Lower speed limits implemented to help expand outdoor dining on Milwaukee's east side

MILWAUKEE -- The Active Streets for Businesses program was passed to lower speed limits on certain streets to allow local restaurants to expand their outdoor dining into the street without a formal parklet, the East Side BID announced Friday, June 19. The program would lower speed limits on stretches of E. North Avenue and N. Farwell Avenue from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The program passed on Tuesday, June 16, with joint efforts from several City Departments and Business Improvement Districts, a release said.

The East Side BID will construct 92 concrete planters to create barriers for outdoor dining in front of participating businesses. The plan comes after the City of Milwaukee allowed for restaurants to reopen at a limited capacity after the "Safer at Home" order was lifted.

Much of the east side has speed limits of 30 mph, so the BID worked with Milwaukee DPW and Ald. Nic Kovac to lower speed limits. Speed limits on E. North Avenue from the Milwaukee River to E. Water Tower Road and N. Farwell Avenue from E. Bradford Avenue to Brady Street will be lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph.

This Active Streets for Businesses plan will expire on November 15, but the BID says they hope the lower speed limits will remain.

“We’re thrilled to have expanded outdoor dining and lower speed limits coming so immediately," says Liz Brodek, Executive Director of the East Side BID. "This is an extremely walkable area, and lowering the speed limits will make it even more pedestrian-friendly.

While east side bars and restaurants are open and already offer outdoor dining, the expanded outdoor options are set to evolve in the coming days.

“This is the epitome of what a BID should be doing," Tim Gokhman, Director of New Land Enterprises, owner of Crossroads Collective, and East Side BID Board Treasurer. "This is the continuation of the visible creation of a district."

For more information on the East Side BID's Active Streets for Businesses program, check out their website.