Monday, June 02, 2008

Milwaukee's new Amtrak station has a bizarre problem

In town this weekend, I briefly stopped by the newly completed Amtrak station. It looks pretty sharp. I felt a subliminal sense of letdown that the whole area wasn't magically transformed into some majestic gateway to the city, but that's far to much to ask of one little building. The traffic flow, the loading areas, and the existence of a waiting area with natural light are all a huge improvement over the pre-renovation depot.

Amtrak Station renovation complete

Didn't have time to go inside, sadly. But I did notice something very strange on the glass facade:

What.. the.. hell?

The seagulls, it would seem, have been leaving presents for Milwaukee travelers.

It looks like they must perch on that little L-shaped ledge, with the step up creating a nicely secure spot for them. With downtown's itinerant gull population most recently displaced by the Harley Museum, it's not too surprising that the gulls would quickly latch onto a new perch. I didn't see any while I was there, but my visit was too short to be a representative sample. And if they're not perching there, then they must be dive-bombing it, which... well, that's just too bizarre to fathom, and the marks don't look right for that anyway.

There's a simple and unobtrusive solution, fortunately. Expect some bird spikes to show up on the station's roofline shortly.


Anonymous said...

Great Blog!

I went to graduate school at UW-Milwaukee for library science. And I used to live in Milwaukee (on 52nd street).

However, I now live North in Appleton. I grew up here and I enjoy living here. However, after seeing your website I realize that I didn't EXPERIENCE Milwaukee. In other words, there were alot of things I missed.

I frequently go back to visit my father in Tosa. The next time I'm in Milwaukee I'll keep my eyes open!

Once again, great Blog.

Cullen Carter

Anonymous said...

The area still has quite a ways to go, but they announced a few weeks ago that the post office next door was being replaced by a larger facility in Oak Creek. Supposedly the current post office will be getting the wrecking ball by 2011 in order to clear space for new development. Slow and steady for the neighborhood, but the train station was a big step up.

Robert Powers said...

I find the Post Office's late 60s brand of Modernism kind of interesting -- the stone paneling in particular is quite lovely. But it's just such a massively huge building that it's bad for the area in an urban sense. The side facing the river is really awful, and when you compare it with the lovely greenscaping that Harley Davidson has installed on the south bank, it says a lot about how attitudes toward the river have shifted in the last 40 years.

Anonymous said...

A few things many architects seem to forget about when designing a building are things like ice, snow, and seagulls.

One thing that would hopefully be fixed with the demolition of the post office is the at-grade railroad crossing at Plankinton. Hopefully the 6th street viaduct left enough clearance so that the railroad can be elevated to create an overpass.

Anonymous said...

The remodeled Amtrak station as it stands in 2008 needs to be torn down. What an eyesore! This is not architecture and it does not have a place in Milwaukee.

Anonymous said...

Are you out of your mind?!?!?!? It is such an improvement. Its not perfect, but I personally like the building and think it has a good message about a newer cleaner Milwaukee. Not a run-down and drab old city victimized by 60's urban renewal attempts.