The Hop will open its first new route extension on a limited basis beginning Sunday, Oct. 29. During this preview phase, riders will be able to experience the streetcar’s new L-Line on Sundays during regular streetcar hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. while construction continues at the Couture development and transit plaza
The Hop’s new L-Line is a nearly 2-mile route incorporating five existing streetcar stations along the Milwaukee/Broadway corridor with three new stops along a new spur connecting to Milwaukee’s Lakefront. The extension was funded in large part by a Federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant awarded to the City of Milwaukee in 2015. The new route will provide an important connection between the existing M-Line and many of Milwaukee’s most-visited destinations, including the Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, Veterans Park, and all that Milwaukee’s downtown lakefront has to offer.
Vehicles to arrive every 20 minutes
* We anticipate expanding service to match our full hours of operation in Spring 2024 upon completion of the Couture development.
Beginning Oct. 29, 2023, the L-Line will operate Sundays only from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. with streetcars arriving every 20 minutes.
* Note: The Lakefront stop remains closed due to ongoing construction at the Couture site. This stop will open in Spring 2024.
The L-Line serves five existing stations (City Hall NB and SB, Wisconsin Ave NB and SB, and Historic Third Ward EB) and three new stations (Clybourn at Jefferson WB, Michigan at Jackson EB, and Lakefront). The Lakefront stop will not be open initially while Couture construction is still ongoing.
As soon as the Couture development receives lower-level occupancy permits we will be able to open the Lakefront stop and expand service on the L-Line to match the rest of the system’s hours. We anticipate that being sometime in the spring of 2024.
The L-Line will be served by one dedicated car that will operate in a figure-eight pattern: east on Michigan, through the Couture site, west on Clybourn, north on Milwaukee to Kilbourn, south on Broadway to St. Paul, back north on Milwaukee to Michigan.
The LED screens on the outside of the streetcars (at each end above the windshield and on each side between the doors) will denote which route the car is serving. If the LED says either Intermodal or Burns Commons, it is an M-Line car. If the LED says Lakefront, it is the L-Line car.
Passengers can transfer from one line to the other at any of the five shared stations. If coming from Intermodal, you would exit the M-Line car at Historic Third Ward EB (outside of Café Benelux) and wait to board the L-Line car to continue your trip. If coming from Burns Commons, you could exit at City Hall SB or Wisconsin Ave SB and wait to board the L-Line car to continue your trip.
Construction is still ongoing at the Couture site, including the use of overhead cranes that present safety concerns. Additionally, the infrastructure around the construction site is not complete – there are no sidewalks around the site yet. If we allowed a passenger to deboard at the Couture, there would be nowhere for them to safely go. If construction progresses to the point where the site is quiet on Saturdays, we will look to add service then as well, but we are unable to fully serve the route until construction activities are completed and we can safely open the Lakefront stop.
Beyond the Couture construction itself, there are related infrastructure projects taking place on the surrounding streets. Any temporary stop far enough outside of the construction area to allow for safe boardings/exits would have to be far enough west on either Michigan or Clybourn that they would provide little additional benefit from the new L-Line stations already on those streets. We share the public’s eagerness to have the route serve the Lakefront, and look forward to providing that service as soon as we can safely do so.
The community has been very excited for the L-Line to come online, and we’re eager to begin providing this service as soon as we can. These initial months of limited service will still provide opportunity for our riders to get acquainted with how the two lines work together, they’ll provide a unique opportunity to pass through the Couture site and see that construction progress up close, and they’ll allow our operations team to fine-tune the service in advance of the full opening next Spring. Next summer is going to be a busy one for Milwaukee, and these next few months will help us all be ready for it.
The L-Line will give Hop riders direct access to some of the City’s premier destinations, including the Summerfest Grounds, Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, Veterans Park, and much more. Additionally, some major employers are located along the L-Line, including Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Controls, the US Bank building, and others.
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