Proposal would turn part of John Nolen Drive into tunnel

Esplanade would add green space, connect Capitol Square to near east side
Proposal would turn part of John Nolen Drive into tunnel

Lake Monona’s shoreline could get a makeover with the addition of a lakefront park, called an esplanade, which would link the downtown to the near east side.

The Madison Design Professionals presented a plan to turn part of John Nolen Drive into a tunnel near where it intersects with Blair Street to bring more green space to the area.

An esplanade is a design from the Victorian times, and developers say this kind of design is very popular in other communities.

Developers also said the design could help boost the area’s economy.

“I think this is the time to think big. It’s an opportunity that has been on the radar screen for 100 years, starting with John Nolen, that we need to connect the downtown to the lakefront,” said Tim Anderson, a freelance consultant.

The price tag could also go into the hundreds of millions of dollars, but developers said they may secure federal transportation funds since John Nolen is an extension of Highway 151.

Right now the plan was only presented at a meeting hosted by Capitol Neighborhoods.