I attended a meeting with the Capital Neighborhoods neighborhood association and heard Paul Soglin’s thoughts on State St. I didn’t take my super detailed notes, only whatever I could type on my smart phone, but here’s a summary – on a wide range of issues.
APPEARANCE/FEEL OF THE STREET
He is worried about State St. having a “honky tonk” appearance, or ending up like Georgetown. He is trying to make sure that we don’t end up with boring uniformity, or a whole bunch of national retailers.
He has concerns about the taxi cruising and delivery trucks on State St. They have met with the taxi companies and they got 70 to 80 percent compliance from them. However, the taxis on State St. and them being convenient are really important. He wants to explore taxi stands on the corners where there are truck loading zones and at the bottom of State St. where there is a bus stop. The restaurants who do deliveries are still an issue, they are driving for more than 1 block on the street and storing their vehicles on the street while waiting for deliveries.
He is concerned about the sandwich boards combined with the outside seating that make it so that in some areas a wheelchair can’t get through, and he’s going to be a “hard ass” about that. He is also concerned about illegal ATMs, not just the ones with the garish lights. Also concerned about signage in windows taking up more than 20% of the windows. There may be some room for flexibility with those ordinances, but they are being widely ignored. He is interested in getting wayfinding signs for businesses off State St. like he has seen in Philadelphia or Middleton. He is also concerned about the rental signs, where the companies put signs on all their buildings saying they have apartments for rent, but the building they have the signs on don’t have vacancies. I think he was saying the signs can only be up if there are vacancies in that building and is thinking that the signs need to be smaller.
Adjacent property owners should not be able to hear the music from their neighbors.
PARKING ON THE SQUARE
Mayor isn’t sure that was a good idea.
OUTSIDE PATIOS/BUSINESS TYPES ON STATE ST.
Mayor says that there are so many and the sidewalks have become confined in some areas and we are losing the fun and the feel of the wide street. He says he opposed ALDO because it allowed people to drive the prices up with the lock on the liquor licenses in the area, but he is rethinking that. He is concerned about all the places serving beverages, including the coffee shops. He says they can afford to be there because their inventory is the water that is used and they don’t need as much storage area, and dry goods are drying up because they can’t afford the space. He is looking at an overlay district to control the number of restaurants, coffee places and bars in the area.
The mayor had to be asked about the rest of these issues, he didn’t bring them up himself.
“VISITORS AND CAMPERS”
Fred Mohs asked what we were going to do about – well, the homeless, but he didn’t say it – he noted that there are more and more people sleeping in doorways when people go to work in the morning. (Yeah, duh, they used to be at Occupy!) Anyways, the Mayor says he met with Joe Parisi and Leslie Howard from United Way and they are going to address the issues of shelters, the homeless and sleeping in public spaces. United Way will be taking the lead on it. (Which prompted me to ask – what about Community Shares Organizaitons! He said they should be included too.) He said “People should be living in housing, that is the bottom line.” He also noted that the neighborhood conference should be lively because on Oct. 13th when they have the conference we will be talking about the use of public spaces.
PANHANDLING AND LOITERING
Verveer had to ask about these issues. The mayor wants to ban panhandling on all of State St. (I think he means all of the BID area, but my notes are not clear.) He also wants to ban it within a certain distance of a liquor license. He also wants to ban “agressive loitering”. (Oxymoron?) He wants to look at the Milwaukee ordinance that bans aggressive behavior. He told a story about seeing the same person getting taken to detox twice – the last two times he was on State St. He says that we need treatment, there is a problem with the detox services and in some cases people need to be institutionalized and perhaps involuntarily committed.
And then, there’s the cooking sherry. I’ll fill you in on that later . . . once the ad hoc committee on cooking sherry files their report!
Categories: | Madison | Media