S. 2nd Street Complete Streets Effort Moves Forward!
This past Friday a public meeting was held to discuss the reconstruction of S. 2nd Street in Walker’s Point from National Ave. north to the train tracks. As had been proposed here at UrbanMilwaukee.com, and more importantly fought for by business owners in Walker’s Point, the reconstruction will now include many features of a complete street. This project appears to have the full attention of City Hall as Clark Wantoch, Public Works administration and transportation design manager, Rocky Marcoux, Commissioner Department of City Development, and Alderman Jim Witkowiak spoke in strong support of the new design. Alderman Witkowiak explained that “we think that 2nd Street has an excellent future as a retail center,” and that he felt “it’ll mean a lot to the future redevelopment of 2nd Street and the surrounding area.”
Unlike many public meetings, the fear of change was minimal. In fact most of the questions reflected individual business owners trying to figure out if they wanted wider sidewalks or the sod, or even if they could acquire additional street trees. One owner even pushed to include the area from Rockwell to National Avenue in the reconstruction project. Unfortunately, as this section isn’t due for re-pavement the improved sidewalks will wait until a re-paving project is appropriate, though this section of the street will have some improvements including the painted bike lanes, and the reduction of travel lanes. There were some concerns regarding parking during the reconstruction, and one business owner was concerned over the loss of travel lanes, but overall the members in attendance were in strong support of the project, in fact applauding the efforts at the end of the meeting.
This meeting was just the first of many meetings to come regarding the redesign, but this project is both a signal that the City of Milwaukee views Walker’s Point as a critical neighborhood, and a sign that neighborhood business owners and residents believe Walker’s Point is ready to grow.