A city committee worked to incorporate community feedback into the designs for the reconstruction of Library Mall and State Street at a public meeting Tuesday.
The State Street Design Project Oversight Committee discussed input given by community members regarding the reconstruction of the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street and Library Mall.
The city and the University of Wisconsin are working together to create a space that would be more flexible and inclusive of the Madison community, according to a UW statement.
The city will reconstruct the State Street portion of the project first, beginning in 2014, and UW will base its plans for Library Mall on those designs, the statement said.
Jason DiPiazza of MSA Professional Services, Inc., an engineering firm working on the project, said the design team is trying to be as open as possible about the reconstruction and held the meeting because they wanted to understand what people value about the space.
DiPiazza said comments made by attendees’ of the meeting had several reoccurring themes.
Many people said they do not like the excessive concrete infrastructure that currently occupies Library Mall and said they would like to see softer features and more color in the new design, DiPiazza said.
Another popular comment from many people was a desire to make the space more usable, particularly in the winter and summer, DiPiazza said.
“We’re trying to figure how to expand the seasons for Library Mall,” Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said. “We’re trying to figure out what lighting patterns would make it more of a festive spot.”
Right now, Library Mall is active until around 9 p.m., Resnick said. It is important to figure out how to expand the hours until midnight and continue to promote entertainment in the space, he said. People would also like to see more seating space added in the area to keep the mall a place for visitors to hang out, he said.
The safety of the intersections surrounding the area was also at the forefront of discussion at the meeting, DiPiazza said. Several people wanted to promote pedestrians over vehicles on Langdon Street, he said. The safety of crosswalks to Memorial Union and East Campus Mall needed to be addressed in the designs, he said.
DiPiazza said the next step for the project will be to set up a camera somewhere on Library Mall to help gauge the foot and bicycle traffic in the area.
The public meeting was the first of three the city will hold to discuss the design proposals, according to committee chair Ted Crabb. The next meeting will be held in June, he said.