By Press Release Submitted to Published Aug 22, 2023 at 12:45 PM

The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Casino Hotel, 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.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Lakefront Hop station within the Couture’s transit plaza will remain closed until construction is complete.

“We know the public has been eagerly awaiting the opening of the L Line, and we’re pleased to be able to offer this opportunity for our city to begin exploring the new L Line even as the Couture construction continues to progress overhead,” Milwaukee Commissioner of Public Works Jerrel Kruschke said. “While the eventual opening of the Lakefront station itself will be a transformational milestone for The Hop, this opportunity to begin providing preview service will be tremendously valuable both in terms of allowing the city to become acquainted with the new route and how it will interface with the existing M Line, while also allowing our operations to fine-tune this service in advance of a very exciting summer in Milwaukee next year.”

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.

The L-Line will operate independently from the M Line, served by one streetcar operating in a figure-eight pattern proceeding east on Michigan Street, south through the Couture site, west on Clybourn Street, north on Milwaukee Street to Kilbourn Avenue, and south on Broadway to St. Paul Avenue.

The L Line car will provide service every 20 minutes to the existing Wisconsin Ave NB/SB, City Hall NB/SB and Historic Third Ward EB stations, as well as new stations at Michigan at Jackson EB, Clybourn at Jefferson WB, and eventually the Lakefront inside the Couture transit plaza. Riders will be able to transfer between the M and L Lines at any of the five overlapping stations.

While the Lakefront station is certainly the highlight of the new route, the construction activity at the site, including the use of an overhead crane, coupled with ongoing infrastructure improvements on the surrounding streets, make this platform unsafe for pedestrian use in the near term.

This preview service along the new L Line will provide a unique opportunity to see inside the Couture construction site as the streetcar will still pass through the transit plaza. Full service along the new L Line is expected to begin in Spring 2024 once lower-level occupancy permits for the Couture have been granted.