A city committee convened for the first time in nearly a year to begin making plans for reconstruction of the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street.
The city of Madison formed the State Street Design Project Oversight Committee in 2003 to design plans for the reconstruction of the State Street area.
Principal Planner for the City of Madison Bill Fruhling said the committee’s goal is to finish plans for the design by the end of 2013 and complete construction work on State Street during 2014.
“We just want to create a great space within the community,” Fruhling said. “We have been working for several years to reconstruct State Street.”
He said people do not really “hang out” on the 800 block of State Street, but rather use it mainly as a pass through space. Fruhling said the spaces at the end of State Street and Library Mall do not currently work together, and some of the structures create a visual interference.
Fruhling said he wants the committee’s design to create space that provides flexibility over time because it may be used differently 10 or 20 years down the line.
“There’s a lot of things we need to work through and think about,” Fruhling said about the project.
He said one of the issues that needs to be considered is the use of bicycles on Library Mall. Currently bikers are supposed to walk their bikes through the space, but many people do not follow that rule, he said. He said if the committee choose to change the rule to allow bicyclists, it would need a design that to accommodate that.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said he was excited to receive community input because the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street are places all University of Wisconsin students travel through at some point during their time as a student.
Resnick said he expects a lot of feedback on the plan because a large amount of stakeholders will be directly impacted by the plan. He said the plan will have to find a way to accommodate the food carts that traditionally sell food at Library Mall, and also for speakers who have an elevated place to talk at the mall.
Resnick said he will hold meetings at St. Paul’s Church and Pres House to gather input from their members and residents because they will be most closely impacted by the plan.
“It’s unfortunate that there’s more construction,” Resnick said. “There will be a date that it will be finished.”
Resnick said he was shocked by how old some of the area’s utilities are. He said water pipes from 1882 are still in place in the area.
The committee will host 10 meetings over the course of the rest of the year to continue planning for the reconstruction of the end of State Street.