S. 2nd Street Redevelopment Concept Gains Momentum
The June 24th, 2009 Public Works Committee Meeting was a good day for the efforts to rebuild S. 2nd street as a complete street. The Department of Public Works presented three options as possibilities for the rebuilding of S. 2nd Street. The first option was to simply resurface the street, with essentially no pedestrian improvements. The second option would resurface the street at the same width, but would included painted bike lanes, reduced travels lanes, and street trees. The third option was the closest to being a complete street, it included narrowing the roadway with wider sidewalks, a street reconstruct, one travel lane in each direction, bike lanes, and street trees. Clark Wontoch, of the Department of Public Works, indicated the department is open to the complete street option.
The complete street option is valuable, because it takes people in mind when constructing a street, not just automobile traffic, with the thought of creating a livable community, and spurring economic development. Juli Kaufmann, a partner with Pragmatic Construction Co., described the concept saying “it looks at street as, a community, a neighborhood in itself,” and added that “it’s an economic opportunity.” The idea being that a complete street is more than a street, it is a place, where people are comfortable to walk, sit out, chat, and interact. It accomplishes this goal by utilizing street trees to create shade and shelter from the rain, by narrowing streets and minimizing travel lanes to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety, and with aesthetic improvements to make the overall experience more appealing. Alderman Jim Witkowiak explained that by making these type of improvements “we can have some real quality development, if we treat the street properly.” The idea of utilizing TIF funds if the state wasn’t to support the project was suggested and championed by Alderman Robert Bauman as a way to insure this project moves forward.
To get and idea of the buildings that currently exist along S. 2nd Street, and the potential for redevelopment we’ve provided a photo gallery of the area.