Transportation Alternatives Analysis

for the

Dane County / Greater Madison Metropolitan Area








Thursday, February 22, 2001

4:45 pm

City/County Building, Room 201

201 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

Madison, WI



--          ROLL CALL


Members Present:           LaMarr Billups; Supv. Michael Blaska; David Cieslewicz; Robert Cook; Kristine Euclide; Ann Falconer; Ald. Ken Golden; Rob Kennedy; Ken Leonard; Supv. Scott McDonell; George Nelson; Ald. Warren Onken; Rose Phetteplace; Dick Wagner.


Members Absent:           Darlene Horner.


Staff Present:                 Jim Arts (Dane County Executive’s Office); Lori Kay (UW Transportation Services); Mari MacKenzie (Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning); Bob McDonald (Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization); John Norwell (Dane County Highway and Transportation Department); Mark Opitz (City of Middleton, Planning and Zoning); Bill Schaefer (Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization); David Trowbridge (City of Madison, Department of Planning and Development; Project Administrator for Transport 2020); Michael Waidelich (City of Madison, Department of Planning and Development).


Others Present:              Karen Baker (KL Engineering Team); Fred Bartol (Dane Alliance for Rail Transit); Stephanie Eiler (Parsons Brinckerhoff; Project Manager for Transport 2020); Ken Kinney (Cambridge Systematics); Al Matano (Dane County Board of Supervisors, District 11); Kimon Proussaloglou (Cambridge Systematics); Bob Schaefer (Ridgewood Neighborhood Association).





Co-Chairs Ken Golden and Scott McDonell welcomed Committee members to Meeting #11 of the Oversight Advisory Committee for Transport 2020.  Project Manager Stephanie Eiler then provided a brief overview of the 2/22 agenda items.


David Trowbridge introduced the new Director of WisDOT District 1, Rose Phetteplace, to the Oversight Advisory Committee.  The Co-Chairs and Committee members welcomed Ms. Phetteplace.





The Minutes for Meeting #10 of the Oversight Advisory Committee were approved, as submitted on a motion by George Nelson/Rob Kennedy.





There were no members of the public wishing to speak on a future agenda item.





Stephanie Eiler reviewed some of the initial packages of alternatives, to be modeled in Phase I of Transport 2020.  She said that these model run options have been developed to obtain information on traffic impacts, ridership, land use impacts, capital costs and operating costs.  Eiler said that the packages of initial rail, bus, land use and highway alternatives recommended to be modeled include the following:


(1a) Rail Transit: Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Airport (existing R-O-W); Current Trends Land Use; No Build Highway


(1b) Rail Transit: Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Airport (existing R-O-W); Existing Plans Land Use; No Build Highway


(1c) Rail Transit: Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Airport (existing R-O-W); Vision 2020 Land Use; No Build Highway


(2) Rail Transit: Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Airport (existing R-O-W); Existing Plans Land Use; Build Highway


(3) Rail Transit: Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Airport (existing R-O-W with street running on Main/Doty); Existing Plans Land Use; No Build Highway


(4) Rail Transit (street running): East Towne, Washington Avenue, University Avenue, West Towne; Existing Plans Land Use; No Build Highway


(5) Bus Rapid Transit (route, schedule as in 1b); Existing Plans Land Use; No Build Highway


Eiler said that the model runs were being done primarily to get some numbers on the table, and that much more refinement will follow prior to Phase II of the study.  She pointed out that these packages of options had been approved at the 12-19-00 OAC meeting, but that there had been some misunderstandings as to what some of the specifics of the alternatives contained.  She said that the purpose in brining these alternatives back to the OAC this evening was to make sure everybody knew what was being modeled in Phase I.  Eiler reminded OAC members that there will be many opportunities to refine the alternatives prior to Phase II modeling, and even after Transport 2020 (such as in the NEPA process and in preliminary engineering).


