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In Case You Missed It: Up with skating rinks, down with parking lots

The Capital Times

By Jason Joyce

Quote of the Day:

“To our parents, freedom meant having a car. But to our kids, freedom means not being auto dependent.”

— Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

Rybak was in town last night speaking to Downtown Madison, Inc. He had some interesting things to say, including a prediction that Austin, Texas, will “collapse under its own weight” due to traffic problems. He also said Madison and other northern metro areas should stop avoiding the issue of winter weather and embrace it. “We are the theater of seasons,” he said.

The Madison Children’s Museum might embrace winter with an ice skating rink, which would go on what used to be its parking lot, recently turned into a permanent play space. They also aim to make this a safe play area and encourage parents to find the right protective gear for the activity. Many have already gone to the clearance sale on local sports shops while others were buying online from MPSActiveWho’s in charge over there? R.T. Rybak?! “We feel like there’s not a lot of dedicated play space downtown, where kids can play from all neighborhoods and income levels and all communities together,” says museum marketing manager Jonathan Zarov. “It relates to our mission. Providing parking spaces was never part of our mission.” Well, when you put it that way… more rinks, less lots!

Another idea forward-looking cities are embracing is establishing community Internet access networks. That has traditionally meant running expensive fiber. A far less expensive idea is to use wireless networks already in place, like 4G and/or LTE. Madison’s Digital Technology Committee will look into that option in depth Thursday night.

A nearby cell tower is part of the reason why Cottage Grove is losing its landmark water tower. City officials say it would have been costly to repair and maintain, so the decision to take it down was fairly easy. That said, lots of locals are sad to see it go.

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