Line dedication: June 17, 2000
Route: 2-mile circulator
Economic development: part of the HarborPark development on the shores of Lake Michigan; played a major role in the downtown’s transit-oriented development; a top tourist attraction for the city
Notable features: Turf tracks; winter plowing; transit-oriented development
Image by contemplative imaging, 2008.
The Kenosha streetcar is a grass-embedded, or “turf track” streetcar line that circles through the city's downtown. It operates on a reduced schedule during the winter months, but is used year-round. To plow snow in the winter, Kenosha Area Transit uses Hy-Rail vehicles, which are pickup trucks equipped with extra rail wheels that drop down to plow snow from rail tracks. This truck is multi-purpose and can be used on roads as well, as the rail wheels pull up when not in use. Kenosha Area Transit also uses a Bobcat snowblower to help with heavy drifts or accumulations. Despite this plowing, the frozen ground helps preserve the turf from getting too torn up.
The streetcar line in Kenosha serves utilitarian, economic development, and tourist needs in the city and sees approximately 63,000 riders per year. The city is currently looking into expansion options.
For more information about the construction of Kenosha's turf-track streetcar line, see Stone Consulting's brochure here.
For a map of the route, from the Kenosha Streetcar Society's webpage, click here.
For more information, visit the City of Kenosha's Transportation department website.
Snow being plowed from the Kenosha, WI streetcar tracks. Image courtesy of Brad Preston.