UWM students re-imagine Capitol Drive corridor

Parking a limiting factor, officials say

April 17, 2013

Shorewood - A group of urban planning graduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have a lot of ideas when it comes to rethinking the Capitol Drive corridor from Oakland Avenue west to the river.

The group presented a redevelopment plan at the Shorewood Library on Tuesday. It detailed specific plans for a number of locations, including the site of the old Pig 'N Whistle at the western edge of the village, the Department of Public Works site behind it along the river, and the green expanse fronting the high school campus commonly referred to as the district's "front lawn."

The goal of the plan, the students said, is to increase overall density, revitalize the area, increase population and promote foot traffic.

While the ideas are just that at this point, the students' work could be adopted when the village reworks its master plan next year.

Village Manager Chris Swartz said that when the village someday forms plans to kickstart development in the area, the Pig 'N Whistle and Baker's Square sites likely would be the first to gain their attention.

Of particular interest to School Board members and Superintendent Martin Lexmond is the front yard, which the UWM students proposed could become a public space meant to accommodate concert series, farmers markets and an ice rink.Lexmond said he would be in favor of "interesting, usable space out front."

School and Village Board members in the audience said that, while they're supportive of an improved corridor, many things need to be taken into account - specifically parking issues and the impact of more rental property in an already rental-heavy area. The students included several garages and parking ramps in their designs.

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