With just a few hours left to respond, community feedback for the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge has shattered expectations, with over 1,800 people weighing in on the future of Lake Monona’s waterfront.
The project has been in the works for years, but back in January the three final design teams presented their designs for the waterfront.
Raj Shukla is the President of the Friends of Lake Monona Waterfront group, a non-profit organization dedicated to reimagining the waterfront. Shukla says that the project is much more than just building a new park.
“Our hope is to not just create new greenspace for the community, but to bring people together in a way that it hasn’t come together (before),” Shukla says. “Right now, we have a big highway that is cutting people off physically, and we’d like to change that by creating an inviting safe space for the community to come together around.”
Since the public first got the chance to view the details of the finalist’s designs, an online survey has been available for folks to give feedback on which of the three designs they think best fits Madison.
The survey doesn’t just ask people which of the three designs they like best. It also asks you to rate the three designs on a sliding scale of how they feel the plans reflect and cater to the community.
For example, one question asks you to rank the plans on how equitable they are, and how likely they appear to allow people of all social, economic, and racial backgrounds to use the space. Another question asks you to rank the designs on how sustainable the designs are, and how much they support the existing natural systems of the area.
Shukla says that, when they first reached out to designers to create plans for the new space, they put forward specific values that they wanted to see emerge from the new waterfront. He says that, now that they’ve narrowed their choices down to three, they want to make sure that the community thinks that the designs still stand behind those values.
“We’re trying to be super consistent,” Shukla says. “Hearing what the community wants, making sure the design teams were creating their designs with an understanding and an integration of what the community wanted, and now having the community evaluate those plans for what we said we wanted in that exhaustive study.”
As for the amount of people who have already responded to the survey, Shukla says that he’s thrilled that so many people want to make their thoughts known.
“I’m not surprised, honestly, that so many people have taken the time to put their minds on this project and express their own opinions, and help shape this into a project that the entire community can get behind,” Shukla says.
The survey will close at midnight tonight, Mike Sturm with the city’s Parks Department says that, due to the number of responses, it will take them a few days to compile and upload all the data, but it should be available on the project’s website later next week.
After that, the city’s Lake Monona Waterfront Ad Hoc Committee will spend the month of April mulling over the responses, and should make a decision on which design will move forward by the end of next month. The committee will then spend the summer ironing out the details of the design before submitting a master plan to the city council in August.
You can find the survey, and detailed information on the three proposed plans, on the city of Madison Parks Division website.
Photos courtesy: WORT Flickr and City of Madison