Monroe Street Reconstruction Alliance

Monroe St Alliance logo

Friends of Lake Wingra has been involved over the last several months in an effort called Greening Monroe Street.  The mission of Greening Monroe Street is that the Monroe Street Reconstruction be a sustainable process for the residents, businesses, the Wingra Watershed and the City of Madison.  Our main partners in this effort have been Wisconsin Environmental Initiative and Edgewood College Sustainability Leadership Program.  We worked together on the Greening of the Monroe Street Festival to demonstrate what kind of ideas could be incorporated into the upcoming reconstruction of Monroe Street.  We also joined together with other partners and the 13th District Alder Person Sara Eskrich to advocate for funding for the reconstruction project when it was cut from the City budget.  Through these efforts the funding was successfully re-established and the reconstruction is currently planned for 2018, with pedestrian safety improvements planned for 2016.  Alder Eskrich also successfully worked to pass a resolution to reconstruct Monroe Street as a “Green” Street.
Friends of Lake Wingra’s primary interest in this project is the protection of Lake Wingra, which we have been working toward with the Lake Wingra Watershed Management Plan.  We believe that there is opportunity in this reconstruction project to add in elements that will help to meet the three goals of the plan which are reducing phosphorus and chlorides in stormwater runoff and increasing infiltration throughout the watershed.  Options such as adding rain gardens, bioswales, street trees with Silva cells, pervious pavement, and reducing salt usage on Monroe Street (and elsewhere) are all steps that could be taken to protect Lake Wingra and start to implement the watershed management plan.
Our efforts at Greening Monroe Street will continue as the project moves forward, today we wanted to make our Friends aware of another effort that we are involved with, the Monroe Street Reconstruction Alliance.  This effort has come together mainly through work by the Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association.  We received the following letter from the DMNA president Tyler Leeper that we wanted to share.  We will continue to keep you informed about our involvement in the project and ways that you can get involved in the future.
I am so impressed and grateful for all of the work that you and the sustainability class at Edgewood has done to explore the possibilities for Monroe Street. I did want to let you know that the couple involved in the horrible accent on Nov. 19 are recovering. The two pedestrians were left in critical condition as they crossed Monroe Street at the Lewis Court crosswalk.  This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that our safety is put at risk by the fast speeds, unaware drivers and general design of Monroe Street.
Over the last couple of months the DMNA has had a number of listening and strategic goal setting sessions. From these sessions has come our 2016-17 goal to foster and communicate a collaborative vision for Monroe Street reconstruction. The importance of improving Monroe Street was illustrated with the Nov. 19 accident. We see our mission as incorporating all voices and working with the many stakeholders to ensure that the project in 2018 considers much more than commuter traffic needs.
We are privileged to have Alder Sara Eskrich, as an active advocate in supporting a safe Monroe Street. She introduced and passed a resolution for $150,000 towards safety improvements on Monroe Street in 2016. There is also over $9,000,000 currently in funding for reconstructing Monroe Street for 2018. This reconstruction provides us with a real opportunity to re-imagine Monroe Street. How might this street, the heart of our neighborhood, be redesigned? Could we have outdoor seating, a bike lane, additional stop lights, more parking, rain gardens or miniature parks?
As a Friend of Lake Wingra you are a major stakeholder in the health, vitality and quality of our neighborhood. We need your input and ideas as we move forward. We ask you to:
1) to join the Facebook Group, MONROE STREET RECONSTRUCTION ALLIANCE to add your voice and ideas to the dialogue and stay connected to the project.
2) share this group with others that live, shop or generally care about Monroe Street.
3) Stay involved. Stay positive. This project is not slated until 2018 which is a ways off. Also there are many different stakeholders with different cares. Not all will agree and sometimes desires may conflict with each other, but we can stay positive and productive with a “what’s best for the neighborhood” focused process.
We believe we can create a safe street, a complete street, which will continue to make our neighborhood a destination and improve the quality of life for those who live, work and visit Monroe Street. Thank you for your involvement and efforts!
Tyler Leeper,
Dudgeon Monroe Neighborhood Association President