The State Street Design Project is one step closer to reality after the city’s Downtown Coordinating Committee’s Wednesday approval of recommendations for the project.
The design project will now move on to the City Council April 9.
Included in the committee’s list of recommendations are implementing a study to determine the feasibility of moving buses off the 100 and 200 blocks of State Street, encouraging public art on the street, and constructing a sample piece of the proposed granite strip for the public to consider.
While members of the committee agreed that removing bus routes from the first two blocks of the street should be considered, City engineer Larry Nelson said Madison Metro might have a problem accommodating the change.
“I can’t see a way for how we would do it,” Nelson said. “It would be a great asset, but how do we do it?”
Project funding also received attention, as committee chair Mary Lang Sollinger questioned the use of outside design firms to create bus shelters. She said several aesthetically appealing and cost-efficient models exist through product catalogs, and hiring outside firms would raise expenditures.
“We can spend a lot less money buying off the shelf,” Sollinger said. “We’ve got to be practical.”
But despite concerns, committee members approved a recommendation to request proposals for potential designs of the bus shelters.
But Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, pointed out that no money is tied to the design proposals and that purchasing shelters from a catalog may not fit the overall look of the street.
Despite some disagreement about design elements, committee members were able to move forward.
“We cleared a huge hurdle tonight,” Verveer said.
Also at the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to approve a resolution supporting a mid-State Street parking ramp to be built on the current Buckeye parking lot next to Pizzeria Uno, 222 W. Gorham St.