Monona Waterfront/John Nolen Corridor Plans

In 2022, multiple distinct but highly related planning efforts began that will strongly impact the John Nolen Drive corridor, from Law Park to Olin Park. Since each of these efforts will impact Olin and Turville Parks in terms of either use or access or both, we present links here to these important planning efforts.

Rebuild of John Nolen Drive:

The first effort, driven by the State Department of Transportation and City of Madison Traffic Engineering, is the rebuilding of John Nolen Drive, from the North Shore Drive intersection downtown to Olin Avenue at the south end of Olin & Turville Parks. An engineering consultant team has already been hired for this project and preliminary design work is underway. This project is largely driven by the deteriorating condition of the six causeway bridges between downtown and Olin Park. But this redesign also provides an opportunity to reconstruct and perhaps widen the adjacent ped/bike path that parallels the roadway, to provide better separation of that multi-use path from vehicular traffic, and to otherwise enhance this gateway that links Olin Park to downtown Madison.

The City of Madison supports a website that provides updates on this project, and includes dates of meetings designed to seek public input on this re-design.

Lake Monona Waterfront Project and Olin Park Facility Renovation

Running in parallel and overlapping with the John Nolen Drive rebuild is the long-envisioned redesign of Law Park and its extension along the causeway to Olin Park. Also included within this Monona waterfront vision is the former State Medical Society building on the northern shore of Olin Park. This building has been acquired by the City of Madison and is being converted into offices for the City's Park Division, with the potential for a non-profit recreation-oriented tenant as well. A preliminary report on this Lake Monona Waterfront Project was published in February of 2022. The progress on the Olin Park facility renovation can be followed here.

Since that time, a public-private design competition has been launched which will invite nationally-recognized design firms to submit plans for a total redesign of Law Park and its connections to the causeway and Olin Park. In this Monona Waterfront Design Challenge, the top three selected design firms will be paid for their efforts, resulting in designs that will be available for implementation by the City. A group of private citizens, known as the Friends of Nolen Waterfront, spearheaded this design competition and raised private funds to help pay the winning firms.

As noted, these related planning efforts are currently all underway. It will be incumbent on FOOT members and other interested members of the public to ensure that these very interrelated projects remain closely integrated and authentically reflective of public input and desires.