Eiler then described the various street/highway options recommended to be included in the Build highway alternative, which was being shown in one of the seven packages of alternatives to be modeled in Phase I (Alt. 2, above).  She distributed a map, a list of committed projects (as included in the No-Build alternative), a list of recommended options to include in the Build alternative, and a list of projects recommended by the TAC to be dismissed from future modeling in Transport 2020.


(Note: Copies of this handout can be obtained by request)


Eiler basically made a distinction between those projects that would be included in the Build alternative (where costs and impacts would be developed for them), and those planned projects that would be modeled for travel demand forecasting purposes only.  She said that the only projects included in the Build highway alternative are adding capacity (either through the construction of additional travel lanes or the use of parking restrictions, to various sections of STH 113 (Northport Drive), Milwaukee Street, Park Street, Mineral Point Road and University Avenue, as shown on the map.





Stephanie Eiler and Ken Kinney then noted that there were some minor changes being suggested for the busway transit alternative (Alt. 5, above), and that she felt it necessary to make the OAC aware of this potential change.  Eiler said that the purpose of the changes to the busway alternatives was to provide a level of service as close as possible to the rail alternatives, either by routing buses within the rail corridor or providing a separate diamond lane for exclusive bus (and right turn) use.  Eiler said that this was not clear in the previous maps and text describing the busway alternative.


Eiler said that buses mixed with regular traffic did not allow for a system that provides as high a level of service as possible.  She also added that there would be significant costs associated with some of these approaches.  She pointed out that the costs would also differ depending on whether or not high speed intercity rail service operates in that corridor.  She recommended a conservative approach for Phase I, assuming that high speed rail is not in the corridor and the bus service is possible in the rail corridor.  As we soon learn more about the recommendations of high speed rail, she said, this approach can be modified.  The OAC agreed that this would be an acceptable approach at this time.


Rob Kennedy asked if a busway facility would be physically possible with high speed rail running in the same corridor.  Kinney said that it was plausible, but not highly likely due to Federal Railroad Administration compliance and cost issues.  Kennedy said that it is important to model some sort of high-capacity bus system in the core area of the City.  Kinney assured him that it would be.  Ald. Ken Golden, recalling the Madison Metro transfer point system debate a decade ago, said that it is also important to consider the continuity of the transit corridor.  Kinney said that the “enhanced bus/TSM bus” option would accomplish this.





David Trowbridge reminded Committee members that some modifications to the public participation approach had been suggested at a previous OAC meeting, with one of the major changes being additional outreach to outlying communities.  The modifications were also necessary due to the fact that there is a tremendous amount of interest being generated in Transport 2020 and the Management Team expressed the need to engage these groups actively.  In addition, Trowbridge added that the OAC has had a desire to meet much more frequently than originally scoped and that this needs to be accounted for in the budget.  He also pointed out that the original Transport 2020 scope was $1.4 million and $400,000 had been cut from the proposal, much of it from public participation.  Another reason for the modification is the fact that the study area is much larger than originally scoped, and encompasses communities not in the primary core travel area.  He said that the Transport 2020 Management Team had been delegated the duty to think about ways to make these modifications.


Stephanie Eiler said that she and Kim Lobdell (KL Engineering) developed some ways to modify the overall Public Participation Plan.  Eiler said that the non-scoped public participation work had been estimated to cost about $77,000, and that the Management Team directed her to find ways within the existing budget to account for these additions.  She said that two areas could be pursued: (1) some future work elements could be reduced, and (2) OAC and TAC members, and their staff, could carry some of the outreach burden.


Trowbridge said that the desirability of reducing work scope in an already tight Transport 2020 work plan is highly undesirable (in his opinion), but agreed that a great deal of outreach can be done with the help of Committee and Consortium representatives.  He said that materials have been prepared to help communicate some of the general issues to be discussed, at stakeholder and/or neighborhood meetings, etc.  Trowbridge distributed a number of items, such as a matrix highlighting the various components of the outreach plan, and a list of the types of groups that might be contacted and the types of meetings/forums that could be pursued in the future.  He also handed out a script, fact sheet and informational packet (with background information and maps) that could help guide future outreach meetings and discussions.


