13th District Alder Forum Workshop – Monroe Street Reconstruction

FOLW&SLP Alder forum (2)

Last week Friends of Lake Wingra and the Edgewood College Sustainability Leadership Program co-hosted an interactive forum where attendees got to meet and interact with the candidates (Sara Eskrich & Zach Madden) running for the alder position in the 13th District.  The topic of the meeting was the upcoming reconstruction of Monroe Street.  The discussion of the reconstruction centered around 4 themes which included water, food/nature, businesses/economics and transportation.  The attendees at the meeting thought of a lot of great ideas that could be implemented during the Monroe Street Reconstruction.  The ideas are summarized below.  Additionally, landscape architecture students from Sam Dennis’s “Open Space Planning and Design” class participated and shared some designs for the area that they created.  We hope to share those plans on our website soon.  As you read through the list of ideas below think about what is important to you about this street reconstruction process.  We encourage you to contact your alder person and and discuss those ideas.  The more people who get involved and ask for change the more likely it becomes that this will not be a “business as usual” reconstruction process!


More visible green infrastructure at Arboretum oak savannah, signage, sitting areas, duck pond, bike trail

More street trees (+1), Pocket Gardens, More infiltration, community gardens, edible landscaping

Road Salt Issue

Develop alternatives to salt, +1 (Suggestion: organic traction material)

Use permeable pavement to reduce the use of road salt, studies have shown that after plowing areas of permeable pavement may melt and dry faster, leading to less ice formation


Increase pedestrian safety (+4), Slow traffic (+3), Crosswalk signals (+1)

Bump out/Curb extensions to prevent passing on the right around a left turning car +1

Bike corridors could be protected by parked cars, Bio swales could be used to protect pedestrians from traffic

Use trees and plantings to visually narrow the street

Reduce traffic lanes to 2 throughout street, turn lanes at intersections and bike lanes +3

Establish park and ride location further out +1

Make crosswalks more visible by using different colors, different materials or artwork

Separated bike lane or Bike Boulevard through the alleyway

Bus Rapid Transit

Concerns about the areas treatment as a commuter artery instead of a neighborhood, try to satisfy both through design

Convince the city to reduce usage as commuter artery

Business/Economic Impact

Maintain Monroe Street parking

Make areas around businesses more of a gathering place,

  • outdoor seating/dining +1
  • plantings paired with sustainable stormwater management
  • edible landscapes
  • planters with seating area built in
  • broad sidewalks
  • Pop up shops
  • Benefits for customers traveling by bike

Shuttle to businesses during construction +1

Construct boardwalks and draw attention to access points to access businesses during construction

Offer behind the scenes tours during construction of how sustainable infrastructure is built (+3)

Farmers Market at Wingra Park

Eco-District: could be a way to draw people in as a destination area


Rain Garden in Wingra Park, Rain gardens along the whole street, Green roofs, rainwater harvesting

Talk about stormwater and salt together and maximize infiltration

Use area to test and monitor different ideas as a city wide pilot project

Placemaking & Crazy Legs

Green Roofs on Monroe Street businesses with ivy covered stairways as an invitation to go up and see

Bus stop, waiting areas should be used for placemaking+1

Water Feature in Crazy Legs Triangle and/or traffic circle with green space, treat Crazy Legs as an entrance to the neighborhood

Outdoor seating/Gathering Areas/Bike Parking/Food Carts/Pop up shops at Crazy Legs Park

Create signage of history of Monroe Street Area to display at “Crazy legs Park” (+1)

Do a mural – smART (sustainability + Madison + art project – Sustain Dane project)

Advertise the “green” aspect and use interpretive signage to raise awareness


Supportive of education efforts for sustainability

Like the idea of neighborhood involvement to improve the process

Bury the power lines

Branding as a Green Street has a charm factor

Make the “green district” tangible, it should mean something

Raise awareness of salt problem and the hazard posed to the lakes as well as drinking water.

Encourage collaboration between city planning and engineering