Metro Transit proposes moving more buses off of State Street, with Bus Rapid Transit to replace some buses in area · The Badger Herald
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, protests and increased online shopping last year hit State Street particularly hard, and as a result, many companies have found solace in plans to increase bus traffic to the area.
Since the pandemic began, Metro Transit has reduced its presence on State Street by 30%, said Tom Lynch, director of transportation for the city of Madison.
Lynch said Metro Transit not only made a cut at the beginning of the pandemic, but also proposed route changes to reduce the current buses on State Street by an additional 25-30%. During the evening peak, almost 40% fewer buses would pass through.
Lynch said the city has been working to reduce Metro Transit’s presence on State Street to make way for the city’s new Bus Rapid Transit system to be implemented over the next several years, Lynch said.
“State Street businesses will benefit from the five to ten minute bus rapid transit system,” Lynch said. “We support our city businesses and we want them to thrive.”
The BRT system will connect companies on State Street to Madison’s east and west sides, Lynch said.
Madison Metro Transit launches Bus Rapid Transit with a public sessionThe City of Madison held a virtual meeting today to launch the newly implemented Bus Rapid Transit system and around Read…
President of Downtown Madison Inc. What is Downtown Madison Inc.? James Ilstrup said the city founded BRT to better connect the city’s economy. I’ve changed this sentence a little. Is it still correct?
“The whole point of Bus Rapid Transit is to find places faster and to speed up the service,” said Ilstrup. “The buses stop less often, they have platforms for getting on and off, you pay in advance – – The whole point is to turn it into a subway above ground. “
Ilstrup said faster routes would help many Madison residents, including workers, University of Wisconsin students, and others, explore downtown.
The BRT investment is the city’s most significant transportation investment in decades, priced at $ 160 million, Lynch said.
“Transit is really our long-term plan and we want it to go to the most important locations,” said Lynch.
BRT will reduce road congestion and create an environment with fewer single-person vehicles on the road, Lynch said. According to Lynch, this adjustment will be particularly noticeable on certain roads on which no more lanes can be added, as the congestion is much lower.
By removing additional subway transit routes from State Street and replacing them with a faster BRT electric bus system, the city aims to provide residents with an environment with equal access to transportation.
“We want State Street to be a place that is accessible to everyone, especially those without a car,” Lynch said. “Transit drivers are disproportionately colored people and people without cars. So if you stop a few buses on State Street, you get that access.”
The Downtown Coordinating Committee discusses the recovery of the Madison business and the expansion of the streetariesMembers of the Downtown Coordinating Committee held a virtual meeting Thursday to discuss the survival and restoration of downtown Madison Read…
According to Lynch, the officials came up with the idea of removing all buses from State Street and creating a pedestrian zone.
Lynch said that even large pedestrian streets need transit systems, however. In Times Square, for example, pedestrians use the subway system as a form of transit to get into the area easily, Lynch said.
Even if the city turned State Street into a pedestrian mall, Lynch could only add two feet to each side of the street to meet fire department requirements.
“A 20-foot fire department lane clear of furniture and other obstructions should still be in place on State Street,” Lynch said. “The width of this fire brigade lane cannot be reduced.”
Ilstrup said while the city could move buses off State Street relatively easily, that move would only address a potential fire hazard.
The community would have to deal with a variety of logistical factors in order to make room for fire trucks to be transported downtown and the creation of delivery access, Ilstrup said.
However, Ilstrup said it would prove difficult to keep enough buses operating to make the area accessible while making their presence less visible.
“It’s a better experience on State Street with fewer buses. With the fumes and noise, it’s just a better experience with fewer buses, ”said Ilstrup. “The plan really helps killing two birds with one stone.”
Lynch said removing bus activity from State Street could pose other safety challenges as well. Lynch said the lack of buses and drivers could attract illegal activity and patrolling State Street would become more difficult.
After weighing the pros and cons of the system, Lynch believes BRT will bring many benefits to downtown Madison residents and businesses.
“Bus rapid transit systems, when implemented in other cities, have been transformative,” Lynch said. “We really believe that transit should be our front door, not our back door.”