In this issue...

 

Drive 25: Pedestrian Zone Campaign Targets Monroe Street

Proposed Zoning Changes Could Make Home Additions Easier

DMNA Supports Diversity as a Neighborhood Strength

DMNA Launches Annual Membership Drive September 18

President's Column

Recent DMNA Improvements

New Trees for Wingra Park

DMNA Rail Corridor Committee Forming

Capital Fund Drive

Got a History Book?

 

Drive 25: Pedestrian Zone Campaign Targets Monroe Street

 
At one time in Madison's history, Monroe Street sported a trickle of settlers in covered wagons, millers, lead miners, farmers and their oxen carts. Today, pedestrians on Monroe Street don't have to worry about broken wagon wheels or cows crossing recklessly. Instead, darting amid the 22,300 cars that use the street each day is dangerous enough.

"Traffic Engineering staff have worked closely with DMNA to minimize the impacts of traffic and to improve the neighborhoods livability," said City Traffic Engineer David Dryer. "Pedestrian access plays an important role in this neighborhood, the city has re-marked crosswalks and provided enhanced crosswalks at locations where pedestrian volumes are high. The City also reviewed the speed limit through the commercial area along Monroe Street and based on the increased ped/bike/traffic activity, building locations, and number of driveways, adjusted the speed limit to 25 mph."





 

President's Column

by Bill Barker

When my wife Susan and I moved to Madison from Athens, Georgia in 1991, a Southerner's natural aversion to driving in snow dictated we live within walking distance of the University. That way we would be able to care for Susan's mosquito colonies (this is true, honest) regardless of weather. What began for us as fear driven necessity rapidly ripened into a true joy of living in what is fashionably referred to as a traditional neighborhood.
The Dudgeon Monroe neighborhood is a traditional one in the very best sense; a friendly, safe, attractive mix of residential and commercial districts. Given the proximity of parks, a zoo, and a world class arboretum, we have a living environment that exceeds the fondest dreams of progressive urban planners. Add in the fact that this little piece of paradise is located in Madison, one of the most livable small cities in the country, and folks, it just doesn't get much better than this.
My own experience of living here is one of walking to and from work year-round with my wife, meeting friends at any number of local eateries and coffee shops, answering the siren call of frozen custard, or even walking my canoe down to a Lake Wingra for a quiet evening paddle. This last item always makes me feel like a little kid who is getting away with something marvelous.
Of course it is no accident that our neighborhood is as good as it is. The DMNA celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year, commemorating a quarter century of concerned citizens working together in an organized way with their elected officials to improve the quality of life for everyone. Remember that quiet Wingra paddle I enjoy so much? Believe it or not, 25 years ago ski boats ruled Lake Wingra. Bill Jordan told me earlier this year that the noise from the boats on Saturday morning was so loud that it was impossible to carry on a conversation on Terry Place. It took concerned neighbors, a city government who listened, and a whole lot of work to fix that mess. Thanks, Bill. I owe you one.
As good as our neighborhood is, it can be even better. Next year the DMNA will shepherd the conversion of the rail corridor to a bike and pedestrian path, attempt to tame the traffic on Monroe Street, submit an unbelievably detailed long range plan to the city, publish a revised walking and biking tour guide, continue ecological restoration projects along the Wingra shoreline, and throw a fine little jazz party in the park for good measure.
I don't have space here to enumerate all the other projects that are in the works, but the amazing theme that ties them all together is a bright and shining spirit of neighborhood volunteerism.
That is where you come in. September is our membership drive. When you renew your membership in DMNA, please consider volunteering to work on one of the myriad committees. Or come up with your own project! We are always looking for good ideas and dedicated volunteers. You will be amazed at the sheer amount of work that goes on quietly behind the scenes to make our neighborhood even more wonderful than it already is.



 

DMNA Launches Annual Membership Drive September 18


Soon your neighborhood block captain will be asking you to join DMNA, still at the bargain price of $5 per household.
Last year 871 households joined, contributing $4,355 to finance the many activities of our effective neighborhood association. Your block captain will also invite you to join one of our many active committees and you will be given the opportunity to contribute to the Capital Fund Drive for beautification of the west-end business district of Monroe Street (see Capital Fund Drive p. 8)
Popular Annual Events: DMNA events include the Garden Show, Lake Wingra Clean-up and Jazz in the Park in June. Early each year the Wine Tasting Party entices many neighbors to brave the winter freeze for an enjoyable time together. The Social Committee also hosts the Fall Potluck, Annual Meeting, and the new 4th of July celebration. New this year is an annual beer tasting fest in October.
Educational Efforts: The Gardening Committee maintains the neighborhood garden and planters, as well as educating the neighborhood about the benefits of gardens. The committee is also working to expand membership in Friends of Lake Wingra and to support the 1999 UW Water Resource Management Summer Workshop at Lake Wingra.
Publications: DMNA publishes the Hornblower quarterly, and every other year, including this one, produces the useful directory listing our residents and merchants, including identification of baby sitters and odd jobbers.
DMNA is proud to have a homepage, which keeps us informed about various DMNA activities. Our History Committee will be publishing a walking and biking tour booklet, organizing DMNA files, and interviewing older residents.
Enhancing Our Neighborhood: The Oak Savannah committee is still hard at work restoring the arboretum across from Dudgeon School, and parks is restoring and improving the Children's Glen by Glenway and Cross Streets, as well as beautifying Wingra Park.
Working with the parks department staff to restore the Park and Pleasure Drive corridor to a woodland is the goal of the Woodlands Committee. Transportation, which focuses on calming traffic on Monroe Street and on our neighborhood streets, recently completed its Drive 25 campaign.
Planning, Evaluating, Assisting the Elderly. Long Range Planning has finished compiling its recommendations, which it now will shepherd through the city commissions for approval. Zoning continues its participation in the city's R2 Zoning Committee and will facilitate DMNA review of and participation in modifying the recommendations. The newly formed Housing Committee is focussing on seniors, identifying and establishing connections for them and publishing a booklet entitled "How to Stay in Your Home".
Recruiting New Members, Protecting the Neighborhood. Membership is in charge of the annual drive, organizing Hornblower delivery, distributing welcome kits to new residents, and recruiting and matching volunteers with committees. Two new DMNA committees are being formed: Rail Conversion to represent neighborhood interests in all aspects of the rail corridor conversion process, and UW to do the same regarding the UW Master Plan.
So when your block captain knocks on your door, please be ready to support DMNA with your annual dues, and consider volunteering to serve on one of its many active committees. YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD NEEDS YOU!


New Trees for Wingra Park

Wingra Park has new trees, thanks to the efforts of some neighborhood residents. Thirteen Black Hills Spruce and five Hemlock trees were planted bordering the parking lot.
The improvement came about because of an interest by some neighbors to have a screen of trees next to the edge of the Laurel Tavern parking lot. The city parks division covered half of the $2,220 cost of the project. Beth Goodman of Terry Place raised about $1,000 and DMNA contributed the remainder. The city is also addressing the ongoing problem of water accumulation at the bottom of the Laurel Tavern parking lot.
When the new trees have grown, the rest of the shrubs and scrub further down the park border will be removed and replaced by more trees.



 

Property Tax Relief: Need for a Citizen Initiative?

by Franlynn Peterson, DMNA Housing Committee

Two of the top 10 concerns identified by the long range planning survey were: inappropriate tax assessments and unaffordable homes. The Housing Committee is studying alternatives regarding property taxes and how to make information available.
One of the biggest surprises new homeowners in Madison face is their second year's property tax bill. Another is the increasing rate of property tax increases year after year until upon retirement, some seniors find taxes taking a big chunk of their social security. Among Wisconsin cities, Madison annually ranks near the top in the amount of property taxes paid. The growth rate appears significantly greater than inflation. In the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood, many residents report seven percent annual increases.
In many states, citizen initiatives have forced changes in laws that prohibit such increases. Perhaps the best known is California's Proposition 13 which amended the states' constitution. Quoting from the Los Angeles County assessor's guidelines: "Real Property is reappraised only when: (1) A change in ownership occurs; or (2) New construction is completed; or (3) New construction is partially completed on... January 1.
Except in these three instances, real property assessments cannot be increase by more than two percent annually, regardless of the rate of inflation." Similar legislation has passed or is in serious contention now in: Maine (also two percent limit, 1997) Nebraska (established fixed amount limits, 1997), Michigan (1994), Utah (exemption and abatement based on disability or indigence and age, 1996), S.C. (complex formula mostly aimed at education share of property tax. 1995 passed by one house, being considered by other house), Oregon (two percent annual cap), Idaho (complex limiting formula, 1997). Links can be found on the DMNA Website that provide details on these property tax relief measures.
In Wisconsin, with its Progressive tradition of supporting public education, its unlikely that a citizen initiative ballot would succeed that might jeopardize real education. Therefore any suggested cure for the property tax burden, especially for seniors, will have to be very carefully drafted and debated.
DMNA will sponsor a forum on property tax relief in January.
 

From the Office of the City Assessor:

Tax bills will be mailed sometime in December for property assessments based on the January 1, 1998 assessment date. This will occur after the city budget is adopted. The mill rate or tax rate is determined by taking the total tax levy and dividing it by the total assessed value in a municipality. One mill rate or tax rate is applied to all classes of property.
The City of Madison annually assesses all classes of property, except agricultural, at 100% of the fair market value. In terms of single family homes, the January 1, 1998 assessments were determined using actual 1997 sales data. State statutes require that assessments be made at 100 percent of fair market value. State statutes also indicate that the arm's-length sale of a property or sales of comparable properties are the best evidence of market value.



 

DMNA Rail Corridor Committee Forming


In January Mayor Bauman set in motion a planning process leading toward conversion of the rail corridor bordering Dudgeon-Monroe to a bicycle/pedestrian pathway. Considering that the future of the corridor has special importance for our neighborhood, the DMNA Council agreed in July to create a new DMNA committee on the corridor to represent the neighborhood's interests and monitor the process.
The DMNA Rail Corridor Committee will be comprised of residents who are interested in the future of the corridor, and its relation to our neighborhood. The committee will include residents whose properties adjoin the corridor, and residents from other parts of the neighborhood. The membership of the committee will be balanced to ensure representation of a variety of viewpoints and different user groups.
During the proposal, design and construction phases the committee will keep the neighborhood informed; act as a forum to receive neighbors' views, suggestions and concerns; participate actively in the planning process to represent DMNA's interests and to minimize construction inconveniences; and help generally to ensure that the proposed conversion benefits our neighborhood and the Madison community.
On a continuing, long-term basis the committee will be available to help with neighborhood complaints or problems. It will work with similar committees of the other affected neighborhoods and with city authorities to monitor, improve and enhance the corridor, helping to raise funds, organize cleanups and plan and carry out enhancements to the corridor.
The new committee will be chaired by Paul Beckett, 2533 Gregory Street. Residents who would be interested in participating in the committee are encouraged to email Paul pbeckett@facstaff.wisc.edu or call him (238 2580). An initial meeting of the new committee will be organized in early fall.


Proposed Zoning Changes Could Make Home Additions Easier

Changes are in the works for the R2 zoning code that governs much of the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood. A proposal to modify the code to make it easier for residents to remodel and/or expand their homes will be submitted to the Madison Plan Commission this Fall. The proposed modifications are the result of a year-long effort by the mayor-appointed R2 Zoning
Advisory Committee, which met intensively over the summer to develop its recommendations. The committee was appointed in response to increasing difficulties experienced by homeowners seeking variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).
While not yet finalized as this Hornblower goes to press, the proposed changes include a new special exception procedure that will give the ZBA greater flexibility in approving projects that currently require a variance. Under the committees proposal, permitted setbacks-required distances from front, side and rear lot lines-will be similar to those in the current zoning ordinance, but the ZBA will be able to grant exceptions to these limits under certain conditions. Such conditions relate to the relationship of the proposed expansion to the size and location of existing structures, as well as features of the property that make it difficult to comply with the permitted setbacks, such as narrow, small or shallow lots. In developing proposed criteria for granting special exceptions, the committee placed a high priority on preserving the character of existing neighborhoods.
Members of the committee include representatives of various neighborhoods, including DMNA, Regent and Tenney-Lapham, as well as members of the architectural and design community. Opportunities for public review and comment on the proposed zoning modifications will be announced this Fall.
For more information, call Priscilla Arsove, chair, DMNA Zoning Committee, at 233-0798.



 

DMNA Supports Diversity as a Neighborhood Strength


The DMNA by-laws state: "The primary purpose of the organization is to improve the neighborhood through democratic citizen participation and involvement. The organization will work for the achievement of this purpose by generating and sustaining a spirit of neighborhood among area residents through all appropriate means..."
This spring, the DMNA Council approved the Long Range Committee plan, which includes the recommendation "to support a diversity of creative housing approaches". It further calls for identification of properties that could be converted to mixed use (including homes) "for seniors, low income households or persons with special needs." It supports land trusts, affirmative sales, and granny flats (a small living unit adjacent to a relative).
In addition, it opposes discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, and handicaps, and encourages economic diversity within our residential populations.
The adoption by the Madison City Council July 7, 1998, of a resolution declaring Madison a city of tolerance and adoption by the Dane County Board August 6, 1998, of a resolution declaring Dane a County of tolerance support and reinforce these DMNA policies.


Got a History Book?

If you are a current DMNA member you should have received a history booklet. But, if we missed you or if you wish to purchase additional copies, contact Char Thompson at 231-2445. The cost is $5.00.
Your 1998-99 membership dues will bring you a new neighborhood directory and possibly a "Walking and Biking" booklet, but it will not include the history booklet.
Comments? Contact Judy Sikora at 233-5210.


Capital Fund Drive


Through its 1998-99 Capital Fund Drive, DMNA seeks to raise $2,000 to extend the beautification of Monroe Street to the western end. Possibilities include improving the landscaping on the traffic island at the end of Monroe and on the grounds of Dudgeon Park.
One suggestion for consideration is a native plant garden along Dudgeon Center's chain link fence in the front yard, to improve its appearance. This year's capital fund project thus will commemorate 25 years of neighborhood activism and create a wonderful western entrance to our neighborhood. Please give generously to this worthy project!
Interested in working on plans and/or attending informational meetings about the project? Contact Maggie Jungwirth, chair of DMNA's Parks Committee, at 233-6663 or Daryl Sherman, chair of DMNA's Gardening Committee, at 238-5106.


Recent DMNA Improvements


Bicycle parking in the eastern business district along Monroe Street will be enhanced significantly this fall with the installation of eight new "ring and post" bike racks. The municipally funded project resulted from a year-long cooperative effort between DMNA, VNA, MSBA and the good bike/ped folks in the city transportation department. Many thanks to Ken Golden and Arthur Ross!
 

A new drinking fountain is slated for installation at the south west terrace at the intersection of Harrison and Monroe Street. City Engineer Janet Gebert worked closely with DMNA to site the fountain as part of the ongoing Monroe Street beautification project.


Many thanks to McKay Nursery and Landscaping for donating labor and materials for the new planters on Monroe Street.

One shouldn't have to fear crossing the street. That's why DMNA has joined forces with the city to make the area more pedestrian-friendly. Starting August 31st, DMNA and the city announced changes to encourage walking and safe, responsible driving. The city lowered the speed limit along Monroe Street from 30 to 25 m.p.h.. For drivers, this means an extra 12 seconds added to their daily commute. For pedestrians, this means the creation of a Pedestrian Zone.
The DMNA celebrated the new Pedestrian Zone with a series of events aimed at making drivers aware of the new 25 m.p.h. limit, and to remind them of the law: pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way.
In honor of the combined efforts, Mayor Sue Bauman declared Monroe Street a Pedestrian Zone. It is the city's first Pedestrian Zone Week.
"We're committed to assuring pedestrian safety in an increasingly urbanized Madison, "Mayor Bauman said. "A walkable community is one of the amenities that contributes to the city's ranking as one of the best places to live."
In a rare move, the city implemented a speed limit reduction. Since Monday, August 31, the limit from the Woodrow and Monroe Street intersection to the Arbor/Chapman street intersection was reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph.
Elements of the campaign included: The unveiling of new 25 mph signs, pace cars driven by local celebrities such as Mayor Bauman and Bucky Badger, pace cars, such as Ken Kopp's new Volkswagen bug, Atlas Pasta's John Taylor and his Model T among others, driven by community members. Other events included a walk - out in which pedestrians measured the amount of time it takes before drivers allow walkers to enter the crosswalks safely, increased law enforcement by the local precinct, including a speedwave. Students at Wingra School, grades one through eight, heard safety tips from Madison Police Officer Susan Krause during the day, and posted signs asking speeders to slow down, in the afternoon.
Throughout the week, law enforcement officials were out en mass. Captain Noble Wray said, "This has become a growing problem citywide. Motorists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk."
During the week of the campaign, the district's police officers were dedicated solely to traffic enforcement thanks to grant money allocated by the state for a special speed wave.
Drivers should note: A legal crosswalk means motorists are required to stop by state law. Failure to yield can result in a $129 fine. Passing a car that has already stopped at the crosswalk, can lead to a $221 fine. Citizens are encouraged to report unsafe driving by contacting the Speeder's Hotline at 608/266-4624.
Creation of the Pedestrian Zone resulted from a neighborhood survey conducted in 1996. Survey results indicated traffic, congestion, and inability of pedestrians to cross the street were major concerns.
DMNA President Bill Barker sees the creation of the Pedestrian Zone as the first step toward calming traffic in the neighborhood. The Transportation Committee, headed up by resident transportation engineer Bill Putnam, has several other pedestrian-friendly projects in the works.
For additional information about how you can get involved, call Sue Krause at 231-0375 or Pat Forbes at 238-9625.