After years of public input meetings on the reconstruction of west side thoroughfare Monroe Street, this week neighbors can finally see the fruit of their participation when Madison officials present the final corridor design.
An open house will be held in the Wingra School gymnasium at 718 Gilmore St., this Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The saga of Monroe Street reconstruction has gone on for nearly a decade, as it was included in the Capital Improvement Plan in 2008. At one point the actual construction was slated for 2015, but was delayed to 2018. In 2017, Mayor Paul Soglin proposed pushing the project back to 2020. A Board of Estimates amendment put the project back in the budget for 2018.
There have been public input meetings on Monroe Street since 2014, according to the city website.
Construction will begin in April of 2018 and continue through October. The project will resurface the road from Odana Road to Leonard Street and reconstruct it from Leonard Street to to Regent Street.
This week, the city will present the final designs of the project. The presentation has been delayed twice, because city staff needed more time to incorporate all the feedback from the last public input session, said Sara Eskrich, alder for the area. At a July 5 workshop, attendees provided detailed block-by-block notes on the plans, focusing on pedestrian calming treatments like traffic islands and crosswalks.
Residents had the opportunity to comment on the more nuanced aspects of design like crosswalks because public engagement was conducted in two phases, Eskrich said.
Year one of the public engagement was focused on the cross section of the street, which was approved by the City Council in January. The re-done road will have the same cross section as the current road, with four lanes of traffic and no bike lanes.
Once the cross-section was decided, attention turned to areas like flashing beacons, stormwater management and pedestrian crossings, Eskrich said. The second round must also be approved by the city.
That second round has led to creative solutions for the street. Although there won’t be any bike lanes on the street, the design calls for wayfinding signs for bikes on the Southwest Commuter Path so that bikers will “better connect” to Monroe Street, Eskrich said.
Eskrich is excited about the green aspects of the project, including a filtration system in Wingra Park and “some really innovative new strategies for stormwater.”
“There’s still some degree of dissatisfaction with the compromise that we had to make on the cross section design,” Eskrich said. “But when it comes to the other elements … I’ve actually heard really positive feedback from residents.”
Along with the design presentation, Wednesday’s meeting will cover what to expect when construction starts, or as Eskrich said, “how we’re going to handle 2018.”
“I try to remind people to help support our businesses during reconstruction because it’s going to be a very difficult time for them,” she said. “Bike to Monroe Street in summer of 2018 as much as possible.”
As part of the Monroe Street project, the city is also looking to redesign the Crazylegs triangle near Camp Randall and the entrance to Wingra Park.