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Asked: Where do Madisonians want to see pedestrian-friendly areas?

We’re exploring where the Isthmus need more infrastructure to support walkability.

608today John Nolen aerial

What would John Nolen look like with less car accessibility and better pedestrian infrastructure?

Photo by @kjwfoto

Even with gas prices down over a dollar since June, we’re still kind of over our cars. It’s the Capitol Square parking + South Blair hairball intersection for us.

While Madison’s walkability score is 50 — “somewhat walkable” — it’s undeniably easier to travel by car in the 608. There are however certain walkable districts + streets. Let’s explore this type of infrastructure in Madison, and then we’re asking you where you think the next walkable district should be.

How does a pedestrian-only street work?

Pedestrian-only streets prioritize foot traffic in areas with a high density of walkers by completely restricting vehicular access. These districts are commonly lined with restaurants and shops + are linked to economic benefits for local businesses. (Think: 700 + 800 block of State Street.)

And a shared street?

Shared streets — both commercial + residential — allow outdoor use by converting whole blocks to pedestrian priority areas. That means vehicles are allowed, but traffic will be reduced or slowed by redirecting or narrowing space for driving. (Think: the mini street running through Hilldale.) Emergency vehicle access, ADA parking, and loading zones will still be available.

We’ve talked the talk, now let’s walk the walk in some of the Madison’s pedestrian friendly areas:

  • State Street | This mile-long stretch is anchored between the Capitol Square and the UW-Madison campus — Madison’s first pedestrian mall.
  • Dudgeon-Monroe | This laidback, vibrant retail and dining hub is perfect for tchotchke collectors + fashionistas
  • Schneck-Atwood | The quirky + newwave neighborhood offers lots of development on Madison’s east side.
  • Williamson-Marquette | The bohemian area is known as a haven for foodies, sustainability geeks + festival lovers.

Still, the heel-toe express lacks in comparison to motor travel even around the Isthmus.
Our question for you: If Madison were to introduce pedestrian-only + shared streets, where would they be? Let us know + your ideas could be featured in an upcoming newsletter.

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