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Milwaukee's east side has a new, permanent pedestrian plaza

By Andrea Albers,


On Milwaukee's east side, pedestrians are re-claiming a portion of a street that was originally built for cars.

A brand new public plaza is beginning to take shape on East Ivanhoe Place. The re-designed space will serve as a traffic-calming tool and this weekend is your first chance to check out the car-free space.

Closing part of the street and transforming it into a pedestrian plaza has been listed in studies and city plans dating back to 2009. There's been no action — until now. "When I ran I was told, 'You've got to take care of the reckless driving stuff'," said Alderman Jonathan Brostoff who represents District 3 and made it a priority to set plans in motion for the plaza.

Milwaukee has listed this area of the city, as one of the top ten most dangerous places for pedestrians. Brostoff says the new plaza is the start of an effort to change that, "Any bike and pedestrian safety measure, anything that makes it better for people of all ages and all abilities — also makes it better for the drivers. People are going to slow down."

Cars will still be able to access apartment parking and the drive-thru window at Educators Credit Union from Prospect Avenue.

Plans are already in place to debut the new space. Paige Hammond, who manages the Crossroads Collective food hall that runs alongside the new plaza said, "Without a doubt, it's going to bring a lot more foot traffic to the neighborhood."

People are invited to check out the pedestrian plaza on Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend — there will be live music, an outdoor bar, and lawn games. A grand opening, which hasn't been scheduled yet, is set to take place later this summer.

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