Name That Street: Road Serving Innovation Park Area Needs Christening

City will ponder a permanent name for road after "Technology Parkway," UWM's working title, did not go over particularly well.

When the UWM Real Estate Foundation brought its plans for the first two elements of its Innovation Park project, both came with proposed names.

The first building, a two-story, 25,000-square-foot structure, is intended to be an "accelerator" laboratory where academic and industry researchers will collaborate toward rapid development of new technologies.

Officially, it would be the Institute for Industrial Innovation, but the foundation and its design consultants are calling it simply the "Innovation Accelerator." I have no problem with either name, and I haven't heard anyone else squawk, either.

However... UWM's foundation also proposed a name for the road that will serve the accelerator and all future developments. It will run north and south between Swan Boulevard and Watertown Plank Road. In the plan presented to the city, it was tentatively called "Technology Parkway."

There is a remote chance it could still end up being called that, although it isn't likely, because so far that name has gone over like Elton John at a Harley-Davidson anniversary party.

Members of the Common Council all but rejected Technology Parkway Tuesday night, but the naming will come up for discussion at 8 p.m. this Tuesday in the Community Development Committee.

Got an idea for a name for the newest Wauwatosa street? Tell us in the comments; we'll forward all (serious) suggestions to the city.

So, this is the community's chance to weigh in. This is not, after all, a private road but a city street that will be built and maintained for perpetuity by Wauwatosa.

Some ideas to prime the pump

We've already heard some suggestions, but we'd like to hear more. To get the ball rolling:

Eddee Daniel, the author of "Urban Wilderness" and the Wild Wauwatosa column in Patch, called the provisional Technology Parkway name "an unfortunate choice for a road that serves a number of functions."

"Some of these involve technology; others do not," he continued. "Another function is to provide public access to both the Monarch Trail on Innovation Park land and the county park on the other side of the road. No technology is involved in these areas."

Daniel urged "a name that better reflects the varied interests and activities that will occur on the County Grounds. It could be something like Discovery Drive (or Parkway, if the alliteration is too obvious) or Exploration Parkway."

Saying the road would serve as a prominent and permanent symbol as well as utilitarian traffic corridor, Daniel wrote: "My hope is that it will symbolize the importance of the natural area on one side as much as the research and business that will occur on the other."

Barb Agnew, the founder of the Friends of the Monarch Trail, also was pondering Discovery Drive, but she's open and eager for others to come up with ideas.

"Letters and suggestions from everyone would be great," Agnew said. "(There could be) emphasis on the blending of natural space, research and higher education and forest exploration — a lot for one word, but creativity can prevail."

Site of a natural phenomenon

For anyone still not aware of it, the Monarch Trail and the Friends of the Monarch Trail recognize and promote an annual phenomenon that occurs from mid-September through early October on the County Grounds within the area of Innovation Park surrounding the historic Eschweiler buildings

Monarch butterflies on their yearly migration to central Mexico stop by the hundreds and sometimes many thousands to roost together for the night in trees on the tract. The monarchs' 2,000-plus-miles flight is the most famous and astonishing example of insect migration in nature.

Agnew and others were able to persuade Milwaukee County — before the sale of the land to UWM — to create a protected habitat zone around the trees monarchs typically roost in so that all can continue to enjoy this marvel.

So my suggestion for the name of the street is Migration Parkway. But not just in recognition of the bright orange bugs that gather there as summer turns to fall.

Migration is also a term used in nearly every one of the major sciences and in computer technology for the movement of molecules, of genes, of cells, of data, even of the Earth and other planets.

Moreover, it has come more recently to be used in precisely the way that Innovation Park has been conceived: a place and a process for the migration of ideas and nascent technologies between the academic laboratory and the developmental arms of private industry and institutions.

It could even refer to the evolutionary migration of use that has marked the history of the Eschweiler buildings and the County Grounds as a whole.

It's just a thought, but to my mind it would be a constant reminder of the need to protect the important remnants of both the natural and historic while recognizing the mission of the university and the city to create a dynamic environment for engineering the advances of the future.

As Agnew said, it is a lot for any one word to convey but "creativity can prevail."

Sure it can. Wauwatosa has a lot of creative minds, and a long interest at stake. Innovation Park is intended to become a major international center of research and development — and once names are adopted, they tend to be difficult to change.

So, if you're one of those creative types, we want to hear your ideas for a name for the new road. Just post it in the comments section below and we'll make sure City Hall gets the message.


Ellen February 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
How about a name taken from a Native American tribe from the area? We've been doing that for ages, and it will keep some history alive, as opposed to the new technologies.
Ron Abalone February 13, 2012 at 03:17 PM
How about Opportunity Trail, for all those people, institutions and government that are taking the opportunity to develop on scarce, open lands, especially the much needed strip-type shopping sponsered by your Tosa aldermen..
Toadie February 13, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Short Cut Boulevard
Rudy Sparks February 13, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Monarch Parkway
Jim Price February 15, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Mark, according to the city clerk, the naming of any new city street is a matter for the Common Council and its committees to consider and approve. We're all paying for it, so our representative government is responsible for naming it. In the case of most new subdivisions in more exurban municipalities, I would guess that councils accept Blue Jay Way and What Oak Ridge from the developers without much debate. Not the case here. Anyway, I would disagree that this is an inconsequential stretch of pavement and a waste of the committee's time. Innovation Park is considered by many to be the premier development potential of our time, and it will carry traffic including some of the great scientific and research minds of the future (we hope). It will also carry significant local traffic, including those who would choose to live in the residential component of nearly 300 planned units.


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