Fun with Highways: Madison, Wisconsin

Between Facebook stats and popular uprisings, there is a lot of “fun with highways” to be had. And who knew that the next Middle Eastern country to face large-scale protests would be Wisconsin?

We begin in the eastern section of the capital, Madison, where no fewer than three major interstate highways converge, I-90, I-94 and I-39. Appropriately, the interchange is called the “Badger Interchange”. It also includes state highway 30, a short freeway that connects into downtown Madison.

Highway 30 ends at US 151, which traverses the isthmus that holds downtown Madison and separates lakes Mendota and Monona. I don’t know of too many other cities concentrated on an isthmus like that. Certainly, the location between the two lakes makes for interesting views and architectural opportunities. Consider this view from Lake Monona featuring the State Capitol building book-ended symmetrically by large buildings and standing behind Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace.

[Photo by Emery on Wikimedia Commons.]

The area is anchored by the State Capitol complex and the University of Wisconsin. The area between the two along State Street seems a bit like familiar streets in Berkeley or sections of northern Oakland – or maybe more like Austin, TX. In addition to numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries and places to hear live music, it too has a reputation as a liberal/progressive center. It also might be a place to play if and when I ever do an upper-midwest tour.

Of course, it is currently also the sight of large-scale protests against the current governor’s plan to strip most collective bargaining rights from state workers. Thousands of protesters have been camping out in the state capitol building and out filling the streets. Here are some images:

[Photos by Lost Albatross (Emily Mills) on flickr.  Shared under Creative Commons license.]

One thing to remember about Wisconsin in February is that it is cold. Even colder than the really irritating freezing cold rain we have been having in San Francisco over the past few days. It makes the protests all the more impressive (and in fairness, the counter-protesters in support of governor also have to brave the cold weather).