(for the Dane County/Greater Madison Metropolitan Area)






Wednesday, September 27, 2000

4:45 pm

City/County Building, Room 201

210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

Madison, WI



--          ROLL CALL


Members Present: Supv. Michael Blaska; Thomas Carlsen; David Cieslewicz; Robert Cook; Ann Falconer; Ald. Ken Golden; Rob Kennedy; Douglas Dalton (for Ken Leonard); Supv. Scott McDonell; George Nelson.


Members Absent: LaMarr Billups; Kristine Euclide; Darlene Horner; Ald. Warren Onken; Dick Wagner.


Staff Present: David Dryer (City of Madison, Traffic Engineering); Charity Eleson (Dane County Executive’s Office); Bob McDonald (Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization); John Norwell (Dane County Highway and Transportation Department); Sharon Persich (Madison Metro); David Trowbridge (City of Madison, Department of Planning and Development; Project Administrator for Transport 2020).


Others Present: Karen Cornwell (Dane County Board of Supervisors); John DeLamater; Jim Jodie (Parsons Brinckerhoff); Ken Kinney (Parsons Brinckerhoff; Project Manager for Transport 2020); Kim Lobdell (KL Engineering).



1.            REVIEW OF AGENDA


Co-Chairs Ken Golden and Scott McDonell welcomed Committee members to Meeting #7 of the Oversight Advisory Committee for Transport 2020.  Project Manager Ken Kinney then provided a brief overview of the 9/27 agenda items.





The Minutes for Meeting #6 of the Oversight Advisory Committee were approved, as submitted on a motion by George Nelson/Rob Kennedy.






There were no public appearances.


Ald. Ken Golden noted that the Co-Chairs received a letter from Dane Alliance for Rail Transit (DART), asking if their group could set up a table and distribute some of their literature at the upcoming Transport 2020 Public Informational Meeting (to be held October 30th).  The OAC agreed that this would be acceptable.  However, Ann Falconer said that their display area needed to be set up in a manner that clearly indicates that Transport 2020 is a separate function/entity from DART.





Ken Kinney summarized the decisions that had been made in regard to the initial alternatives to be evaluated in Phase I of Transport 2020.  He reminded the OAC that 3 land use scenarios would be modeled – (1) Current Trends, (2) Adopted Plans, and (3) Vision 2020.  He also said that 3 conceptual roadway alternatives had been identified – (1) No-Build, (2) TSM/TDM, and (3) Build.


Kinney pointed out that the initial bus and rail transit alternatives had not yet been clearly identified, and that the primary purpose of this evening’s meeting was to do that.  He said that the rail alternatives include various routes and lengths of operation, in both existing rail rights-of-way and within the street.  He said that the express bus alternatives would include operation on separate rights-of-way, such as the rail corridor, or within the street (utilizing diamond lanes, for example).


Kinney then showed some conceptual maps of the various transit alternatives and asked for OAC feedback.  He pointed out that station locations and service plans would be developed at a later time, but that some decisions needed to be made about the initial set of transit alternatives (for modeling purposes).  He added that the exact street to be used for any given alternative did not matter as much as the general routes to be evaluated.


John Norwell and Scott McDonell expressed concern about how the communities outside of the primary study area would be dealt with in this phase of the study.  Norwell said that he would like to know how transit service to those communities would be evaluated.  Rob Kennedy suggested that some ridership forecasting analysis and cost estimates could be done without having a lot of resources devoted to it.  Kennedy said that cost and ridership data could be used from past studies and that this information can be helpful in evaluating how the outlying communities compare to the primary study area.


Ken Kinney said that the primary study area must remain within the dashed lines (as indicated on the study corridor map) because this is the area with the most significant transportation challenges.  Kinney said that the screening process (which identifies the study area) considers many factors – including traffic problems, existing and planned activity centers, employment generators, etc.  As a result of this screening process, the primary study area has been identified.  He said that, in a nutshell, it is a federal requirement that the primary activity markets drive the study corridor(s).  Bob Cook said that the data used to define the corridors needs to be clearly identified and portrayed.  Tom Carlsen agreed that the data and analysis behind the study area definition area needs to be more apparent.  Kinney said that it would be identified and will be discussed at the November 1st OAC meeting.


