On Wednesday, January 10th at 6:00pm, staff from the City of Madison Engineering department will host a public informational meeting on the proposed reconstruction of Winnebago Street from Second Street to Bashford Avenue.
At the time of writing, there is no information available for this project on Engineering’s projects webpage. Instead, notice of the public meeting seems to be limited to a letter sent to adjacent residents and shared via Alder Rummel’s blog/weekly update.
Staff describe the current conditions as: “48 ft. wide, with a travel lane, bike lane, and parking lane in both directions, and approximately a 3 ft. terrace on both sides. Due to significant grade differences, a portion of the southeasterly side terrace has walls and railings adjacent to the sidewalk.”
Staff call out the following three alternatives for consideration:
- Narrowing the travel lanes by 1 ft. each, making the total street width 46 ft., while maintaining all of the existing lanes. Terraces would widen by approximately 1 ft. on each side.
- Remove parking on one side, but maintain all travel and bike lanes. This option could narrow the street to 40 ft., which would widen the terraces further and improve the grade challenges more.
- Can also consider an option that combines both of the first options: a portion of the street with all existing lanes, and another portion that has parking removed on one side.
Option #1 reflects a slight change from the proposal that was originally presented to the Ped/Bike/MV Commission in November. At that meeting, project engineer Jim Wolfe described a concept that would reduce the street width from 48′ to 44′ by reducing the unrestricted travel lanes by 1′ each and by reducing the recently painted bike lanes by 1′ in both directions. This would accommodate a widening of the terraces from three to five foot on both sides.
In addition to the grade challenges that result in the need for a railing on the southeastern sidewalk and that prevent comfortable access for people in wheelchairs, the current 3′ terraces do not accommodate tree plantings. Additionally, nearby neighbors have voiced concern over the difficult pedestrian crossing of Winnebago at Fourth Street (an important walking route for many students to East High School).
The southwestern end of this project at Second Street also abuts the long-discussed Schenks Corners area. This was one area of focus for the SASY Committee that was organized around improving the Winnebago-Atwood corridor. That work was put on hold when many of the corresponding street reconstruction projects were pushed out, but there was significant public engagement at that time to identify a future vision of this corridor that improved conditions for people outside of cars.
At the heart of this project is the question of space. There’s no suggestion of increasing the public right of way, so any increase of space allocation on the one hand will require a decrease in space allocation on the other.