Lights, anyone? Walking or driving, it's not pretty.
Lights, anyone? Walking or driving, it's not pretty.
How would you brighten this passage?
How would you brighten this passage?
How about some paint?
How about some paint?

This passage needs some love

The sidewalk areas passing under I-794 between the Historic Third Ward and Downtown are dark, gloomy and uninspiring.  

Some may say that’s what freeways and sidewalks are.  They are, if you will, what they are.  Yet this passage way serves as the main gateway between Downtown proper and the Third Ward.  It’s used daily by residents, workers and visitors.  

Even on the brightest and most beautiful day, it’s gloomy.  At night, it’s (of course) even darker and intimidating for many.

Design matters.  Always.  And while there’s been some thought and idea making around how to improve this eyesore there’s been no movement.  Things happen as they should, I know, but it’s time to do something to better activate this dank space.  

Greg Patin from the City of Milwaukee tells me that a recent design contest to "brighten the passage," has momentum and that the City has been "working with WISDOT at regular meeting trying to get the concepts incorporated into the design of the new replacement freeway."  Patin added that he’s "hoping (for) significant impact.  This is good news. 

My thoughts?  Add lighting, a public park, swings (like here), painting, public art, mini soccer fields. dodge ball fields, creative outdoor patios.  Anything, really, would make this area more attractive.

I love Downtown and the Third Ward.  Yet, better connections will help both continue to grow.

Talkbacks

MSFDesign | June 18, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. (report)

The underpass as well as the parking adjacent to the Market are dark and bothersome. Perhaps incorporate solar powered LED lighting with colorful, artisitc patterns to uplift the users. 2 way switching for nightime vs. daytime would be smart. Better yet, highly reflective painting schemes on the ceiling would direct more daylight into the space. It would also be fun to install, via an Arts Grant, a highly reflective ceiling (mirror like) so passers by could have fun seeing their surroundings and themselves upside down. Hope to see it done!

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Sidewinder | June 18, 2013 at 2:37 p.m. (report)

I have been walking through that small dark tunnel under 794 (at Jefferson) to get between my office and my paid parking for 5 years and it is the only place in the city that I have ever been threatened. And it is a routine occurrence with the predators or transients that know they will be able to work over those who have no choice but to go through there. I would never suggest a female try to maneuver that alone, our company even has a security watch assigned to escort anyone after dark. To that end, no business looking for customers from downtown should expect anyone to come out through there aside from the Festivals.

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wirsteve | June 18, 2013 at 1:58 p.m. (report)

Agreed. That gets used so much during Summerfest, it should look good.

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