(Note: Copies of these handouts can be obtained by request)


Trowbridge added that the City of Madison has a very good infrastructure for reaching out to neighborhood groups and a number of other interested parties within the City, but that the OAC and TAC could be helpful in accessing other stakeholders (such as the Sierra Club, Greater Madison Urban League, state agencies, planners and elected officials from communities outside of Madison, etc.).


The OAC agreed that this general approach to expanding the public outreach program was acceptable, and many OAC members in attendance expressed a willingness to help with the outreach.  However, Committee members expressed numerous concerns with the materials being handed out and their feelings about the timing/nature of the outreach.


George Nelson said that the public outreach materials being handed out were very general in nature, and would not be very useful or of much interest to the business community (i.e., Chamber of Commerce, etc.) at this time.  Nelson said that much more needs to be known about the direction we are headed before business-oriented groups are engaged in this process.  Ken Golden said that persistent outreach may be relevant and helpful for some groups, but not for others.  Dick Wagner suggested a tiered approach to the public outreach.  He said that it would be helpful to think about ways to specifically tailor the materials and presentation to the level of interest and expertise of each stakeholder group.  Wagner agreed that some groups should not be engaged until some real choices exist and somewhat “final” decisions are to be made.


Golden said that more detail could be provided about the public outreach being planned and how it differs among the various stakeholder groups.  Ann Falconer pointed out that the materials being handed out this evening would be very helpful for a number of stakeholder groups, such as neighborhood groups, and that the outreach could proceed at this time.


Stephanie Eiler thanked the Committee for their thoughts and said that more detail will be provided, specifically in regard to the outreach conducted (and the materials likely to be used in presentations, etc.) for each of the various stakeholders.





Kimon Proussaloglou of Cambridge Systematics provided the OAC an overview of the four-step travel demand forecasting process.  He provided numerous details about how the Dane County model was modified to reflect conditions in this area.  He also pointed out that the model was working well, after some adjustments had been made.  He said that he expects some useful results after the initial Phase I modeling effort, which will have some preliminary output by late April.


(Note: Copies of Mr. Proussaloglou’s handouts can be obtained by request)


Kristine Euclide asked about modeling in other communities, and how those communities have seen actual ridership far exceed the estimates.  Proussaloglou replied that this has gone both ways, and numerous communities overestimated ridership.  He said that modeling is simply a tool that is only as good as its data inputs and those operating it.  He said that this is a reason why it often takes a great deal of time to get a model to operate in a manner that reflects local conditions as best it can.


Ken Leonard asked how sensitive the data inputs are to Madison’s experiences and mode choice behavior.  Ken Golden reiterated that, noting that deep discounts with the Metro bus system have shown some odd results.  Ald. Golden said that, in some cases, increases in fares were met with an increase in ridership.  Proussaloglou agreed and said that the model, as a tool, needs constant calibration to ensure that it reflects behavior as best it can.


Ken Golden asked about how people’s time is valued, and how that is reflected in the model.  Proussaloglou said that the model is very sensitive to how people value time.  For instance, he said that time spent waiting for a transit vehicle seems like much longer than if one is moving inside a transit vehicle.  Proussaloglou said that this is reflected in how transfers are considered in the mode choice element of the model.  He added that “stated preference surveys” are often helpful in calibrating the model.


The Co-Chairs thanked Mr. Proussaloglou for his overview.





Stephanie Eiler and David Trowbridge provided a brief update of the high speed passenger rail preliminary engineering study and its relationship to Transport 2020.  Eiler mentioned that she and Trowbridge had met with the high speed rail project’s chief engineer, Charlie Quandell, to discuss ways that the high speed rail project (which is on a faster timeframe) could consider the needs of Transport 2020 in its upcoming design work.


