16-20


Welcome Rochelle

Have you met Rochelle Brien, who joined BRC late last year? She brings new energy to the office with her passion for urban design, meticulous research habits, and creativity.  She has experience in research and analysis, graphic design, and writing project newsletters and technical reports. She also brings unique talents such as a depth of understanding of farmland preservation planning. Rochelle is enjoying her introduction to Bay Ridge Consulting, and we are happy to have her on staff. She has a master’s degree in Urban Planning from UWM and a BA in Architecture from the University of Minnesota.

Thanks a Latte

Everyone is welcome. Please join us at our
10 year Anniversary
OPEN HOUSE – FRIDAY, MAY 21st 4-7 p.m.
316 E. Silver Spring Dr, Suite 305
Milwaukee, WI

We’re celebrating 10 years of work on some great planning efforts in Milwaukee, Indy, Chicago, Madison, Charlotte, and throughout Wisconsin. We’d be glad to see you as we take this opportunity to thank you for your support of our work. We’ll be making specialty coffee drinks and other refreshments. Would love to see you stop by so we can say….

Thanks a Latte!!

Call Karen with any questions 414 964-1400

Stepping up to the challenge

This week at the 2010 American Planning Association Conference, I had a chance to take a field trip to meet planners who are “stepping up to the challenge” of reinventing public transportation in New Orleans.   I attended three mobile workshops that detailed the recovery of the transit system from a multi-modal perspective — bus, streetcar, and bicycle. Several themes stuck out from the mobile workshops:

  • Value of transportation options in the community
  • Opportunities for restructuring and revitalizing the transit system
  • Transit infrastructure as a catalyst for economic growth
  • Design and planning of new intermodal hubs due to population shifts
  • Constraints and adaptations from pre-Katrina system legacies
  • New planning efforts due to re-envisioning of the transit network
  • Temporary solutions for areas undergoing repopulation

I gained a new perspective on transit planning from this experience and met many brilliant and inspiring planners that are helping the city to turn the corner by meeting the difficult challenges that have faced post-Katrina New Orleans.


Take a Field Trip

We all learn something new every time we are on a site visit…even if it is somewhere we have been many, many times. I recently accompanied a smart group of rail specialists — enthusiasts and experts alike — on a transit tour to Seattle, Vancouver and Tacoma. This was my first time to Tacoma, first time on the Seattle Streetcar, and the Olympic Line in Vancouver (using vehicles borrowed from Brussels for the Olympics) had opened just days before. Here are five great reasons to make the time to go on a field trip:
○ Make new friends
○ Gain a new perspective
○ Try amateur photography and video
○ Reconnect with old friends
○ Get a stamp on your passport
And some things I learned:
○ Great ideas ARE transferable
○ Finances matter
○ Good design is important
○ Win-win-wins can be prevalent.

BRC Welcomes 2010!

We at Bay Ridge Consulting wish you all a great and happy New Year! Karen recalled this morning when 2010 was a planning horizon year! It’s a good time to reflect on where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished and to make future goals.

We thank everyone who assisted us with contributions to many planning projects this year – notably the Watershed Restoration Plans for the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers, future high speed rail upgrades from Chicago to Milwaukee, Milwaukee Connector, and the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Commuter Rail studies.

We are always honored to be a part of the progress and look forward to contributing more to our current projects and taking on new challenges in the coming year!