Jeramey Jannene

“Active Streets” Through Humboldt Park Scaled Back

Reconfiguration doesn't provide increased access to many amenities cited by the county, but does provide shortcut for motorists.

By - Jul 17th, 2020 07:30 pm
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Active Streets closure of roads through Humboldt Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Active Streets closure of roads through Humboldt Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County Parks is scaling back the size of a program to provide extra recreation space to pedestrians and cyclists in favor of offering direct motor vehicle access to a beer garden in Humboldt Park.

The parks department closed the entire parkway through the park in early May as part of the Active Streets campaign designed to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists in the wake of social distancing guidance. In addition to the Bay View park, the Little Menomonee Parkway, parkways through Jackson Park and Grant Park and a number of city streets were closed to motor vehicle traffic or had signs placed to prevent through traffic.

A notice posted Friday afternoon says barriers will be removed in much of Humboldt Park. “The Active Street area at Humboldt Park has been changed to allow for increased accessibility for all the amenities in Humboldt Park for disabled users, including the lagoon, wading pool, Vine Humboldt Beer Garden and playground,” says the social media post.

The only portion that will remain closed runs from S. Pine Ave. and E. Oklahoma Ave. north to the parkway extension of E. Idaho St. near the pavilion.

The opening will provide direct automobile access to the beer garden, which opened in late June, but it doesn’t improve access to any of the other locations listed.

The wading pool is located in the southwest corner of the park, near S. Howell Ave. and the portion of the parkway that will remain closed to motor vehicles. The playground is adjacent to the portion of the parkway that remains closed as well. The lagoon was, even with the closure, always directly accessible via E. Idaho St. on the park’s northeastern edge

The barricades, installed in partnership with the Wisconsin Bike Fed and the city, were set back from intersections to accommodate handicap user dropoff and pickups. Street parking around the park has not been restricted by the program.

The change comes as the city’s Department of Public Works narrowed driving lanes on E. Oklahoma Ave. and S. Howell Ave. in the past week to improve safety for all road users. The change to the Active Streets program now provides a shortcut for motorists through the park, instead of a stub-end access point to the beer garden via E. Idaho St.

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Categories: Parks, Transportation

One thought on ““Active Streets” Through Humboldt Park Scaled Back”

  1. Bill Sell says:

    I walk this park regularly. When I first saw the barricades I was not clear on the published goal, allowing for pedestrian activity on the roadway. It felt strange. Walking on the road still felt like walking on the road. If this effort returns, I would suggest appointments to the street, to make it clear it is pedestrian. Nothing permanent – allowing for tweaks and change.

    Suggestions: bike racks, tables, benches would clarify without confusion that the area is for pedestrians. Having the VINE out on the road in front of the pavilion was brilliant. It totally squelched the claustrophobia that the beer garden suffered from the beginning: hidden from view, as if Milwaukee is embarrassed over beer.

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