New details of the city's strategy for the Halloween 2006 party on State Street have emerged in the week since the Madison Common Council approved the final element in the formal plans for the event. The biggest news is that the city updated its official online Halloween portal, announcing the formal plans now in place for managing the crowds expected on State Street.
More details were announced during a Wednesday, Sept. 20 meeting for Madison's Central Business Improvement District (BID), an affiliate program of Downtown Madison, Inc. At this meeting, Madison Parks Superintendent Jim Morgan, MPD Capt. Mary Schauf, and "bar czar" Joel Plant (the city's alcohol policy coordinator), presented the plans for downtown business owners. The complete notes are available in PDF form at top right.
The city's plan is to fence off the entire length of State Street and charge a $5 admission fee for access. Tickets will be required beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 28, with access permitted until 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29, with hand stamps used for exiting and re-entrance. There are conflicting details about the number of entrances and exits, however, with numbers mentioned being anywhere from nine to thirteen. They will be located at points from the Capitol Square to Lake Street. Private security will manage the ticketing, food vendors will be placed on the Library Mall, and two stages of live entertainment are planned (at the Gorham Street intersection and the Capitol Square), although no specific performers have yet been announced.
Details about ticket availability for State Street residents, business owners and employees (all of whom will be receiving free admission) are now posted online. Getting these free tickets won't be as simple as a trick-or-treat, though.
State Street residents requesting free tickets will need to submit an official "Resident Complimentary Ticket Request" form along with a copy of their lease to the city parks department. Should the request be approved, tickets will be available at a special trailer on the Library Mall or at the parks office in the City-County Building by 3 p.m. the following day. All must be picked up at the latest by Friday, Oct. 27.
State Street business owners requesting complimentary tickets for themselves and their employees will be required to follow a similar procedure. The owner will need to submit an official "Business Complimentary Ticket Request" form along with a copy of their lease (or liquor license) and a list of employees to the parks department, with tickets again available by 3 p.m. the following day at the Library Mall trailer or at the parks office in the City-County Building.
As currently promoted, this system places the onus on State Street residents, business owners and employees to receive access to their own homes or places of work. This is despite discussions at a UW student forum on Sept. 13 and the Sept. 18 council meeting, during which various persons raised concerns about the fairness of placing the burden of procuring access upon residents and employees.
For those persons who will be purchasing tickets, their first opportunity to do so will be on Monday, Oct. 2 at the Library Mall trailer or the City-County Building. The latter will be open during normal business hours on weekdays, while the latter will be open every day through Oct. 25 from 3 to 9 p.m. On the two days preceding Halloween Saturday (Oct. 28), these hours will be extended from 1 to 9 p.m. Tickets will also be available from the trailer on the day of the event itself, as well as at three other locations along State Street. Tickets will also be available for purchasing at "a number of local businesses" (on consignment) starting on Monday, Oct. 2, though these locations have yet to be announced. There limit of four ticket per purchaser, with cash and local checks the only forms of payment accepted.
There's not much else detailed online by the city, with the exception of an FAQ that mostly addresses the basics of the plan and ticketing system. The final question answered, though, tries to address what is probably the biggest concern about these plans, from both city residents living downtown and along the peripheries of the city.
How has the City prepared for the possibility of displacing the problem?
The re-branding of Halloween plays a significant role in addressing the concern of displacement. It is expected that people will continue to make State Street the "place to be" on Halloween, especially given the efforts to make the area both safer and more inviting.
Everyday, public safety personnel are prepared to address problems throughout the City of Madison. On Halloween, additional law enforcement resources will be dedicated to the downtown area, enabling a timely response to events requiring police assistance both inside and outside the event area.
Presented to downtown business owners
There are many more details to be found in the notes taken at the Sept. 20 BID Business/Property Owners meeting. In addition to the basics already described, the city officials responsible for these Halloween plans revealed other information about their plans for the event. Some of the more interesting are listed below.
- Madison Metro buses will cease running on State Street at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28.
- "Many portable non-tip toilets" will be situated both inside and outside of the fenced-in area along State.
- Johnson and Gorham streets will be closed to traffic by 6:30 to 7 p.m., though the police may close them earlier.
- Cars parked near the Angelic Brewery or other locations on the first block of West Johnson Street will be able to drive the wrong way for a block in order to exit the area.
- Food delivery vehicles will not be allowed in or adjacent to the fenced areas.
- "Anyone inside the gated area at 7:30 pm does not need a ticket to stay. If they leave the gated area and want to come back in, they will need to pay $5."
- Revelers who cause trouble but are not arrested will be ejected from the gated area and have "VOID" written over their hand stamps in permanent marker.
- "Businesses with doors to State Street plus a public back entrance from another street are asked to lock the back door (while still permitting exit, of course) to people entering to prevent that entrance from becoming a thoroughfare for people to get onto State Street."
- Police are continuing to advise State Street business owners to remove "valuables" from their windows for the event.
One additional item of note is that the police are considering a "test run" of the gating on the night of Friday, Oct. 27, though admission will not be charged. This is similar to the procedures in place in 2005.
At this point, no other information about the event has been publicly released, though the city and BID maintain that further details will be forthcoming.