Proposal Focuses on Downtown Milwaukee Revitalization

A city plan calls for reimagining an elevated freeway that cuts through downtown communities and redeveloping public properties.

1 minute read

April 28, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Updates proposed to Milwaukee's new downtown comprehensive plan by Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s Department of City Development include a focus on reconnecting communities separated by Interstate 794 and redeveloping MacArthur Square, a long-vacant area next to the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Tom Daykin describes the plan in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Goals for the new comprehensive plan include growing the downtown population, investing in parks and public spaces, improving public transit, and enhancing streets to be safer and more accessible to all users.

The plan calls for evaluating the potential to replace I-794 with at-grade streets and utilize the 32.5 acres under the now-elevated freeway for other development. In lieu of full removal, the proposal advocates for “any interim alternative should prioritize modernization of the infrastructure to reduce the footprint, activation of the public spaces and streets under the bridges, improvements to the ramp connections, and increase safety for pedestrian crossings.”

Daykin details other parts of the plan, including Complete Streets improvements for North Water Street, the redevelopment of a downtown parking garage into high-density, mixed-use projects, and the expansion of The Hop streetcar.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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