Every theater wants a smash, but the Wisconsin Union Theater has had quite enough, thank you.
Despite a sign and warning light, truck drivers keep smashing into the theater's exterior broad, overhanging Art Deco balcony on Park Street. The most recent accident exposed steel framing and conduit in the tapered soffit.
"We've had at least two crunches this spring and several over the last four years," says theater director Ralph Russo.
Until it was redesigned, a low rail underpass on Park between West Dayton and Regent Streets routed trucks away. "Since trucks now can drive under the railway on Park Street, the problem has become much worse," says Russo.
Plans are under way to find a solution in cooperation with the city of Madison.
"The cost of repair can be thousands of dollars," says Russo. "Sometimes the responsible truck driver will report the accident so insurance comes in to play, but most of the time it's not reported."