Eiler said that Transport 2020 is far from a decision on whether or not the railroad corridor would be utilized for commuter services, but that decisions about the design of high speed rail service should not preclude any of the transit options being evaluated in Transport 2020.  Trowbridge noted that he is working on a letter to send to WisDOT indicating these concerns.  Eiler also noted that the services being provided by high speed passenger rail should take into account the fact that commuter transit services might use that same corridor.  She concluded by noting that the two projects are being closely coordinated.





David Trowbridge said that Stephanie Eiler had prepared an outline of the Transport 2020 work elements and re-organized some of the work tasks into a more easily-followed format.  he said that work tasks have been broken out into more tasks than had originally been included in Parsons’ proposal, but ensured the OAC that the project deliverables are the same and the budget is not impacted by the re-ordering of work items.  Trowbridge said that this mid-course review and overview is typical and included in the approved scope of work.  He said that the original scope had called for project completion in October of 2001, but that the additional public outreach and extra time spent on developing initial alternatives will likely push the completion date back to approximately the end of calendar year 2001.


Eiler then provided an overview of Transport 2020 work tasks and asked the OAC if it had any comments or concerns at this time.


(Note: Copies of Eiler’s Mid-Course Overview handouts can be obtained by request)


Ken Golden said that it is important for the OAC representatives to keep their respective policy bodies informed of Transport 2020’s progress, since the Dane County Board, Madison Common Council, UW and other policy bodies of municipalities will need to make the final decisions being recommended by the OAC.


In terms of public outreach issues, noted in the work scope outline, Kristine Euclide expressed some concerns about the fact that the OAC did not have the materials in the packet.  She said that the members need some advanced time to review and think about the issues being discussed, or they will not feel like their input is meaningful.  Ald. Warren Onken agreed and said that, for him, the weekend before the meeting is a good time to review the meeting materials.  Onken also said that color maps often do not reproduce in black-and-white very well, which makes the review difficult.


Trowbridge apologized to the Committee and said that every attempt is generally made to get materials out with sufficient review time, but that unique circumstances led to today’s hastily-organized set of meetings (TAC and OAC).  Trowbridge also noted that some of the items on this evening’s agenda were more in the realm of “updates and FYIs” rather than concrete decisions needed by the OAC – which he admitted was not made clear.  Ken Golden said that, from now on, the agenda should clearly note “action items” or “item for decision”.  Trowbridge said that he would do this with future agendas.



10.        TRANSPORT 2020: NEXT STEPS


Eiler then updated OAC members on some future evaluation activities that were planned, and also a future workshop that is scheduled.


- Stakeholder, Focus Group and Outreach Meetings (ongoing);

- Technical Evaluation (ongoing);

§         Ridership Forecasts

§         Costs

§         Land Use Impacts/Opportunities

- TAC/OAC Reviews of Initial Model Runs (mid-April, 2001).





Stephanie Eiler said that the next meeting of the Oversight Advisory Committee had been scheduled for Thursday, March 8th, but said that this meeting should be rescheduled to make better use of OAC members’ and the consultant team’s time.  She added that the next meeting should be a joint OAC/TAC meeting.  The OAC agreed to that and scheduled the meeting for:


- Joint OAC/TAC Meeting: Tuesday, May 15th, 4:45 p.m., Room 260 City/County Building.


Eiler said that the topics for discussion at the next OAC meeting would be (1) Transport 2020 evaluation criteria and performance measures (and linkages to goals/objectives), and (2) a review of the initial model results.  The Committee also scheduled a meeting in June, to discuss the screening of the initial alternatives.  That meeting will be held:


- Oversight Advisory Committee Meeting #13: Tuesday, June 12th, 7:00 p.m., Room 201 City/County Building.





There were no items by the Co-Chairs or Committee members.



13.        ADJOURNMENT


The Committee adjourned its meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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