Dave Reid

Reconstruction of S. 2nd Street Starts Today

By - Jul 6th, 2010 01:09 pm
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Preliminary construction work for the S. 2nd Street project.

Preliminary construction work for the S. 2nd Street project.

2010 appears to be the summer of road construction, more so than any summer in recent memory anyhow.  The S. 2nd Street project, which was approved in December 2009 by the Common Council despite Alderman Joe Dudzik’s last minute attempt to derail the project, officially gets going today.

This isn’t simply another street repair project.  Members from the Historic Walker’s Point Association, neighborhood residents, and property owners pushed the City of Milwaukee to fundamentally change the character of the street from an automobile sewer into a pedestrian paradise.

Although the final design didn’t include everything requested by the neighborhood it will include many design features intended to make it more appealing to pedestrians and more conducive for local business.  Specifically, it will be narrowed from 58 feet to 50, bike lanes will be added, the street will be built with one travel lane in each direction, the sidewalks are to be expanded, street trees will be planted along the street, and it will have improved lighting.  Because of this design, places such as Philly Way, Sabbatic, and other establishments along the street will have space to add outdoor seating.

Although this project by itself doesn’t guarantee the creation of a vibrant district it does put some of the required pieces in place, and certainly it is a win for the residents of Walker’s Point, local business, and the built environment of the City of Milwaukee.

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13 thoughts on “Reconstruction of S. 2nd Street Starts Today”

  1. Dan Knauss says:

    Looking forward to seeing the end result!

    The absolute BATTLE it took to secure this outcome (as opposed to what was originally intended by the powers that be) cannot be overstated. Some pretty well organized and connected members of the taxpaying public had to put in some serious effort banging doors and lobbying the city and state to get the right thing done here.

    Lesson for everyone else: don’t expect DPW and DOT to add value to your streets–expect the opposite–unless you are watching like a hawk and ready to do what it takes to have it your way. If they don’t feel like completing a job, they won’t. If they don’t feel like following the area plan, they won’t.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Dan Yeah it was quite the effort to get this to happen.

  3. Chris says:

    So true Dan… Look no further than the completely disappointing results along 1st and Pittsburgh. Here was a chance to remove an unnecessary right turn lane, add vegetation to widened sidewalks, and generally reclaim the pedestrian realm. Instead, a concrete island was revamped into — a concrete island. Bravo Milwaukee. Even when watched like a hawk, results are not guaranteed. I certainly hope 2nd Street turns out better than 1st.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Chris On 1st Street one turning lane was removed to add more space for Alterra, but yes the park area didn’t turn out as hoped. Though it is slightly better than it was before.

  5. Andrew says:

    I’m a new resident to the city (lived here for just under a year now) and had no idea this project was even in the works until I found it immpossiable to take 2nd downtown for work! I am thrilled that this street will have a new life! I was about ready to send a bil to the city for all the blown tires on my bike caused by the rough condition of the road! I just hope it turns out better than 1st did…that area looks just as bad as it did before the new surface.

  6. Dave Reid says:

    @Andrew The 1st Street redesign wasn’t delivered quite as planned, though it also wasn’t as extensive as the 2nd Street plan. So hopefully yes the 2nd Street will come out nicer.

  7. getch says:

    Does anyone know about the train crossing on second street, i thought that there were going to be extra barriers, so the trains would not be required to use the horn?

  8. Dave Reid says:

    @getch I haven’t been down to look at it recently, but that is my understanding as well. Well not “extra” barriers per se, but longer ones (I think that’s how it works). I’ll take a look this weekend.

  9. getch says:

    Hey dave, have you gotten the chance to take a look? When I walked by it seems like the work is completed around the area and it seems like the longer barriers, were a waste of money.

  10. Dave Reid says:

    @getch Yes, I have ridden the new bike lanes already. Much of the work is done, (and I’ll have an article on this soon) with the exception of trees and lights. I’m not sure what you mean by the longer barriers?

  11. getch says:

    @dave On a previous comment you mentioned there were not going to be extra barriers, but instead the length of the cross guard would be extended, which would lift the requirement for the train to whistle. This is not the case. The train keeps whistling. I have heard that there is another reason the train needs to whistle, and that is the railroad bridge that crosses the river. Since its not manned 24 hours a day and its not an automatic bridge the trains must whistle. Its unfortunate that this was overlooked, but i imagine nothing will be done since the cost will be extremely high. Maybe the funds allocated for the chicago to milwaukee line will be used for this. Get lobbying

  12. Dave Reid says:

    @getch Ohh…yes I’ll look into this… Thanks

  13. Dave Reid says:

    @getch It is my understanding the new gates have not been installed yet. And you’re correct there is an obscure rule that may mess up the whistle zone, but the City of Milwaukee is attempting to work through the issue/requirement and if successful then the new gates would go in.

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