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District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

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Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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District 19 Blog

University Crossing Update

September 19, 2011 9:04 AM

Here's the latest on the University Crossing development project at the corner of University Avenue and Whitney Way.

Over the past month I've been working closely with the Spring Harbor and Glen Oak Hills neighborhood associations, the developer and city staff to review and wrap up some of the final details of the project. A lot of progress has been made. All of us can be grateful for the hard work of several neighborhood volunteers working hard to improve the project.

The city approval process is moving along; this Monday it's a two-for one on review meetings:

  • 4:45, Landmarks Commission, LL-110 Municipal Building. Public hearing on whether to recommend landmark designation of the former Marshall Erdman shop at 5117 University Avenue.
  • 6:00, Plan Commission, 201 City-County Building. Public hearing on the rezoning and demolition application. This is a major approval step for the project. Based on the other items on the agenda, I expect it will be 7:00 or so before they get to University Crossing, so there should be no problem if you want to attend both meetings. This meeting will also be broadcast live on Madison City Channel. If you plan to attend these meetings, or even if you don't, I highly encourage you to read the staff reports on the project which you can find on the Development page. These reports provide an excellent summary of the project, as well as 104 conditions of approval that are proposed by staff. I believe the large number of conditions reflects the diligence with which staff and the neighborhoods have reviewed the project. This may be a record...even Edgewater only had 58 recommended conditions. Plan Commission typically accepts all staff-recommended conditions.

More details on these meetings and links to the agendas are on on the Development page.

In other project news:

  • Traffic Study. The developer's traffic report is complete (also on the Development page). Traffic was one of the biggest concerns I heard when the project was first proposed, though stormwater issues have largely taken its place (see below).
  • Access intersection. One of the most difficult issues in the project design has been the access to and from University Avenue. The developer has said that full access is required for the project to be successful, but city Traffic Engineering has been concerned about the effect of a full-access intersection on University Avenue through traffic flow and on the Whitney Way intersection. Working together, both parties' engineers have proposed what I think is a pretty elegant solution, using a merge lane and a "half signal."

You'll find a diagram of this in the traffic study addendum. Here's how it works. Traffic exiting the site WB will have a merge lane on the median side of U-Ave that extends to Flambeau, essentially making WB U-Ave three lanes between the new intersection and Flambeau. A small triangle median is located in the middle of the new intersection that prevents U-turns, but all other movements are permitted. A new pedestrian crosswalk will be located on the east side of the intersection. EB U-Ave traffic will stop when called by left exiting traffic or pedestrians; WB U-Ave traffic will be stopped only when called by the pedestrian button.

All of this will be constructed during the U-Ave project next year except for the signal, which will not be installed until warranted by the level of development on the site, probably when building 3 opens in 2013. All costs of these changes will be assessed to the development. I suggested adding a delayed sensor at Flambeau for left turns that would stop WB U-Ave, similar to what we have today on Craig Avenue. Traffic Engineering will study this option.

  • Groundwater quality. Many neighbors have had concerns about the possible effects of the project on well 14. So far there has been no evidence of any existing contamination on the site, however the Water Utility has asked for several conditions (see #22 and 62-67), including installing three temporary monitoring wells around the site, keeping a daily log of any environmental findings during construction, and informing the DNR and neighborhood associations of any unusual findings.
  • Stormwater management. There are several recent changes on this topic. Based on neighborhood suggestions, the developer has made the following changes.
  • Added grit filtration chamber to storm system. This will help provide additional cleaning before the stormwater gets into the bioretention basin, improving water quality and extending the maintenance cycle of the basin.
  • Added soil conditioning and deep rooted native grasses during pre-development for erosion control and increased water filtration
  • Added bio-filtration swales with native grasses and plants in parking areas for increased storm water filtration.
  • Agreed to infiltrate roof rainwater outside of 400' well head protection zone if allowed by water utility and DNR

This last item is of particular interest to me in relation to condition #64, because the water utility is consenting to infiltration of roof water. (Previously it appeared that no stormwater of any kind could be infiltrated on the site.) This additional infiltration would significantly reduce the amount of stormwater that ends up in the bioretention basin and then is released into Spring Harbor. It also would provide for aquifer recharge, benefiting well 14.

  • Bus stops. Madison Metro is proposing to move the EB stop at University and Flambeau about 250 feet east so that it can better serve both Indian Hills and University Crossing. They will also be adding a shelter.
  • Trillium Connection. The developer is still trying to establish a location for a ped/bike connection to the Trillium neighborhood to the west.
  • TIF District. The Common Council approved the creation of the TIF district on September 6. In response to concerns from business owners, I removed from the proposed district the properties to the west of University Crossing (Animal Hospital, Midas, Motorcycle Performance, Good & Loud, Perkins). Final approval of the district creation goes to the Joint Review Board; that meeting is not yet scheduled.

I hope that all of this isn't too overwhelming...there's more, but those are the big topics. If you have questions about a specific issue, please don't hesitate to be in touch. As always your comments on any of the above or anything else related to the project are always welcome.

Thanks as always!

Mark C.

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