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Friday, October 30, 2009

Madison wants a real downtown

If you've never been to the Madison Street Festival, chances are you've never been to downtown Madison, much less even knew there was one. Downtown Madison consists of a handful of single-story row of shops and restaurants along Main and Church Streets, plus a small historic district of homes bordered by Sullivan and Church Streets and Mill Road.

Now, some Madison residents are looking into plans to expand and enhance their downtown. The Times notes that the "new downtown" boundaries would include the area surrounded by Sullivan, Browns Ferry, Hughes, and Madison Blvd. This area includes Madison's City Hall, post office, stadium, and one school (Madison Elementary-- see map below for locations).

However, this new downtown zone also has many suburban features, including a Wal-Mart, an industrial park, and a strip of motels and fast-food joints along Madison Blvd next to the interstate. It will be interesting to see how Madison, a city that has had a laissez-faire attitude towards development and sprawl for many years (and paid the price with overcrowded schools and roads), does with this introductory experiment in urban development.

Current downtown
Proposed downtown expansion (click to expand)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this means an actual bar in Madison, I'm on board.

Anonymous said...

What would labeling that area as "downtown" actually achieve? Probably nothing but people griping that we need to do something to get more young people to downtown Madison... and a skyscraper!

Anonymous said...

Exacty!!! A skyscraper is needed in Madison or Huntsville and the young people need to take over the city governments because we know whats best for the city!

Cory said...

I'm confused what exactly Madison is wanting from this "downtown." The area outlined is incredibly large and encompasses numerous types of zones and densities. An urban planner would typically define "downtown" as a pedestrian-friendly location with dense zoning and many municipal buildings. There is little about the area highlighted that works well with that definition other than a vague area one would have to stretch to include the scattered govt/city facilities.

Anonymous said...

I think that it's a great idea to try and enhance/expand the downtown area. Look at what is in place now that can be focal points of downton (we can fill in from their)
-On one end you have the new YMCA and the Skatepark compound thing
-The city's stadium
and
-old downtown

There is a HUGE amount of land between those three things that can be designed to have a "walkable downtown". I think madison should build a greenway from old downtown, following the train tracks that go the YMCA. It can weave through to the stadium and the skatepark with numerous things in between.

Though, the reality of anything actually happening is tiny...the skatepark has been built for many years and there are plenty of empty spots up there AND the skate center hasn't even opened...