The lakefront line service will begin on Oct. 29 but will initially only run on Sundays due to construction
Milwaukee’s streetcar, The Hop, will begin its new lakefront service this fall, but with a limitation in place.
According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the service will kick off on October 29, 2023. But, because of the construction of the Couture apartment tower, initially, it will only operate on Sundays.
The soft opening, featuring the Sunday-only schedule, will last until April, 2024, when daily service will begin and the station located under the Couture will open.
“We don’t have sidewalks that would be accessible,” Milwaukee Department of Public Works commissioner Jerrel Kruschke said. “If I decided to drop off a passenger at the Couture site, they couldn’t access Clybourn or Michigan (streets). That’s why we are not going to be utilizing those stops until they turn over that entire concourse to us. It’s for safety of passengers.”
However, the city could add a Saturday service between October 2023 and April 2024. It all just depends on the construction timing of the Couture.
The lakefront line will run along Michigan and Clybourn streets, with most of the track built in 2017 and 2018. The opening of the lakefront track had been delayed due to delays in the groundbreaking and construction of the Couture Tower.
Due to the delays, the city had to work with federal officials to extend deadlines for the start of service. The federal grant that financed most of the lakefront route had set a deadline of 2020 for start of service. But, the city worked with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to get the deadline pushed to October 2023.
“Everyone wants the streetcar to run seven days a week, just like us,” Kruschke said.
“We think it is going to be fantastic for ridership. It’s going to be an access point for the lakefront. So far, we’ve satisfied everything the FTA wants.”
Once it’s operational, the lakefront line, or L-line, will run separately from the existing downtown M-line so riders will need to transfer onto it from stations at North Broadway and North Milwaukee streets.
There will be L-line service at stations near Jackson Street at both Michigan and Clybourn, plus the central Couture station which will be operational come April.