Kinney agreed that it may be necessary to show that other community extensions have been considered (using information from past analyses) and that, although those communities are part of a long-range service concept, they are not going to be analyzed in detail in Transport 2020.  Kinney said that the budget for Transport 2020 limits the detailed analysis to the initial study area.  However, Kinney said that it is clear that the transportation challenges in the primary study area are impacted by those outlying communities – there is a clear linkage between these areas.  Rob Kennedy agreed that there is a linkage and said that these outlying communities are part of the land use/transportation problem.  He said that, in a way, the Transport 2020 study area could be broadly defined as the “problem area” and directly include these communities.


Ald. Ken Golden recalled the debates from the Madison Metro “bus hubs” of the late 80’s and said that the concept of a “primary corridor” was used.  He said that this seems to be similar here, but added that the west side routes/alignments seem to be serving a different area than had been considered in the past.  He said that the primary west side activity centers seem to be more to the south than toward the City of Middleton.  Golden also expressed some concerns about the street running options.  He said that some streets do not have enough room to accommodate such a transit system and that they may not need to be on the table.  He said that Monroe Street is too narrow and that existing business interests would preclude implementation of this type of system.  He also said that Regent Street might be more feasible for a street running system, given its width.


Ken Kinney displayed a map showing a number of central area street running options.  He said that there are a number of positive and negative attributes for each of these options and that a “consumer reports” exercise (to be conducted later this evening) would isolate some of them.  Dave Cieslewicz suggested that State Street be included in the street running system analysis, from the Capitol Square to Lake Street.  Kinney said that it would be considered, but expressed concerns about right-of-way, sidewalk needs, delivery vehicle needs, etc.  He said that a single track option might be pursued on State Street, but that the track must be “paired” with another track somewhere in close proximity, such as along University Avenue.  Kinney gave the example of a single track system (Baltimore) that did not work effectively because of operational problems.  However, he said that it could be looked at for State Street.


Ken Golden suggested that some streets along the Capitol Square might be attractive options, because they do not carry as much traffic as some of the other streets in the central area.  Ken Kinney agreed, but cautioned that a street running system on the entire Square would be difficult to implement because of the right angles involved.  He said that right angles create problems for street running vehicles and create noise in those places.  However, he agreed that some Square options should be considered, due to the Square’s physical proximity to key employment markets.


Kinney referred OAC members to the packet and the map showing the 1920’s Madison streetcar system, which he added provided good service to the Capitol Square.  Ken Golden recalled his recent trip to Portland, OR and a streetcar system that is being installed there.  He said that it is much less intrusive and costly to build (compared to light rail) and can serve many of the same purposes as light rail.  Dave Cieslewicz added that a rule of thumb is that streetcar systems cost about 25% of the costs of light rail systems, primarily due to the cost of the necessary track.  He said that light rail track needs to be built much deeper into the ground, which adds utility costs, etc.  George Nelson asked about future Transport 2020 costs analyses, and whether or not the types of costs Madison Metro typically incurs would be reviewed.  Kinney replied that local bus transit (and its costs) are important components of the overall system and would need to be considered as part of the evaluation.


Ken Kinney then described some of the “packages” of initial alternatives to be modeled.  The packages of initial rail, bus, land use and highway alternatives (to be modeled in Phase I of Transport 2020) 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 Wilson/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


Kinney reiterated the point that the exact streets for transit systems need not necessarily be determined for modeling purposes, but said that it is useful to talk about the various pros and cons of alternative street options.  He said that, in terms of buses operating on diamond lanes within the street right-of-way, the streets needed to be identified.


Bob McDonald noted that a potential additional bus transit option (diamond lane within the street right-of-way) could run south to CTH PD, along Fish Hatchery Road or Park Street.  Kinney said that this could be evaluated.


“Consumer Reports” Exercise

Ken Kinney then asked for the OAC’s help in completing an initial (preliminary screening) evaluation of various rail transit options, utilizing a “consumer reports” exercise.


