Kenosha Transit System
3735 65th Street
Kenosha, WI 53142
(262) 653 4290
The Kenosha Streetcar was conceived as a
circulator system to connect the older downtown and the Metra commuter rail
station with a mixed-use area just east of downtown. This development, the
Harborfront, is being built on a 70-acre plot which formerly was a large
Chrysler auto plant. The plant had been razed, and the site is surrounded on
three sides by Lake Michigan. The streetcar was planned from the beginning as an
integral part of the redevelopment project. The line opened June 17, 2000.
The system is a loop of single track, 1.7 miles
long which runs from the Metra station to a park on the tip of the peninsula,
about 3/4 mile away. It runs in a median for about half its length, alongside
the street for about 1/4 of its length, and in the street for the remaining
distance. In addition to serving the railroad station and the Harborfront
development, it passes municipal buildings, the library, a retail district, and
a museum. A maintenance facility is located on the line, and is adjacent to a
transfer center where the Kenosha Transit buses have a terminal. Five ex-Toronto
streetcars were purchased and rehabilitated for the line, which is electrified.
Simple passenger stops are located about every two blocks. The line is
The Kenosha Streetcar operates every 15 minutes,
Monday through Saturday, from about 11:00 AM until about 7:00 PM. The fare is
$0.25. Initial ridership was about 400-500 per day, considerably above
expectations. Development in the Harborfront site is being completed rapidly,
most of it residential, creating a natural base of potential riders for the
The Kenosha Streetcar is owned and operated by
Kenosha Transit, which is the department of the City that provides transit
service throughout the community.
Operating Costs and Funding:
During the summer of 2000 the initial
indications were that the line was covering about 30% of its summer operating
cost from the farebox, with the remainder borne by Kenosha Transit.
Capital Costs and Funding:
The line reportedly cost about $5,000,000 to
build, including just over $1,000,000 for the maintenance facility, which was
built with future system expansion in mind, and which included architectural
treatment to make it a very attractive building. Federal funding was obtained
for the majority of the cost of the system.
The major benefits of the system are to help spur economic development of the Harborfront
site. The streetcar provides a circulation system which allows residents and
visitors to the recreation facilities to access the commuter rail station, the
municipal buildings, and the downtown retail area.
System Problems and Issues:
No significant problems were encountered in the
construction and initial operations of the line.
In February, 2002 there was an
unexpected discontinuance and then resumption of streetcar operation due to a
The Governor of Wisconsin has presented a
budget that eliminates all state aid to the cities. The proposed budget also
prevents cities from increasing taxes as a substitute. If passed by the
Legislature, cities will have to cut most services. Even local buses are in
danger. The Mayor of Kenosha shut the trolley down because of his concern
about spending money in the winter when there are very few passengers. Cities
will need every penny if the Governor's proposal stands. He has stated that
trolleys will resume Memorial Day for the summer. He said they are available
for charters, school groups, etc in the interim.
The Transit commission then discussed
this decision on Monday Feb 11 and voted to reinstate service on Saturdays and
Sundays, with daily service to resume between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Subsequently 7-day per week service was resumed, year round.