Monster 2016 Willy Street Fair Parade Gallery

wsf2016_14

Willy Street Fair Parade - 2016

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Willy Street May Become a ‘Bus-ling’ Corridor

Alder wants Metro to study making temporary route permanent

Will the old pavement not be the only thing gone from Jenifer after reconstruction is finished?

Will the old pavement not be the only thing gone from Jenifer Street after reconstruction is finished?

Any traveler on Willy Street, be it by foot, bicycle or horseless carriage, knows it just takes more time to negotiate the heavily utilized thoroughfare; choked with traffic that barely makes it to the posted speed limit except during rush hours.

Conversely, the traffic flows much more freely on Jenifer Street,  a street that once held trolley cars. Now devoid of stop signs for six blocks, it is a veritable expressway that holds bicycles, buses and transient cars that try to escape Willy and their own speed control.

Traffic on Jenifer is too darn fast, it has always been over the last four decades of my own existence living on or nearby. But the reconstruction is bringing about a rare opportunity to test a thought neighbors have been having for years: Moving the bus routes to Williamson.

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New Reporter to Expand Reach of Willy Street Blog

Hire part of new focus after recent headquarters relocation

Recently, Willy Street Blog has undergone a deliberative process to realign editorial focus following a change in permanent headquarters in February.  As part of this process, we are pleased to announce at 12:08 a.m. April 11, 2016 the addition of Silas Faisal Guyot (8 lbs. 19 inches) as Assistant Editor in charge of our Nuclear Family Desk.

Silas was recently named the 2016 Marcia Brady Fellow at the prestigious Sibling Rivalry School at the University of Southern North Dakota. His groundbreaking thesis on the link between the 1970s children’s program “New Zoo Revue” and the meth epidemic in America has already cemented his status as a leading light in child development reporting.

“Reporters are not made, they are born, said Willy Street Blog Editor Fareed Guyot. “We are fortunate to have Silas on our team considering his glittering credentials.”

At the Willy Street Blog, Silas will focus on topics that will probe the root causes of vexing sibling issues such as: Whose toy is it really? Why he won’t stop bothering me? And if “mom truly loves me more than you”.

WSB’s Infant Sustainability Bureau Editor and brother Salah was effusive in his praise after meeting his new co-worker.

“I’m older than you”, Salah said.

Willy Street Blog Art Director Jamie Guyot did not comment, as is her policy, but was seen with a glowing smile following the announcement and is doing fine.

Warning of a Treepocalypse

Jenifer residents hopeful some trees can still be saved

Will the Jenifer Street tree canopy survive reconstruction and a short-sighted City tree policy?

Will the Jenifer Street tree canopy survive reconstruction and a short-sighted City tree policy?

City of Madison forestry crews have begun to trim trees on Jenifer street ahead of a four block reconstruction project that will last most of the year. Forty two trees are slated for removal. Many are being removed because they are being ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer or may be at risk.

In the face of the loss of legacy trees comes pushback from residents over the City’s policy on replacing those trees with a species that grows no taller than the base of the power lines. Lifelong residents and newer arrivals are fighting like mad as the idyllic beauty of the street is being threatened by a functional policy that takes a tactical rather than strategic view.

A silent protest arose on the 800 and 900 block of Jenifer recently as signs affixed to many of the condemned trees sought to remind residents of the coming of a possible treepocalypse.

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Adjusting Focus

Willy Street Blog is confronted by geography

The Willy Street Blog may be zooming out, but will always keep 'the street' in the frame.

The Willy Street Blog may be zooming out, but will always keep ‘the street’ in the frame.

In about two weeks the Willy Street Blog will celebrate four years of chronicling Near East Side life. It hasn’t been the definitive voice of the neighborhood as I, the only writer on staff, have focused on ubran development, impacts of city projects in the neighborhood and our glorious leisure businesses and community events.

For the Willy Street area that is a lot to cover and I have focused on what I felt was quite interesting and consequential to our neighborhood and honestly, what I have had time for. Lately I have not had much time for anything and that is what this post is about.

I was born and formatively influenced in this neighborhood. For the last forty-plus years I have on and off lived within it’s “mom always wants you to visit” embrace. It has been my permanent home and the identity I have represented to others throughout my whole life.

Seeing the Williamson-Marquette neighborhood evolve into the most enviable place to live, and for many just be; is ratification of the efforts of my elders and their progeny. We never stopped loving this place when the rest of the city, at times, smirked and chortled.