Kinney said that several criteria should be reviewed for various segments of rail options and alignments (both street running and within current rail corridor).  The exercise will start with streets and corridors in the downtown area.  He said that this exercise is not highly technical in nature, but is intended to isolate fatal flaws or options that do not merit further serious consideration – based on either technical or political factors. He added that this type of evaluation is also helpful in seeing the relative merits of various alignments to one another (and within various criteria), and to see the types of trade-offs that are inherent with systems of this nature.  Kinney also noted that professional judgment and experience is more than sufficient for this type of evaluation.


Kinney said that “consumer reports” refers to the circles often used in these types of analyses.  For example, if the circles are colored in to a greater degree, the more “positive” the impact (for the respective criteria).  Kinney said that the circles should be filled in to indicate the various levels of desirability – either positive or negative.  He said that circles could be empty (highly negative) or colored in ¼, ½, ¾ or full (highly positive).  For example, for “cost” criteria, a full circle would indicate a relatively inexpensive option.  Or, for “traffic impact” criteria, an empty circle would indicate a high degree of traffic disruption (such as might occur if an entire traffic lane would be removed from operation).


Kinney said that numerical values can also be given to show the various degrees of the circles being filled in - with a full circle being a value of 5, and an empty circle a value of 1.  This is done for demonstration purposes only, and the numerical values do not reflect absolute or relative degrees of acceptability.


The following criteria are to be used in the evaluation.  A brief description follows after each criteria, describing what types of issues should be considered for each.


- Close to Markets/Ridership: How close is the rail track to the origin or destination markets?  How long of a walk is required to access the land use?  Employment markets are the key destination considered here, but residential markets are also considered (to a lesser degree).


- Path Ease/Cost: How expensive would it be to make the required capital improvements to implement the rail transit service?  How much difficulty would be encountered in obtaining the right-of-way for the system (such as existing businesses, residential buildings, parks, sidewalks, etc.)?  This criterion basically assesses how much physical room there could be for such a system.


- Traffic Impact: What impact would the various transit systems have on traffic operations – considering both existing and future traffic levels?  What would traffic congestion and flow conditions be after implementation of such a transit system?  This criterion assumes that worsening traffic congestion is negative.


- Land Use Impact: How would the existence of the various rail transit systems impact redevelopment in areas adjacent to the system?  What impact would those systems have in acting as a “catalyst” to redevelopment?


- Neighborhood Disruption/Impact: What impact would the transit system have on existing residential neighborhoods and commercial activity centers – in terms of noise, vibration and other potential negative impacts?  A transit system physically located further away from neighborhoods and activity centers would likely score higher under this criterion.


- Visibility: How visible is the potential transit system?  This criteria assumes that the public generally feels safer and more confident about getting onto a transit system that appears to be closer to the major activity centers and highly visible, as opposed to a transit system that is relatively isolated.  In this way, a transit system that runs directly within the primary street system will be much higher with this criterion.  However, visibility of the “entrance” of the system can provide an improved level of visibility.


Kinney then described the various routes/alignments to be considered.  In the downtown area, Kinney said that 5 potential rail alignment options are to be reviewed, including the following.  Kinney noted that most rail transit options in the central area are within the street right-of-way, and one option is within the existing rail corridor:


(a) Gorham Street/Johnson Street (within street right-of-way)


(b) East Washington Avenue (within street right-of-way)


(c) Main Street/Mifflin Street/Wilson Street/Doty Street (within street right-of-way)


(d) Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR) Corridor (within rail corridor)


(e) State Street (within street right-of-way)


City Traffic Engineer David Dryer asked about the street running rail transit options, and whether or not they were assumed to remove an existing traffic lane.  Ken Kinney said that, in most cases, the street running options would operate where parking exists today, although that may not be politically desirable.  Kinney also said that there might be exceptions, where sufficient right-of-way exists to accommodate all street uses.


The following are some comments provided by OAC members about the various routes/alignments, in regard to the evaluation criteria:


- Close to Markets/Ridership: The Wilson/Doty Street route was felt to be closest to employment markets, but State Street was also close to some markets (¾ circle).  The Gorham/Johnson Street route and the WSOR corridor were somewhat less close, but still desirable (½ circle).  Those routes were seen as close to residential markets.  The East Washington Avenue corridor was seen as quite far from the key destinations, with the exception of the Government Executive Facility (GEF) buildings (¼ circle).


