Sunday, May 23, 2010

Heads up, transportation geeks! Tues, May 25 is busy.

For those that care about getting around without a car, or cheaply, or in an environmentally sustainable way, or those that just want to have a choice of transportation modes, the evening of Tuesday, May 25 is going to be a busy night.

The Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) will hold their annual public hearing on needed capital projects to improve the ped-bike network. The public hearing starts at 6:00 PM in Room 260 of the Madison Municipl Bldg. Also at that meeting will be an update on progress on the Platinum City Report, or "How are we doing and what's next?"

Also on Tuesday, at 6:30 PM at Olbrich Gardens, is a neighborhood meeting arranged my Alder Marsha Rummel about the high speed rail corridor through the East Isthmus. Now that we know that the Madison station will be at/near Monona Terrace, everyone has lots of questions about how this is going to work. Although Marsha would like to keep this focused on the neighborhood, and how the corridor will be managed, this is also the first time the Wisconsin DOT will be available to answer questions on this project.

Last night at the Long Range Transportation Plan Commission, we were supposed to talk about how/where/when the city would/could build a multi-modal station - that is one that would handle intercity buses, local buses, and was friendly to walking, biking, taxis, etc. Of course, the discussion mostly focused on the rail station location, problems, and possibilities. Unfortunately, the answer to many of our questions about the station, train operations, intersections upgrades, multi-modal access, etc. was, "We don't know yet." WisDOT is in charge here, and we don't even know how much say the city will have on many of the decisions.

Wisconsin DOT is not known for having the best public participation process. I have been to many "public hearings," and they often consist of WisDOT staff and consultants standing around boards and posters depicting options for a project and answering questions one-on-one. Then the public is encouraged to write down their comments or submit them on-line. There is rarely a Q&A where everyone in the room can hear the questions that people ask, the answers from WisDOT/consultants, and the comments that others have. This public Q&A is important because many people aren't even sure what questions to ask, and hearing the questions, answers, and comments of others helps them sort through often complex issues.

Finally, for those who live, work, or study in the area of UW Hospital, the west campus, Shorewood Hills, or the west end of the Regent Neighborhood, you may want to know about a meeting on the proposed plans for the intersection of University Ave, University Bay Drive, Campus Drive, and Farley St. The meeting will be held at the Shorewood Hills Village Hall from 5:30 - 7:00 PM. This is a very large, and very multi-modal intersection, with lots of people walking and biking through it, as well as about 50,000 cars per day, many of whom are making turns at the intersection. There is also a very busy bus stop, with over a dozen bus lines stopping there. All these bus rides need to cross the intersection, either in the morning or the evening. All these bus riders are also pedestrians when they cross. The Campus Dr Path also ends here, with many bicyclists trying to connect with routes through Shorewood Hills, or crossing to the south side of University to access the Kendall/Bluff bike route. No matter how you travel, if you need to use this intersection on a regular basis, you should think about submitting comments.

Sorry, no link for this meeting, as it doesn't appear to be on the City of Madison web site or the Village or Shorewood Hills. Also, no link to the plans developed by Strand & Assoc (I think), which, last tome I saw them, were less-than-ideal for non-motorized transportation.