Dave Reid

S. 2nd Street Redesign Concept is a Pretty GOOD One

By - May 20th, 2009 06:59 pm
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S. 2nd Street After

S. 2nd Street After

Recently, with the encouragement and support of our readers, the help of graphic artist Kieran Sweeney, and the drive of Juli Kaufmann a conceptual idea for the redevelopment of S. 2nd Street, in Walker’s Point, was created and entered in to GOOD Magazine’s livable streets contest.  Although it didn’t win, it did come in a strong second, validating the importance of a complete street redesign for S. 2nd Street.  The need for improvement of S. 2nd Street is obvious as its current form leaves much to be desired, and although simply repaving the street would technically be an improvement, it wouldn’t change the image of the street.  To successfully change the image requires changes to the physical infrastructure, and the organizing of business owners to facilitate the revitalization of the street.

The organizing and obtaining of funds to complete the street is a significant challenge, but the concept itself is truly very simple.  Add street trees, bike lanes, and planters, remove a travel lane or two, update some lighting fixtures, and shake vigorously.  These ingredients when mixed together change the physical environment from an automobile freeway, that is hostile towards the pedestrian, to one that is not just conducive to people, but welcoming to people, be it for walking, biking, shopping, or siting at a cafe.

Unfortunately, the idea may seem radical to traffic engineers who’s only concern is how fast can the traffic flow, or to politicians afraid to go to bat over funding, but for those who are actively working on creating a better urban environment that would support local business, it makes complete sense.  Hopefully this idea can come in number one where it matters, within the Department of Public Works, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the Milwaukee Common Council.

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12 thoughts on “S. 2nd Street Redesign Concept is a Pretty GOOD One”

  1. Alex says:

    dont forget to take those old buildings down and build something new and contemporary with a lot of glass in front.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Alex ummmm no.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Alex’s comment was sarcasm, I believe.
    Anyway, congratulations on a strong second. There were quite a few entries and they were all pretty cool so…second is awesome!

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Ok, who’s email inbox at City Hall do we need to stuff with this idea?

  5. Nick Aster says:

    Congrats! Now let’s get the JS to publish something…. I think people would benefit a lot by seeing this!

  6. Amy says:

    I loved this idea! I am so glad it was recognized and came in second place. Getting JS, Shepard Express, etc to publish something is a great idea. The image clearly shows how a few changes can have a great impact. Congrats Juli!

  7. Dave Reid says:

    @Amy I think we may soon see some progress on other press picking up the story.

  8. Juli Kaufmann says:

    Calling all citizens: If you like the sorts of things we have been talking about for S. 2nd Street, now is the time to contact your political representatives and ask them to take leadership on this issue. While I would prefer that smart urban public policy would just flow naturally from those elected and hired to direct the future of our city, it is clear that leadership needs encouragement. Send the story to reporters too. Let’s keep momentum moving forward. These types of opportunities literally come once in lifetime, but have impact for generations. We can do this Milwaukee. Cheers!

  9. colucci says:

    I like the concept quite a bit but wonder if it’s not putting the cart before the horse. 2nd St has few businesses and even fewer residences. I bike down 2nd street to work 3x a week and see very little traffic (esp. south of National Ave) in the morning or at night. With all the other areas around town in need of street improvements, 2nd St is pretty far down the my list.

    BTW, if you ask me “simply repaving” would be a HUGE improvement!

  10. Juli Kaufmann says:

    @colucci Is it cart before horse, or is it that our carts need a horse out in front? Or is this one of those chicken and egg things?

  11. Ms Jones says:

    South Second Street is in dire need of help – I travel it and frequent the businesses on it daily. This seems like a no-brainer to me.

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