South District Recommendations
see also: South District - South District Findings
Summary of Findings
The South District rates relatively well in most ecological categories, exceeding national performance standards for public open space, public natural areas, and impervious coverage. However, the South District fails to meet the standards for other ecological attributes, including residential sidewalks, street tree coverage, transit service, and community gardens. In future planning, the South district will need to focus on protecting its ecological resources while addressing its deficit areas.
The South District performs very well in terms of overall greenspace. With 947 acres of open space, the district has approximately 67 acres of public open space for every 1,000 residents, far exceeding the national standard of 10 acres of open space per 1,000 residents. The University of Wisconsin Arboretum, which makes up a large portion of the district's public open space, is a primary reason that the South has more open space than every district in Madison, except the North district.
The South has six community gardens, more than any other district in the city. The district is only one site short of the seven sites required for the district to meet the performance standard of one community garden site per 2,000 residents. While all districts in the city are lacking some community gardens, the South is by far the closest district to attaining the community gardens performance standard.
The South District has a total of 1,533 acres of natural areas, 1,403 acres of which are publicly owned; this is the greatest amount of natural areas in any district in the city. The district is home to 1,186 acres of conservation park lands, primarily within the UW Arboretum, also more than any other district. With over 99 acres of public natural areas per 1,000 residents, the South well exceeds national performance standards.
In terms of the attributes affecting climate change - presence of street trees and pedestrian and transit orientation - the South district is lacking. With only 49% of the district's streets having adequate street trees, the South district is far from meeting the performance standard of 100% street tree coverage. The district's 51% street tree deficit is significantly higher than every other district, all of which have well over 75% coverage. Neighborhoods in the South district in need of street trees include Highland Manor, Indian Springs, Bay Creek, Burr Oaks, and portions of Moorland Rimrock. Street trees are especially needed along Park Street, Olin Road, John Nolen Drive, and Fish Hatchery Road as well.
Accessibility of transit to residential parcels and the presence of sidewalks encourage alternative modes of transportation and lessen the reliance on automobiles, thereby decreasing the production of pollutants, but the South district is deficient in both its transit and residential sidewalks. Currently, 88% of the South's residents have adequate transit access, leaving the South a deficit of six bus stops.
In terms of pedestrian amenities, the national performance standard is that 95% of residential parcels have sidewalks. With only 81% of the district's residential parcels having adequate sidewalk coverage, the South has a deficit of 19%, which is on par with the rest of Madison, except for the Isthmus, which exceeds the standard.
In terms of stormwater, which is influenced by impervious coverage and street tree coverage, the South district has mixed results. The impervious coverage standard for a low-density district like the South is that impervious surfaces account for 20% or less of total surface area. The South has just 19% impervious coverage, and is the only district in Madison to meet the national performance standards. The low percentage of impervious coverage in the South is largely the result of the inclusion of the UW Arboretum within the district boundaries; without the Arboretum, the 23% of the district's total area would be comprised of impervious surfaces, and the district would then fail to meet the performance standards.
As discussed above, the South District has a significant deficit of street trees, which has a negative impact on stormwater management. Ensuring adequate street tree coverage would help the district attain its overall stormwater management goals.
Recommendations by Goal
These recommendations are designed to help create an active dialogue among the North districtís diverse neighborhoods on environmental sustainability. Such a dialogue is critically important because only through community support will the difficult task of reducing the districtís ecological footprint be achieved. Furthermore, many of the North districtís attributes, such as its open space, community gardens, and Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, are not just ecologically beneficial, they also support the Northís unique and vibrant social character. By involving community members in the process of improving its ecological sustainability, we hope that these recommendations also help strengthen the social fabric of the North district.