City Announces New Downtown Plan
This week the City of Milwaukee announced its new downtown plan. The plans were informed by holding multiple public input sessions, numerous stakeholder input meetings, as well as a citywide survey. The planning process is long from over, as more pubic input is coming, and there are various levels of approvals still required, but if the key themes and catalytic projects are any sign, this has been a worthwhile effort that was informed by citizenry and good urban planning.
The plan contains four key themes:
- A Distinct Downtown Center: Focus and Connections
- Place-Making in Downtown: Recognize Existing Places
- A Connected Downtown: Identify Key Connections Needed
- Density and Intensity: Infilling Density along Key Connections and Adding Demand Generators at New Places
In addition to the overall themes the plan lays out eight key catalytic projects:
- Broadway Connection – This project would include the development of a mixed-use complex at Broadway and Michigan Streets, improvements under I-794 and electronic visual effects, improved streetscaping with a center median, and a shared parking garage with ground-floor uses to better link Downtown with the Third Ward.
- Wisconsin Avenue Strategy - This project includes focused improvements on Wisconsin Avenue focused on a tightly defined area, developing a Downtown Retail Incentive Plan, coordinate with BID 21′s retail recruitment efforts, targeted code enforcement, identify buildings for rehabilitation, identify locations for residential infill, and create a Strategic Storefront Zone Overlay.
- The Station District – This project includes integrating the Intermodal Station with the new Streetcar network, intercity rail and intra-region bus services by creating a new Plaza at 4th St. and St. Paul, the relocation of the Milwaukee County Downtown Transit Center, the creation of a new Streetcar stop, and development of new commercial and residential buildings.
- Downtown Streetcar – This project includes the construction of a modern, electric streetcar system that would link important destinations with high density neighborhoods.
- Pere Marquette Square – This project includes the redevelopment of the Journal Sentinel block into a entertainment-oriented area, a public atrium, a tourist information center, and a curbless street between Pere Marquette Park and the Journal Sentinel block.
- Haymarket Square – This project would include the creation of a new central square, an eventual streetcar station, a mixture of townhomes, 6-unit buildings, and higher-density development along the southern edge of the area.
- Lakefront Gateway – This project includes a reconfigured Lakefront traffic pattern by shifting the existing alignment of Lincoln Memorial Drive, the relocation of the Downtown Transit Center, the creation of a new lakefront plaza or park, and improved pedestrian access to the area.
- Kilbourn extension to MacArthur Square – This project centers on a two-block development site at the easternmost end of the MacArthur Square District. It would include the relocation of the existing the freeway connections to open up land for development, and create better access to MacArthur Square.
Below are the summaries and designs included for each of these catalytic projects: