LA students propose a more inviting streetscape for the Midvale neighborhood

LA streetscape visioneers: Taylor Polenske, Paige Ida, Zach Small, Stefan Golos

A team of third-year students in the UW-Madison Department of Landscape Architecture met with members of the Midvale Heights Community Association to present a design plan for a 10-block section of Tokay Blvd. on Madison’s west side.

The project focused on median and streetscape plantings along Tokay Boulevard, from Midvale Boulevard west to South Segoe Road.

Architect Charles Quagliana, a neighborhood resident of Midvale Heights and faculty member in the College of Engineering, had invited James Steiner, a lecturer in the landscape architecture department to assemble a group of students to help create a new design vision for the street.

Students Taylor Polenske, Paige Ida, Zach Small, and Stefan Golos took on the challenge. They aimed for a conceptual design that would enhance plantings along the boulevard and create a unique sense of place for this community-minded neighborhood. The proposed scheme reflects the collected effort of students and residents to attract interest in the project, create more sustainable landscaping for a public space, and define and enhance the vehicular corridor.

Residents from the neighborhood have added perennials, shrubs, and native plants to the median for years, at times treating the area with the same care that they would give to their own personal gardens. Recent roadway improvements disturbed many of the smaller perennial plantings and some older trees are misshapen and in need of trimming or removal.

The plan features plants that are able to withstand exposure to cold, salt and drought. Aesthetic qualities of the planting design will provide interest and enjoyment though all seasons, as well as offer an improved experience for all street users.

The students met with members of the Association for initial feedback, and have been working with City of Madison planning officials on plant lists and specifications, budgets, visibility, maintenance and security issues. It is the hope of the Community Association to work with the City of Madison for a phased implementation of the project, with neighbors volunteering for much of the plant installation over a 5-10 year period.