From the looks of things, there is a lot of interest in what Hammond Avenue in Superior will look like in the future.  A two-year project to rebuild the street between Belknap Street and North 28th Street will start next summer.

And while it might be easy to brush the work aside as "just another summer road construction project", this one doesn't quite fit into that category.

The City of Superior has unveiled their sketches, tipping their hat as to what they would like the street to look like once it's done.  Along with an online project page that details the reconstruction efforts, the city is also holding a variety of public meetings to both present ideas and also solicit feedback and input at the same time.

The most-recent of these meetings was held on August 10 at the Superior Public Library.  According to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], "more than a dozen residents" showed up. That number is significant,  because events of this kind don't always attract maximum capacity crowds.

At the meeting, the City had maps and composite sketches available for the general public and interest residents to look at.  Along with a general plan to make surface improvements (most-significantly, the correction of the annual frost heaves that badger drivers on that avenue), there are also grand plans to redesign the look of the roadway.

Perhaps the biggest and most-visible design feature for most people looking at the plans for the first time is the center median - and center landscaping - that will travel the length of Hammond Avenue once it's finished - from Belknap Street to North 28th Street. That center median used to exist, and design architects of the reconstruction effort hope that its' reappearance will slow down traffic along that busy stretch and also make it easier for pedestrians to cross.

But, just because the plans have been drafted by the city doesn't mean that they're set in stone.  While Superior Public Works Director Todd Janigo says that "[t]he streetscape plans are about 95% set......there is room for small changes if residents speak up".

At the meeting on August 10, much discussion centered not around the median but about the ten-foot-wide bike lane that will replace the sidewalk in many stretches of the new Hammond Avenue.

One surprising fact about Hammond Avenue is that although it cuts a straight north-south path through a central part of the city, the east and west side of the avenue don't necessarily match up - at least street connection wise.  That poses some problems for the project designers.  Accoridng to Todd Janigo:

"It's an extremely daunting challenge to try and line everything up with nothing lining up.  Hammond Avenue is the seam along which two different property plats abut each other.  Along the stretch being reconstructed, only two side streets line up - North 21st and North 18th streets.  Some, like Lincoln, Faxon, Harrison, and North 25th Streets only exist on one side of Hammond Avenue."

Getting back to the way fluid nature of the plans, the city is looking for response and commentary on the initial design phase - as presented at the meeting and on the online website.  There is a section on that website that allows for comments; those need to be submitted by August 31.

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