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Chances Dwindling To Influence Jenifer Street Reconstruction

Neighborhood seeks to change scope of construction with recommendations

Jeni10The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) will consider tonight (7:00 p.m.) several proposals deal with the impact of the Jenifer Street Reconstruction project that will begin this summer. The MNA Traffic Committee met Monday and debated a range of issues, some related to the construction, others regarding the legacy the construction will leave behind.

During construction, bus service will have to be rerouted. Currently as many as four routes traverse Jenifer Street and Madison Metro’s latest proposal has the bus routes moved to East Washington Avenue. The general sentiment has been that this solution is easiest for Metro and rather inconvenient for neighborhood residents who utilize this service heavily.

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Saving Trees From the Ground Up

Proposal would allow higher tree heights on terraces currently limited by powerlines

Undergrounding_Lateral_CW

The Guyot house (right) has had this power pedestal outside their home since they undergrounded their power lateral in the late 1970s. MNA is considering a proposal to underground the primary power lines to maintain the high tree canopy which is threatened by MG&E’s tree planting policy.

The once-delayed major reconstruction or a four block stretch of Jenifer Street is moving forward again but residents are still working to blunt the impact of what may be stark changes to the look and function of the street.

The most recent initiative from neighbors is to advocate for the undergrounding of the primary power lines to help maintain the current tree canopy. The fabled canopy is under a dual threat from forced removal of trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer and any replacement trees being of a species that grows no higher than below the current power lines.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association Board (MNA) will vote this week via email to forward a recommendation to the City of Madison to include partial undergrounding of the primary power lines to help preserve the tree canopy. The initiative grew out of a series of meetings on the Jenifer reconstruction that have been held in the past months by MNA.

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PCBs Still Present Along Bike Path Next to Kipp

Environmental and Safety Coordinator Alina Satkoski notified Atwood area residents today (January 4) that the last excavation of soils did not remove all of the PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyl) that were found  last year along the Capital City Trail bike Path between Madison-Kipp and the Goodman Center.

Satkoski wrote that a second excavation will occur this week and continue through the next to remove more soil in a plan she says was approved by the City of Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The bike path will remain open during the excavation.

Neighbors have kept a close eye on Kipp due to several ongoing issues from historical contamination of area soils from the industrial business operations over the decades. In the past the company has had to excavate topsoil from several properties that abut the plant due to contamination.

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The Fires of Renewal

Winter Solstice celebration at Olbrich only missing pretty snow cover

The twice annual Solstice bonfire at Olbrich Park. This celebrated the Winter Solsice. December 22, 2015.

The Winter Solstice bonfire, part of a twice annual Solstice celebration held at Olbrich Park on December 22, 2015.

The Solstice is one of the more accessible and life affirming holidays celebrated in Madison and it occurs twice a year! Centered around the astronomical cycles of the sun and the earth, the Solstice is a recognition and reaffirmation of our connection to Mother Earth.

The history of the Solstice reminds us that it is not a single deity or a collection of them that truly drives our existence; it is the natural rhythms of the earth that shaped humanity over time. This recognition is very popular in Madison with many Solstice celebrations held around the city.

Our northern city endures the ravages of winter and the tradition of a bonfire is attractive to our residents as, like in pre-Christian times, it signifies the return of heat and light from the sun after it has spent six months retreating from us.

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Olds Building May Become Concrete Lofts

McGrath Property Group proposes lofts and a new 5-story building along bike path

McGrathOverhead_CWThe McGrath Property Group is trying where The Baldwin Group has failed, to redevelop on the north side of the 700 block of Willy Street. In a letter sent to District 6 Alder Marsha Rummel, McGRath Principal Lance McGrath said that his company has accepted an offer to purchase 714-722 Williamson Street which includes the Morris Paper/Olds Seed building and the adjacent parking lot.

McGrath plans to turn the Olds building into 40-50 “Concrete Lofts” featuring 11-foot ceilings, exposed duct work and brick walls along with large windows; all the features which McGrath says will be unique to Madison. The first floor will likely feature commercial/retail use and they plan to add one or two levels to the building in pursuit of the loft concept.

In addition conversion of the current structure, McGrath proposes to build a five-story building running east-west abutting the Capital City Trail bike path on the north side of the current parking lot. This building will feature 80-90 units with parking at the ground floor and one level underground.

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