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Thread: Junction Ridge, Middleton, Wisconsin

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Oct 2003
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    Reminderville, OH
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    Junction Ridge, Middleton, Wisconsin

    I just moved to the Madison area. I'm about to move into a place walking distance from work in the city of Middleton. I've noticed a few interesting things about this part of Middleton (Old Sauk Rd. exit off the Beltline) so far:

    - A new housing development has garages facing an alley in addition to front yards fronting a street with a sidewalk.

    - The parking in the strip malls is small and does not face the street. The businesses actually come right up to the sidewalk.

    - The roads are all four lanes and divided, which makes crossing them as a pedestrian easier.

    - The aforementioned roads all feature bike lanes, although I personally still dislike them--I'd rather just ride in the right hand lane so I don't have to deal with getting run over by the car in the right hand lane if I need to go through an intersection.

    - No on-street parking. There is limited parking near shops. TDS, a major employer, has a parking garage operated by the building they lease; there is also satellite parking a good ways from the shops that is free. I'm finding that so far I like this, because it means the scenery from storefront -> sidewalk -> street -> median is undisturbed with rows of ungainly parked cars.

    - Regular bus service from here to Madison, although ridership appears poor.

    Is this some New Urbanist development? I'm delighted to have just moved here, because I'm going carless as of next Monday and I've actually been able to walk to lunch from work to a variety of eating establishments for a change.

    I'll try to post pictures soon!

    Joshua

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    Appleton, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally posted by MennoJoshua
    I just moved to the Madison area. I'm about to move into a place walking distance from work in the city of Middleton. I've noticed a few interesting things about this part of Middleton (Old Sauk Rd. exit off the Beltline) so far:

    - A new housing development has garages facing an alley in addition to front yards fronting a street with a sidewalk.

    - The parking in the strip malls is small and does not face the street. The businesses actually come right up to the sidewalk.

    - The roads are all four lanes and divided, which makes crossing them as a pedestrian easier.

    - The aforementioned roads all feature bike lanes, although I personally still dislike them--I'd rather just ride in the right hand lane so I don't have to deal with getting run over by the car in the right hand lane if I need to go through an intersection.

    - No on-street parking. There is limited parking near shops. TDS, a major employer, has a parking garage operated by the building they lease; there is also satellite parking a good ways from the shops that is free. I'm finding that so far I like this, because it means the scenery from storefront -> sidewalk -> street -> median is undisturbed with rows of ungainly parked cars.

    - Regular bus service from here to Madison, although ridership appears poor.

    Is this some New Urbanist development? I'm delighted to have just moved here, because I'm going carless as of next Monday and I've actually been able to walk to lunch from work to a variety of eating establishments for a change.

    I'll try to post pictures soon!

    Joshua
    There is one of those so-called 'New Urbanist' developments on Middleton's northeast corner (approved in the early-mid 1990s), but I'm not sure if that is the neighborhood that you are in.

    My sense is that new 'greenfield' developments of that style have a 'forced' feel to them, not at all like the neighborhoods that were developed in the years before cars and local zoning laws became prevalent.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Reminderville, OH
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    Mike,

    It does feel forced, but it's a breath of fresh air after living in the land of five-lane w/ turn lane (undivided) highways (actually, Portage St. by my home was recently widened to six lanes + turn lane), seas of parking, new Wal*Marts everywhere, no sidewalks, no bike trails, and subdivisions with 3-acre minimum sizes and 3 sq. ft. minimum build sizes.

    More to the point, I can actually live somewhere within walking distance of work, food, and 95% of the shopping I need on a day to day basis. Yeah, it's forced, but it sure beats living in the land of office parks so similar that I walked into the wrong building, went up the elevator, and strolled down the hallway on my way to see a client and didn't notice until I realised I didn't recognise the receptionist because all the buildings are so similar!

    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    There is one of those so-called 'New Urbanist' developments on Middleton's northeast corner (approved in the early-mid 1990s), but I'm not sure if that is the neighborhood that you are in.

