The Monona Rag

Dealing the Dish on Monona, Wisconsin

Tag: Winnequah

$17.2 million pedestrian bridge approved for Winnequah Road

In a move to improve pedestrian safety in Monona, the city council has approved a foot bridge that will help citizens safely cross Winnequah Rd. The $17.2 million structure will be located between the intersections of Graham and Frost Woods.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said a local resident.

Construction of the bridge will begin this spring, said Mayor Bob Miller. “We hope to have it completed by mid-fall.”

The bridge is the final compromise on pedestrian safety on Winnequah Road, where kids are struck by speeding cars “at an alarming frequency” said Alderman Chad Speight. “We estimate that, without this bridge, Monona’s population will dwindle by about 7% due to deaths on Winnequah Road.”

The new bridge will be state of the art – pleasing to the eye as well as functional.

“On the west side of the bridge there will be a handicap accessible bathroom at the base,” said Alderman Jeff Wiswell. “No longer will fear of bladder issues stop people from walking down Winnequah.”

The lights in the bathroom, as well as those on both sides of the bridge, will be powered by a state-of-the-art solar panel system, which will rest strategically on top of the bathroom roof – thus avoiding any unsightly panels sticking up into the sky.

The bridge will feature a spiral staircase on both sides to the walkway with railings made of Baldacian Spanish Steel to prevent rusting. Gold filigree will be inlaid into the railings.

The walkway across Winnequah will be enclosed by strong wire mesh, to prevent idiots from falling or climbing over. A water fountain will be installed at the halfway point across the bridge.

For bikers or those with issue climbing stairs, each side of the bridge will have a high-speed elevator to take you to the top. The glass enclosed elevator will offer a beautiful view of the road as you are whisked to the top.

As a final touch, the bridge is a drawbridge, allowing it to be raised in case anyone driving down Winnequah has their yacht in tow.

“Forcing boat owners to drive around the bridge the extra block isn’t environmentally friendly,” explained alderman Doug Wood.

With regard to financing, Mayor Miller says it will take “No tax increase.” Instead, the city will borrow necessary funds.

The city said that similar footbridges are being considered for Broadway (near Ahuska Park), several locations on Monona Drive, and on Nichols Drive.


Save the Turtle!

Maybe we can’t save Maywood, but maybe we accomplish something different – save the Maywood Turtle.

Assuming Maywood is closed (not a hard thing to predict at this stage), the K-2 kids will move to Winnequah. The school board posted on the district website that they would have to make a decision on Winnequah’s mascot once this happens.

The options are to select a new one, or go with the Turtle or the Wonder.

Let’s start with Wonder. The Winnequah Wonders. This is stupid. Plain lame. No kid walks around saying they want to be a Wonder. It’s the kind of name thought up by an adult smoking weed who thinks the kids will all love some sort of all-encompassing aspirational verb/noun. And what is the logo? Some spinning abstract people! Sorry, no kid is going to think that’s cool. Kill the Wonders!

That leaves a new one or the turtles.

Turtles are fun. It’s cute. It’s quirky. It’s cool. The turtle is wise (just talk to that lazy ass rabbit and he’ll agree). Of course, the developing cynicism of a 5th grader may think the turtle is little too cute and quirky – but I think they’d be okay with it.

I suspect some people will want to change the name to ‘signal a new era’ or something like that. But those are the ones who just want to erase the history of Maywood, who say it was just a building. I say save the turtle. This way, when Maywood closes, we can keep a small part of the school alive. Perhaps it would be a hollow victory – since in reality saving a logo does nothing to ease the loss of an entire school closing. But in the end, the survival of the Maywood turtle would be kind of fun.

We can all use a little of that.

Mayor Kahl wants to save Maywood…as a Senior Center

Mayor Kahl sent the district a letter offering a future for Maywood/Nichols/Winnequah schools.

