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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

City residents advocate traffic reduction plan for South 2nd Street

Some residents and business owners who live and work near South Second Street in the Walker’s Point neighborhood are supporting a plan to reduce traffic on that street and make it more pedestrian-friendly.

2ndThe project would narrow the street between National Avenue and the Menomonee River from 58 to 50 feet and would cut traffic lanes down from two in each direction to one. The reconfiguration would also allow for a new bike lane in the street. The sidewalks would be extended and would allow room for trees to be planted curbside.

The city originally planned to resurface the road in 2008, but property owners wanted more to be done to alleviate vibration problems caused by traffic’s proximity to buildings, said Clark Wantoch, a transportation design manager with the city Department of Public Works.

Several property owners on 2nd Street and residents nearby are in favor of the reconfiguration. Julie Kaufmann, who lives on Third Street and owns Pragmatic Construction at 255 W. Bruce St., said changes like those proposed would help turn the street into a “complete street” with a warmer community feel, instead of a bleak thoroughfare for vehicles moving in and out of the city. She also said the reconstruction would help support local business.

The reduction in traffic lanes and the bike lane addition would help slow traffic on the street and make it more pedestrian-friendly, said Ursula Twombly, president of the Walker’s Point Association, which supports the plan.

Randy Nass is the managing owner of real estate firm Next Development Group LLC, which operates apartments at 191 S. Second St. He said the proposed redevelopment of the street could foster revitalization of the neighborhood, which has seen a net loss of businesses in the current economy.

Some area property owners aren’t as optimistic about the potential reconstruction. Mike Sanfelippo, who owns the American United Taxi Cab Service at 646 S. Second St., said the narrowing of the street would lead to traffic problems and drivers using other routes to get to their destinations.

That, in turn, would lead to a decrease in business, he said.

Ald. James Witkowiak, 12th district representative, supports the plan and said future development on South Second Street has a lot to do with how “user-friendly” the renovations are.

“What we do on that street is going to affect that street for the next 100 years,” Witkowiak said.

There is also potential to rehabilitate some vacant buildings as residential developments, said Nathan Bernstein, owner of the Downtown Mini Warehouse at 170 S. Second St.

Witkowiak is holding a community informational session on Dec. 7 at Bradley Technology and Trade High School, 700 S. Fourth St. The Common Council’s Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the issue at City Hall on Dec. 9.

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