Maureen Connors Badding arrived in Wauwatosa 22 years ago via Buffalo and Phoenix. She's a freelance writer and habitual volunteer who enjoys book clubs, travel, entertaining and cheering for her daughter's swim team.
If you've ever tried to shop, go to a restaurant or watch a movie on North Avenue, this blog is for you.
RDG Planning & Design, the firm hired to create a master plan for North Avenue's future, has great ideas for bringing businesses and customers back to North Avenue, but they're looking for your great ideas too. They've developed a detailed survey, including photos of other similar projects, to get input from as many community stakeholders as possible.
To fill out the survey, go to the East Tosa North Avenue District Plan homepage. (http://www.rdgusa.com/crp/wauwatosa/)
I've had the privilege to sit in on a few input meetings with RDG, and I have to say the overall impression they convey is that of competence, experience and comfort: They know what they're doing, and that makes me feel comfortable that they'll lead North Avenue in the right direction. (Bravo to the North Avenue Neighborhood Alliance and city's Community Development Department for bringing them on board.)
I'm also impressed with the input from area business owners, customers and residents. The scope and depth of the planning is impressive. For example:
• The Chicane (bumped out corners) hasn't actually slowed traffic; instead it has encouraged drivers to speed up as they weave through an unnervingly serpentine path. Also, the Chicane has reduced parking spots and affected bus safety.
• Traffic signals at 60th, 68th and 76th streets haven't succeeded in slowing traffic adequately to allow safe crossing of the street at intersections in between.
• The current sidewalk has numerous handicap access issues.
• There are more personal service shops (nail and hair salons) on North Avenue than retail shops or restaurants. The ratio isn't in line with a community where the average household income is more than $75,000.
Dozens of issues like these are covered in the survey, so please take a few minutes to thoughtfully fill it out.
Then, mark your calendars for August 30, September 1 and September 2. RDG is hosting a "charrette," which is urban planning speak for an intense, collaborative design session. Representatives from RDG will meet with the public in a series of input sessions that will result in an increasingly evolved plan. Times and locations will be announced on the City and North Avenue websites.
Finally, stop by the Chili'n on the Avenue Chili Cook-off this Saturday, July 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Go to the East Tosa website for details.