After missing in action for a couple of months, public kiosks have returned to the middle two blocks of State Street. The four new structures were installed Nov. 2 on the 300 and 400 blocks, which were reconstructed this summer as part of a multi-year renovation project.
How do the new kiosks look, and how will they work?
Roughly speaking, they're about as tall as a door, and consist of two concave walls, making a profile that's similar to the hull of a boat. They're dull gray in color, with a solid metallic surface that allows for flyers to be taped, but not stapled. As stated by local music promoter Tag Evers, they're at least a little reminiscent of the monoliths of 2001. Overall, they're fairly dissimilar from the older kiosks, which remain in place on the western two blocks of State Street.
These older models are shorter, round in shape, and feature and outer face of vertical wooden slats. Five remain on the 500 and 600 blocks of State, along with a couple of others on Library Mall and in front of Memorial Union.
The new kiosks, says Archie Nicolette of city planning, have similar design characteristics to the new bus shelters and the larger glass enclosed kiosks that also contain electrical equipment. "We tried to mimic the roof shape," he says, "some of the same colors, the same medallion."
The big difference is in their shape and orientation. Having two discrete sides significantly affects the visibility of posted materials from oblique angles.
Those remaining five kiosks on the final two blocks of State Street are due to be replaced next year. As for Library Mall, the city is holding off on any significant plans due to the UW's intention to significantly revamp Murray Street into a Murray mall.
"When we did the State Street Mall the first time, this was all brand new back in '76," says Nicolette. "After 25 years' worth of experience, we realized that the kiosks are a very important part of life in Madison."