aerial view of 6th to 16th street in milwaukee

6th to 16th Street PROJECT

Project Update

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Fall 2022 survey to provide input on three design options for the Kinnickinnic River greenway between 6th- 16th Street. This survey built off the feedback from the July 2022 survey where over 470 people gave their input on design features (see the survey results). Scroll through the photos to see the results. The design team is now taking the results to create a proposed design. Stay tuned to see the result.

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    Overall, which design layout and theme for the greenway do you like the best? 

    • 66% Natural greenway with curvy paths and a focus on being immersed in nature
    • 18% Traditional park-like feel with a focus on gathering spaces and community amenities
    • 14% Angular and modern design with a visually open landscape, informal overlooks and landforms
    • 2% Other
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    The results of the first survey showed that seating and small gathering areas were important features. Of the options presented below, which gathering space design do you prefer?

    • 62% Curved informal seating areas away from street (shown above)
    • 24% Traditional park benches in rectangular overlooks at street level, with smaller bench pockets along the paths
    • 13% Contemporary overlooks with seating, perched at the top of the riverbank
    • 1% Other
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    From the results of the first survey, the most popular options for the riverbank at Modzrejewski Playfield included trees, native vegetation and access to the river. Each of the design options incorporate these elements in different ways. Which design do you like best of the following three options? 

    • 36% Rustic stepped stone blocks provide informal seating; a switchback pathway provides access to the river (shown above)
    • 33% Oval-shaped sweeping paths to the river surrounding a stepped lawn and native vegetation
    • 30% Upper plaza adjacent to playfield, lawn terraces and stone seating on the bank, and a sloping accessible path to the river
    • 2% Other
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    A new multi-use path will provide safe off-street bicycle and walking options. Additional walking paths will be provided on the opposite side of the river. In all options the proposed multi-use path will cross several streets and will be next to Harrison Ave for a portion of the greenway. For the multi-use path next to Harrison Ave, which path location do you prefer?

    • 69% The multi-use path rises and falls along the riverbank, moving away from Harrison Ave and coming close to the water multiple times. A separate traditional sidewalk stays at street level (shown above)
    • 25% The multi-use path is at the same level as Harrison Ave but allows more space between the street and path for trees
    • 6% The multi-use path is at the same level as Harrison Ave and has limited space for planting between the street and the path
    • 1% Other
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    Harrison Avenue currently has on-street parking on both sides of the street. The south parking lane where it is next to the river corridor (between S. 9th Street and S. 16th Street), currently has space for approximately 80 on-street parking spaces.  To make room for trees, stormwater treatment, and safer pedestrian crosswalks, would you be in favor of the City removing some on-street parking? 

    • 33% Yes, removing up to 50% of the on-street parking spaces on the south side is acceptable
    • 27% Yes, removing all the on-street parking on the south side of the street is acceptable
    • 25% No, do not remove any on-street parking on Harrison Avenue
    • 13% Yes, removing up to 25% of the on-street parking spaces on the south side is acceptable
    • 2% I’m not sure
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    What traffic calming and safe street crossing improvements would you like to see where the new paths cross 9th Pl, 13th St and 16th St? 

    • 55% Curb extensions, possibly with space for stormwater treatment (example shown above)
    • 49% Raised crosswalks
    • 43% Pedestrian-activated flashing beacons (lights)
    • 35% Pedestrian/bike crossing signage
    • 27% Pedestrian refuge islands
    • 25% High visibility crosswalks
    • 3% Other

Project Overview

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is partnering with the City of Milwaukee, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, and others to make improvements along the Kinnickinnic River between S. 6th Street and S. 16th Street. This project is located at the downstream end of the watershed or the “bottom of the funnel”.  The river channel is 50 feet wide and lined with concrete.  During heavy storms, the concrete lining creates dangerous flow conditions that have claimed a number of drowning victims throughout the years.  It is also not wide enough for large flood events and an updated analysis has identified approximately 300 residential and commercial structures at high flood risk.

 

The Kinnickinnic River 6th to 16th Street project is part of the larger Kinnickinnic River Watershed Flood Management Plan. The goals of this larger plan include:

  • Reduced flood risk to over 700 residential & commercial structures;
  • Improved public safety;
  • Improved riparian & aquatic habitats;
  • Enhanced stream aesthetics; and
  • Robust community collaboration. 

To provide enough room to safely move floodwaters during heavy storms and to naturalize the river, the river corridor will be widened, and more than 4,000 feet of concrete channel lining will be removed and replaced with a natural stream design.  To create this wider river corridor, MMSD is acquiring and removing 83 homes and partnering with the City of Milwaukee to modify several city-owned bridges and utilities.

MMSD is also partnering with Sixteenth Street Community Health Center to engage and obtain feedback from the community.  One recent example of this collaboration is the creation of a transitional space on former vacant properties acquired for the project.  The KK River Plaza is a space that was developed with multiple partners as a temporary community space that residents can enjoy during the projects’ initial design phase. The space includes a gravel trail, natural playground, community garden beds, and artwork depicting images of water deities from different cultures represented in the neighborhood.  Eventually, this space will be reshaped as part of the expanded river.

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Project Map


Project Benefits

  • Reduce flood risk
  • Improved public safety
  • A natural river system that can better move floodwaters
  • Less concrete, more vegetation
  • Improved wildlife habitats

Project Timeline*

  • Project Design & Permitting:  Fall 2021 – Fall 2023
  • Advertise & Award Construction Contract: Fall/Winter 2023
  • Project Construction:  2024-2026

*Timeline subject to change


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    Flooding at the S. 9th Pl bridge in 2008

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    Concrete lined Kinnickinnic River in project area.  Photo Credit: Eddee Daniel

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    Project area looking east from the 16th Street bridge.  Photo Credit: Eddee Daniel

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    A transitional space, the KK River Plaza, that residents can enjoy during the projects’ initial design phase.


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