Jenifer Street Reconstruction 2nd Neighborhood Meeting a Success! (12/13/15)

By Gary Tipler, MNA Traffic Committee, 12/13/2015

The second of two neighborhood meetings to gain neighbor feedback on the Jenifer Street Construction was held December 2 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church meeting room. The consultants of Urban Assets, hired by MNA, organized the meeting to have three topical areas in which many people rotated in order to have opportunities to discuss the problems and opportunities in topic areas: traffic safety, construction vibration, and green amenities including trees. It was attended by about 60 people, including several city staff and a representative from MG&E and one from Metro. Six members of the MNA Traffic Committee, three MNA Board members and Alder Marsha Rummel were present. Many residents with experience in the areas of pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and construction vibration issues also attended.

It was the second of three meetings for the project. The first meeting was held several weeks earlier had been conducted very differently and was largely informational with little time to discuss issues. In that meeting there was a break-out session to view the on-site dimensions of street narrowing at the crosswalks for pedestrians. Following the three topical group discussions, residents were each given a batch of colored dots to mark the particular items of interest within the topic areas.

Here’s quick review of the topics that garnered the greatest interest from the neighborhood survey and first two meetings:

  • Narrowing the streets with the 5-feet-wide pedestrian bump-out curbs on one of each the sides of crosswalks. The bump-out is a street narrowing device to allow pedestrians to be more visible to drivers and to shorten the distance at crosswalks. The narrowing by a total of two feet elsewhere was evenly split due to the apprehension of conflict of uses, though widening terraces to improve tree health wasn’t adequately discussed.
  • Undergrounding high-voltage electrical wires to preserve existing canopy trees and the future for planting them. These are the only ones that need to be removed to avoid costly and unsightly pruning every few years, and will permit the planting of canopy trees tall enough to provide shade, cool the air, etc.
  • Control building-damaging vibrations by identifying the problem machinery and methods and specifications to incorporate controls in the bid request documents and provide standards for monitoring adherence to contracts. The planning effort grew out of a call for greater neighborhood involvement in the planning discussion to address problems that hadn’t received attention. Jenifer Street had last been rebuilt in 1977, widening it to its present width of 40 feet, from 30 feet. At that time neighbors on the 1300 block of Jenifer protested the widening and it was rebuilt at 30 feet wide east of Baldwin Street.

The reconstruction planning is being coordinated by City Engineering with Lisa Coleman and Christy Bachmann, the principal contacts. The meeting was attended by staff from the Planning Department, Water Utility, Traffic Engineering, and Madison Metro. Alder Marsha Rummel attended. The Jenifer Street Reconstruction planning Project was aided with a grant from the City of Madison Planning Department. The lead consultant for the project is Zia Brucaya of Urban Assets.

Specific information and findings will be posted on the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s Jenifer Street Reconstruction web page by mid-January.

For more information email MNA Board mnaboard@marquette-neighborhood.org.