NIEZGODA: Brady Street Should Pedestrianize

Graphic+by+Erin+Schneider

Graphic by Erin Schneider

As the city continues to adapt to its growing popularity, Milwaukee must take an important step in the efforts of sustainability, urbanizing the towns and communities of our beloved city. Of the many vibrant and enduring places in our city, Brady Street should be the first one to step into sustainability. 

I believe that Brady Street is an archetypal embodiment of the citizens that reside there. Brady Street was on the first map of Milwaukee made in 1846, meaning the area has seen developments of over 175 years and holds much of the city’s rich culture. From nightlife to food to shopping, Brady Street’s variety embodies the different influxes of people that walk the streets every single day. Places such as Bandit, Dorsia, Peter Scorinto’s Bakery, Jo-Cats, Rochambo and Brady Street Futons keep people returning to the eclectic mix of Milwaukee businesses. 

Recently, there have been plans created to further develop the East Side by building an 11-story hotel on the Corner of Brady and Farwell, as well as a proposed pedestrian zone, which would section off two blocks of Brady Street. The proposed zone would span from around Brady Street Futons near Franklin to Nomad near Warren. 

While the pedestrian zone will take away vehicular traffic, the need for this change is apparent. The district announced funding to study pedestrianization after a hit-and-run incident that killed a pedestrian back in September.

This is a step forward in the right direction to create a sustainable urbanization plan that will help to benefit the citizens of Milwaukee. Sustainable urban development, or urbanization, is the development of cities and communities to make them safe and resilient while creating a better environment for current and future generations.

In creating a sustainable community, the main issues that sustainability helps to eradicate are pollution, weather hazards and social isolation.

Ozone pollution is still a threat in Wisconsin, where Milwaukee county was seen as one of the highest quantities for days with lower air quality due to smog. Recently, there have also been intense and more frequent heavy rains as well as increased frequencies of days with extreme heat in Wisconsin communities, as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports. Further, due to the pandemic, our world is still seeing the negative health effects of the forced pandemic social isolation. 

There is no simple solution to address all of these; however, creating walkable communities within the cities is a starting point.

Walkable communities address health, livability and sustainability.  Within these communities, the need for private cars decreases, which not only lowers air pollution but decreases obesity rates in people, enhances mental health and creates a sense of community identity by fostering social interaction.

Brady Street is the perfect place to implement this new idea of a walkable community in Milwaukee by ensuring pedestrian safety. Brady Street has a vibrant community that is one of the oldest places in Milwaukee. It is a place to socialize, to relax, and spend time with friends.  It will not only promote a healthy life, but in the age of a post-pandemic world, a sense of community is exactly what we should strive for in our growing and changing city. 

Two blocks may not seem like it will solve all of our problems because it won’t. The benefits will not appear overnight and the entire city will not change with only two blocks. However, those two blocks signify a new beginning in a city that must face the change of living sustainably. We are shaped by the spaces we inhabit and the communities that spawn there, meaning we must look at alternatives to help improve our community. 

This story was written by Laura Niezgoda. She can be reached at [email protected]