‘It’s important:’ Parking checkers out in force as roads closed in Milwaukee for presidential visit

MILWAUKEE -- Streets surrounding the Pfister Hotel were closed Wednesday morning, June 27 ahead of President Donald Trump's arrival Wednesday night. That, combined with the first night of Summerfest and the Big Bang Fireworks show made it arguably the busiest night of the year in downtown Milwaukee.

Road closures will last until 4 p.m. Thursday, June 28.

Downtown Milwaukee street closures

City of Milwaukee DPW officials at 11 a.m. Wednesday blocked off this area to prepare for President Trump's arrival:

  • East Wells Street on the north. Wells Street itself will be open to thru traffic.
  • North Jackson Street on the east.
  • East Michigan Street on the south. Michigan Street itself will be open to thru traffic.
  • North Milwaukee Street on the west.

"I think it's needed for the president, whether you like him or not. It's important," said Tina Mahany.

Pedestrian traffic within this perimeter may be limited.

Additionally -- DPW officials said motorists should be especially aware of temporary parking restrictions.  Temporary "no parking" signs were posted and became effective Wednesday morning. Vehicles not moved will be subject to a ticket and tow.

President Trump is expected to fly into Milwaukee Wednesday night, where he'll stay overnight ahead of a Thursday morning GOP fundraiser ahead of the Foxconn groundbreaking in Mount Pleasant.

FOX6 News noted parking checkers out in full force Wednesday and drivers who didn't notice the temporary "no parking" signs were towed.

The cost of this effort is expected to be more than $10,000 for this presidential overnight stay.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"Do I want to spend the money? No. I'm not a fan of the president, but when the president comes to your city, you welcome the president," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

MCTS bus stop near Fond du Lac and Keefe

Milwaukee County Transit System officials said several bus routes would be rerouted as a result of the closures -- including the downtown Summerfest shuttle. MCTS officials encouraged Summerfest visitors to take the bus, as traffic will be challenging.

"I knew that traffic was going to be bad and I try to bike every day, so I thought I'd bike down to see what was going on," said Julie Roubik.

"It's crazy. Honestly, it's kind of fun in a way. It's an exciting time," said Max Olson with Artisan Ramen.

Artisan Ramen

Artisan Ramen is located on one of the blocked streets. While it wasn't clear whether President Trump might be interested in eating ramen, Olson said Wednesday he's ready.

"In a way, foot traffic is almost busier. You get a lot people because of all the excitement and interested in ramen. We've been hoping he'll stop in for a bite of Japanese cuisine," said Olson.

Impact on MCTS bus service

Several MCTS bus routes, including the downtown Summerfest Shuttle and Brewers Line will be impacted by the presidential visit.

A portion of Wisconsin Avenue is scheduled to shut down until 4 p.m. Thursday.

MCTS buses at Summerfest

During the closure, MCTS buses (Summerfest Shuttles, Brewers Line, regular routes and Freeway Flyers) will be detoured off of Wisconsin Avenue between Broadway and Jackson/Van Buren Street. Buses will use Kilbourn Avenue to get around the closure.

Riders are encouraged to use regular stops on Wisconsin Avenue east and west of the impacted area or temporary stops on Kilbourn Avenue, look for temporary signs.

CLICK HERE for a full list of routes, temporary stop locations and maps of the detour.

There may also be other street and freeway closures during the two-day visit, especially while the presidential motorcade travels between locations. Bus riders and drivers should prepare for possible delays and detours.

MCTS officials said "anyone heading to Summerfest or the Big Bang fireworks on Wednesday night can leave the complicated travel logistics to us," noting that MCTS has countless ways to get to the world’s largest music festival, including the popular Summerfest Flyers, which provide service to and from 10 Park and Rides.

Big Bang Fireworks show closures

Milwaukee County Sheriff's officials are warning about Hoan Bridge closures and traffic during the Big Bang Fireworks show at Summerfest Wednesday night.

The MCSO will be closing the I-794 northbound lanes of the Hoan Bridge Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at Carferry Drive prior to the fireworks, expected at 9:30 p.m.

Hoan Bridge

All lanes of traffic, northbound and southbound, will be closed during the fireworks and reopen following the display at approximately 10:30 p.m.

Access to I-794 eastbound at the Marquette Interchange will be closed to all vehicle traffic, except buses. McKinley Marina parking will be restricted to those with current season permits or those with legitimate business at the marina.

To alleviate traffic congestion after the fireworks, traffic southbound on the Hoan Bridge will be open for those heading to the south side.  Traffic on southbound Lincoln Memorial Drive must take westbound I-94 or head southbound over the Hoan.  Westbound Michigan Street and westbound Clybourn Street will be closed to vehicle traffic after the fireworks.

Lincoln Memorial Drive will close when all lots are full, which in past years has been as early as 6 p.m. Deputies may need to divert traffic leaving the lakefront area to ease the expected heavy traffic flow.

CLICK HERE for everything you need to know about Summerfest 2018 -- including tips on getting to the festival grounds and the complete lineup.