Future of Madison: Plans Outlined for City, Campus Initiatives

The University of Wisconsin has been a mainstay in Madison since the city's founding 149 years ago.

Wednesday Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz reflected on the past and looked ahead.

"Here's the catch. Our quality of life is based in part on our manageable size," he said to a group at the Downtown Rotary Club, "But our manageable size attracts more people which could damage the very quality of life that makes people want to come here."

That's why the mayor is proposing 12 projects he hopes to see completed by 2015.

His "Imagine Madison" initiative includes 2 more swimming pools, a new central library, the revitalization of the East Isthmus, more neighborhood parks and something dear to his heart, streetcars.

"Giving transportation consumers more options, that's really what it's about. We're not going to rule out cars, we're not anti–car."

Transportation is an issue the city is working on alongside the university.

Director of UW Planning and Landscape Architecture, Gary Brown, says, "We've been spending a lot of time with the mayor's staff talking about transportation systems on campus and how people move around not only on campus but to campus."

The university's "Campus Master Plan" released Tuesday focuses on 4 areas over a 20 year period: transportation on campus, development, utility systems and open green space.

"As we develop new buildings we know that in some areas it's going to be much more urban," says Brown, "Which means we need to have urban court yards and urban green spaces potentially quadrangles of space where people can gather outside in the warm months."

Both university and city officials say they hope their future plans will spur a community-wide discussion about what's best for the area in the years ahead.

The city will announce a third initiative, a comprehensive plan, next month, which will propose rewriting the city's zoning and land use policies.

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