- Path Ease/Cost: The Wilson/Doty Street route, Gorham/Johnson Street route and East Washington route were all seen as quite expensive for path ease/cost (¼ circle).  State Street was seen as the most expensive option, given the tight right-of-way (empty circle).  The WSOR corridor was seen as the least expensive option, since the rail corridor is already in place (full circle).


- Traffic Impact: The Wilson/Doty Street route was mixed, in terms of traffic impacts – with the Capitol Square segments seeing little expected traffic problems (¾ circle), but the Wilson/Doty pair experiencing more severe impacts (¼ circle).  The State Street option was seen as having little traffic impact (¾ circle).  The WSOR corridor was seen as having the least traffic impact, given that only the gate crossings would be an impact – and would be relatively minor (full circle).  The East Washington Avenue corridor was expected to have severe traffic impacts, given that an entire traffic lane might need to be taken (empty circle).  The Gorham/Johnson Street corridor was also seen as having severe traffic impacts (¼ circle).


- Land Use Impact: In terms of land use redevelopment potential, the Wilson/Doty Street route and the State Street route were seen as having moderate impacts (½ circle), when development of blocks just off of those streets were considered as well.  The WSOR route was expected to have relatively minor redevelopment impact (¼ circle).  The East Washington Avenue corridor was expected to have very strong redevelopment potential, given existing land uses along that corridor (full circle).  The Gorham/Johnson Street corridor was seen as having very few opportunities for land use redevelopment (empty circle).


- Neighborhood Disruption: The Gorham/Johnson Street route was expected to have the most disruption of the neighborhood, given the large amount of residential land use along that corridor (empty circle).  The Wilson/Doty Street route and the East Washington Avenue route both were seen as having relatively little neighborhood disruption (¾ circle).  The State Street option was seen as having moderate impact on the neighborhood and business activities (½ circle).  The WSOR corridor was seen as having the least neighborhood impact (full circle).


- Visibility: The State Street route was seen as having the highest level of visibility (full circle).  The Wilson/Doty Street route was seen as also having a high degree of visibility, particularly due to its proximity to key destinations (¾ circle).  The Gorham/Johnson route also was seen as being highly visible (¾ circle).  The East Washington Avenue corridor was expected to have moderate visibility (½ circle).  The WSOR corridor was expected to have poor visibility, due to its location away from key activity centers, but it was felt that some of this could be remedied by a highly visible entrance to the escalator/stairs (¼ or empty circle).


Kinney thanked the OAC for their thoughts.  He said that this type of exercise allows for a good understanding of how the various rail transit options relate to one another, within each of the key criteria.  He said that this information can be used to modify routes/alignments in the future.


Given the fact that many OAC members had to leave the meeting, Ald. Golden suggested that the remaining “consumer reports” exercise pages be filled out by OAC members and returned to David Trowbridge through the mail.  Trowbridge said that he would distribute blank sheets and a brief description of what should be done – both to members in attendance this evening and those not in attendance.





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



6.            FUTURE MEETINGS


The Committee was reminded of the following meetings that have been scheduled:


- Transport 2020 Public Informational Meeting #1: Monday, October 30th, 5:00-8:00 pm (brief presentation at 6:00), Monona Terrace Convention Center; and,


- Oversight Advisory Committee Meeting #8: Wednesday, November 1st, 6:00 pm, Room 201 City/County Building (Council Chambers).


Kim Lobdell wished to clarify that the subject matter being discussed this evening, such as potential rail and bus transit alternatives, would not be discussed in detail at the Public Informational Meeting.  She said that the draft goals and objectives, problem statement and other initial background information would be presented at that meeting.


Lobdell also noted that a press release would be developed prior to the meeting.  Ald. Ken Golden asked that the press release be distributed to a large number of units of government and elected officials throughout Dane County.



7.            ADJOURNMENT


The Committee adjourned its meeting at 7:15 p.m.















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