Madison’s vision for redeveloping a triangle-shaped swath of land encompassing about 26 acres bounded by South Park and Regent streets and West Washington Avenue will guide significant change in the Triangle Monona Bay Neighborhood.
“The redevelopment of the Triangle will be one of the most important challenges facing the city over the next 10 years,” Ald. Tag Evers, District 13, said.
The neighborhood plan was adopted by the City Council Tuesday after a 14-month planning process. The area is on the verge of major change.
The city’s Community Development Authority and the Bayview Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to support culturally diverse, low-income families, are looking toward a major redevelopment of more than 400 deteriorating housing units.
On North Park Street, Meriter Hospital is looking into possibilities for expanding its medical facilities, and property owners along the north side of Regent Street are looking into potential new commercial development between the existing office buildings and rail tracks.
Additionally, the city is planning for bus rapid transit and “smart” technology along Park Street, which could expand the opportunities for growth, development and mobility.
The Triangle currently features affordable housing owned by the CDA and the Bayview Foundation, a small Asian grocery story in a building owned by the CDA, a UW Health Clinic and Select Specialty Hospital. The Monona Bay neighborhood is located across West Washington Avenue next to Brittingham Park.
The neighborhood’s current iteration was borne out of urban renewal in the 1960s. The Triangle used to be at the heart of the low-income and diverse Greenbush neighborhood, but it was razed and 1,150 residents were relocated.
Due to this troubling history, Evers said it is imperative the city get the next round of development right.
“We have a legacy — an indefensible legacy, a shameful legacy — that hangs over our heads in Madison in terms of what happened to the old Greenbush,” Evers said. “It’s really important that we not make the same mistakes or similar kinds of mistakes in which people are dislocated and which vulnerable portions of our city’s populations … are unjustly treated.”
Broadly, the plan provides recommendations on transportation, community health, programming, parks and housing.
Creating neighborhood connections is a priority included in the plan. To do this, the plan recommends an internal pedestrian path system in the Triangle, an extension of East Campus Mall, a new low traffic street stretching from Regent Street to West Washington Avenue, improved street crossings and publicly accessible pathways.
“It’s really important for the city to understand the sense of community that already exists,” Evers said.
The plan also recommends age-friendly and specialized design like wider sidewalks to accommodate wheelchairs and locating the new Bayview Community Center along the proposed public street for easier access by residents from CDA and nearby neighborhoods.
In terms of housing, the plan recommends a variety of housing options with a range of affordability levels. It also supports taller buildings at Bayview, 2- to 5-stories, and Gay Braxton, 2- to 3-stories, to accommodate additional affordable apartment units.
The plan proposes new housing and shopping on Park Street, including an 8-story building at the current site of the Asian Midway Foods. The grocery store would remain on the first floor along with additional commercial stores and more housing on upper floors.
For the Monona Bay area of the neighborhood, the plan recommends preserving the existing existing housing scale, size and character. It also recommends rehabilitating older single-family and smaller multifamily housing stock and promoting home-buying and rehabilitation loan programs.
The plan recommends replacing the Brittingham Park Beach house with a new facility, upgrading the Brittingham shelter to all season use and installing a new accessible fishing pier. Additionally, the plan calls for expanding community gardens and adding additional benches, picnic tables and trees along the bike path.