Here’s a rundown from Doug Wood’s blog on Kahl’s plan:

  • Maywood: move district offices from Nichols to Maywood, keep pre-K, and turn the rest of it into the new Monona Senior Center. The city would kick in money to upgrade the facility for these updated needs.
  • Nichols: clear the property so that ‘Vacating Nichols would send such an indication that the District is at least willing to open the doors to a discussion on this facility’s future’. Otherwise, sell it.
  • Community Center: the Alt school would be moved to the lower level of the Community Center from Nichols.
  • Winnequah: would house K-5.

Implications of this?

I think it shows that the mayor doesn’t believe Maywood can be saved. The vote earlier this year was 4-3 – and Susan Fox and Lionel Norton are probably going to vote the other way this time.

It’s also pretty…dull? Turning Maywood into a Senior Center – which the mayor says is needed, just would bring a bit of a anti-climatic end to this entire debate.

Questions? Many.

  • Do we really need more room for the Senior Center?
  • Is it prudent to be spending money at this time on a new Senior Center?
  • What is Nichols really worth? Recent studies done by the district earlier this year show the property faces numerous issues. But Kahl says the ‘City has been approached with multiple potential development concepts for the Nichols site’. What are the likely options for this property?
  • Instead of closing Nichols down, do you look at alternatives for Maywood? How about adding homes into this large tract of land – these would be ideal locations for families (something our city says we need to attract). What better way than to drop down 10-20 homes a couple of blocks from a massive park (and a smaller one next doo), a pool and a library. Of course, once you do this, there’s no going back. Maywood is gone forever.

The last comment is really the thing that is looming before us – Maywood is likely gone. Kahl seems to be waving the white flag here – saving Maywood to be used by a different generation of our residents – and selling off Nichols.

On a side note – does anyone ever feel sad for Nichols School? No one seems to have fought for it like they have Maywood. It’s sort of the like ugly, older, less talented brother that everyone says they like, but deep down, don’t care about. I suspect that it has an inferiority complex.

Back on topic – what do you think of the Mayor’s ideas?

Again, read his entire letter at Doug Wood’s blog.

Fox in the Hen House

Some folks have said that Monona Grove School Board member Sue Fox has put the screws on Monona with her vote to move 6th graders to Cottage Grove and her apparent support of closing Maywood School – in the Comedy Herald she is quoted as ‘agreeing’ with Craig Gerlach with regard to closing Maywood, saying, ‘The stark reality of the economics is staring (us) in the face.’

Some people have said that Fox, a former teacher, is more indebted to her the teachers and administration than the citizens of Monona.

The district teacher’s calls for less ‘travel’ between the two school’s is a frequent comment about the positives of moving the 6th graders from Winnequah to Glacial Drumlin.

We argue that less travel for 50-75 Monona kids a year is a worthy trade off than 6-10 teachers having to travel between the two schools.

Still, the Maywood vote hasn’t happened, but we are not hopeful that Sue will try and maintain the beloved Monona Elementary School.

Bump outs on Winnequah Road

Who had the brilliant idea to do these bump outs on Winneqauh Road in Monona. And even worse, who approved the  things? I mean, common sense should have said they were plain dumb.

The idea is that the bumps outs would cause drivers to slow down as the road got narrower (at least, that’s what I think they were supposed to do). Instead, bikers don’t go up the bump outs, and only crowd on to the road.

Why don’t bikers go up onto the bump outs? Simple, it’s dumb. No biker willingly wants to go up a curb-like ramp and then back down a short time later. Changing elevation, altering the direction you’re riding, etc. all go against the grain when it comes to biking. It’s like a car going through a construction area on the highway – weaving in and out of pylons. Would you do that or just keep going straight if you had the choice?

It’s not as if going up the bump outs is that difficult – it’s simply that they are counter intuitive to what a rider would do. You avoid bumps, you avoid swerving.

I wonder if  anyone asked a biker or two what they thought of these things.

I don’t know how much these cost Monona – someone said $300,000-400,000 – but I don’t know if they were just blowing smoke. No matter, they are waste of money. And that they actually got built is a travesty.