    My sense is that new 'greenfield' developments of that style have a 'forced' feel to them, not at all like the neighborhoods that were developed in the years before cars and local zoning laws became prevalent.

    Mike

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Appleton, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally posted by MennoJoshua
    Mike,

    It does feel forced, but it's a breath of fresh air after living in the land of five-lane w/ turn lane (undivided) highways (actually, Portage St. by my home was recently widened to six lanes + turn lane), seas of parking, new Wal*Marts everywhere, no sidewalks, no bike trails, and subdivisions with 3-acre minimum sizes and 3 sq. ft. minimum build sizes.

    More to the point, I can actually live somewhere within walking distance of work, food, and 95% of the shopping I need on a day to day basis. Yeah, it's forced, but it sure beats living in the land of office parks so similar that I walked into the wrong building, went up the elevator, and strolled down the hallway on my way to see a client and didn't notice until I realised I didn't recognise the receptionist because all the buildings are so similar!
    I don't doubt your words at all. The townships surrounding Appleton also have that sort of 'pedestrians be damned' development standards and zoning attitude that you are trying to get away from. And DON'T get me started on HOAs and other development sillyness that is giving us these endless, faceless 'Beigeville' residential areas and cookie-cutter retail/office commercial strips....

    The sorts of developments that I am finding most attractive are the market-driven mixed-use central city redevelopments. Examples here in Appleton include the new 'Richmond Terrace' (street-level commercial with 148 residential units above, which replaced an abandoned factory on the northwest edge of downtown) and the Fox River Mills (three rehabbed old paper mill buildings just south of downtown).

    Too bad those who are controlling most zoning laws today are so blind as not see what really works in the long term.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The Cheese State
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    Middleton is a city worth watching. As has been said, Middleton Hills is a large newurban development under construction on the northwest side of the city. They have been working on redeveloping the downtown for over a decade, partly by renovating and adapting some of the older structures, but since they did not have much to work with, mostly by redeveloping the land.

    The area you refer to is, I think, south of the downtown. There is a large employment center west of the beltline. Most of the buildings are typical office buildings, but there is a more recent trend to develop better architecture with a pedestrian orientation.

    The mayor is a great guy and I think responsible for a good part of what you see. If you don't post pictures, I will.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Appleton, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Middleton is a city worth watching. As has been said, Middleton Hills is a large newurban development under construction on the northwest side of the city. They have been working on redeveloping the downtown for over a decade, partly by renovating and adapting some of the older structures, but since they did not have much to work with, mostly by redeveloping the land.

    The area you refer to is, I think, south of the downtown. There is a large employment center west of the beltline. Most of the buildings are typical office buildings, but there is a more recent trend to develop better architecture with a pedestrian orientation.

    The mayor is a great guy and I think responsible for a good part of what you see. If you don't post pictures, I will.
    The development that I was thinking about is along County 'M' on the northeast edge of the city. Where is this new Middleton Hills development in relation to the under construction US 12 Beltline extension?

    Unless one has a map handy, it is actually very difficult to tell where Madison ends and Middleton begins, especially around that office park on the west side of the Beltline (for example, that big hotel that opened as a Holiday Inn is in Middleton and butts right up to the line, built that way due to bureaucratic delays in Madison). And with the Madison City Council's recent passing of that super-minimum wage ordinance, look for businesses to substantially increase their interest in suburbs like Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, Sun Prairie, etc.

    Anyways, suburban cities and villages in Wisconsin tend to be much better for things like pedestrian access and safety than are the state's urban/suburban towns. Especially around here, the towns are notorious for doing things as cheaply as possible, with as little development control as possible (although that point is beginning to improve), to the point where some of their streets are barely passable (and downright UGLY! ). As they are set up, they have no real incentive to do otherwise.

    Has there been a recent interest in higher-density residential/mixed use within easy walking distance of that Beltline office park?

    Also, please do post some images and current maps of this area. I'd love to see them.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Appleton, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally posted by Markitect
    Interesting, sort of like what was 'SOP' in the Milwaukee area until the 1950s. I'll try to check it out the next time I'm in the Madison area.

    Mike

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