City of

District 15

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Contact Information

Home Address:

4117 Major Ave.
Madison , WI 53716

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Ahrens’ Updates

Unpaved streets, supported housing and a new year...

December 31, 2013 5:49 PM

Happy New Year to All:

Unpaved Streets: About half of the streets in the 15th District are not completely paved or are "unimproved." For the most part, these neighborhoods south of Cottage Grove Road are maintained with basic asphalt mixes. These areas were annexed by the City after the homes were built and the streets were constructed. They rarely have sidewalks or curbs or gutters.

Because the streets have only rough pavement that are especially prone to potholes and cracks. The pavement deteriorates in the winter as water seeps in and expands in the winter. As a result of the dips and patchwork quality, the streets cannot be plowed and cleared with the same efficiency as the paved and "Improved streets."

Residents often ask why the City doesn't pave their streets- after all we're (I live on an unpaved street) taxpayers. The City established a policy (at the time of the annexations) that streets would be paved only if curbs and gutters were installed at the same time. Curbs and gutters operate as a seam that "holds the pavement in place." They also regulate storm water and create a uniform street size.

Residents have to pay for about half of the cost of the construction of the curb and gutter. This is because the residents who bought homes that had curbs and gutters paid for it in the purchase of their homes. Depending on the size of your lot or if you live on a corner- as I do- it can cost quite a bit. The general sense of the most residents is that they would rather not have the streets paved if they can save money on the curb and gutter.

Sidewalks are, of course, much more costly. The major problem in their construction is not only the cost but the fact that substantial portions of our home lots would be removed along with up to half of the trees in our area. That's a very high cost. These problems would not be associated with the construction of curbs and gutters.

If you live in a neighborhood where you want your streets improved and are ready to pay for curbs and gutters, it is worth discussing the proposal with your neighbors and get their opinions as well. If there is significant interest in making this change contact me and we can discuss it with the Engineering Department as well as you as your overall community to see if there is support for new streets.

Construction of Supported Living Apartments: Last week, the City informed me that it is considering building 60 units of 'supported living units" for people who either homeless or living with others on a temporary basis. The address of the proposed site is 709 Rethke Ave. It's just off of Washington Ave, next door to Aloha Inn.

I have told city officials that I have substantial misgivings about the project. First, it's next to the Aloha Inn- which has had a variety of problems for years. Second, it's adjacent to a neighborhood that has ahd its share of problems and is now upgrading housing and working to reduce social problems. There is no indication that this development would spur improvements in the area.

I don't see these questions or objections as a case of NIMBY (Noy-In-My-Back-Yard). There are many other lots for sale in the city. Many of those lots are close to bus sevice and closer to downtown. But the proposed location may mean trouble for the residents of the facility AND the neighborhood in which it is placed.

I have scheduled a community meeting for you to meet with city officials and, I hope, the agency that would run the facility. If you have concerns, questions and would like to learn more about the project please plan to attend.

The meeting will be held on:

Wednesday, Jan. 8

6:30 PM

Hawthorne School Cafeteria

And a New Year: I won't attempt to predict what will be the big news over the next year. But a few things are probable. First, we finally start construction of the Royster-Corners development. I hope there will be an announcement of a new Pinney Library there as well. No doubt there will be substantial controversy about the City's proposal to finance a luxury hotel downtown- as well as other projects.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you on these and other issues. I can be reached at and at 334-1156.

Best regards for a New Year,

David Ahrens



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