West Allis Better Block
For this project, our team worked to reimagine the intersection of Burnham St. and 60th St, as well as a city-owned gravel lot, half a block away from the intersection. The space is home to many beloved restaurants, such as Buenavista Taqueria and Las Palmas, to Bari’s Pizza, as well as a funky art gallery, a classic barbershop, and a convenience store.'
During our survey period, we saw that safety was a hot topic amongst community members who noted high traffic speeds along 60th St. We saw that site’s main intersection was designed to prioritize fast-moving traffic rather than the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, deterring them from lingering in the space. Armed with community input, we began designing a new Burnham Pointe. Since one of the main concerns delt with safety, we wanted to begin by determining the best method of slowing traffic and procuring more eyes on the street and lighting in the area. We began by proposing the implementation of colorful bump-outs along Burnham St. and 60th St. within a lane that had previously been utilized as a parking lane. Along Burnham St., we wanted to add a bike lane to promote bike traffic. To increase cyclist safety, we drafted a design to switch the locations of the curbside parking zone and bike lane so that the bike lane could be placed against the curb instead.
In an effort to make the area more aesthetically pleasing for the community, we brought in more appealing lighting, seating, and other elements that improved the functionality and appearance of local businesses. We strung string lights along the sidewalks of Burnham St. and 60th, being sure to highlight the dark spaces of the streets and around local businesses to draw attention to them. Las Palmas, one of the restaurants at the intersection, decided to keep his string lights up permanently.
We are happy to say that Burnham Pointe Better Block was successful in gathering community and showing off the potential of the intersection. Many of the residents stated that this was what they had been wanting to see in the space for a long time, and felt closer to their neighbors.