Transportation Alternatives Analysis for theDane County / Greater Madison Metropolitan Area



Wednesday, September 19, 2001 5:15 pm Madison Municipal Building, Room 260 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard Madison, WI


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

OAC Members Absent: LaMarr Billups (notified); Robert Cook (notified); Deloris Coaker (notified); Dick Wagner (notified).

TAC/Staff Present: Jim Arts (Dane County Executive's Office); Douglas Dalton (WisDOT, Bureau of Planning); Catherine Debo (Madison Metro); Douglas Gerleman (Federal Transit Administration); Lori Kay (UW-Madison); Barbara Kipp (WisDOT District 1, Planning); Rachel Martin (UW Transportation Services); Bob McDonald (Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization); Mari McKenzie (WisDOT, Bureau of Planning); Larry Nelson (City Engineer, City of Madison); John Norwell (Dane County Highway and Transportation Department); Bill Schaefer (Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization); Tim Sobota (Madison Metro); David Trowbridge (Madison Planning and Development; Project Administrator for Transport 2020); Todd Violante (Dane County Planning and Development).

Others Present: Debby Lynn Aldrich; James R. Aldrich; John DeLamater; Stephanie Eiler (Parsons Brinckerhoff; Project Manager for Transport 2020); Kim Lobdell (KL Engineering); Al Matano (Sierra Club); Mike McConville (Wisconsin & Southern Railroad); Robert Schubert; Connie Palmer Smalley.


Co-Chairs Ken Golden and Scott McDonell welcomed Committee members to Meeting #16 of the Oversight Advisory Committee for Transport 2020. Project Administrator David Trowbridge then provided a brief overview of the 9/19 agenda items.


The Minutes for Meeting #15 of the Oversight Advisory Committee/TAC were approved, as submitted on a motion by Rob Kennedy/Ald. Warren Onken.


The first speaker was John DeLamater. Mr. DeLamater said that he supports a street-running rail system that uses electrically-powered vehicles. He said that he would recommend this option to move forward for Phase 2 analysis. DeLamater said that a commuter rail system does not serve the City of Madison residents very well, primarily because the service headways are not good enough and the station configurations do not optimize City mobility. He said that he would support a system with more frequent stops and exploring the use of diesel multiple unit (DMU) vehicles. He said that the per-mile costs of the various systems should be looked at very carefully. DeLamater said that the cities of Kenosha, Portland and St. Louis implemented rail systems that used vehicles that allowed for reasonable per-mile costs.

Ald. Ken Golden asked who Mr. DeLamater contacted in Portland. He replied that it was Vicki Deavy, who he believed to be the project manager for the City of Portland Transportation Department.

The second speaker was James Aldrich, representing the Spinal Cord Association of Wisconsin. Mr. Aldrich stressed the importance of providing a system that fully meets the needs of the handicapped population in Madison. He said that handicapped persons have transportation needs that are very costly and additional costs associated with their daily lives. He said that this makes getting around a challenge. He urged full consideration of this important segment of the population.


Stephanie Eiler provided an overview of the 5 alternatives recommended to move to Phase 2, as recommended by the Management Team at its 9/11 meeting. She said that the OAC would need to confirm those recommendations this evening and also provided some guidance as to what minor modifications it would like to make to the alternatives, in terms of fare structure, parking costs, etc. She said that she would be discussing what modifications are possible (given the project scope and budget) later in the meeting.

Eiler said that the Base Bus alternative was being recommended to move forward, but that this may be revisited based on new Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations.

Stephanie Eiler noted that two commuter rail options (operating within existing railroad rights-of-way) were being recommended for Phase 2 evaluation - a "Starter" system and a "Full" system. She said that the Full System was clear (Greenway Center to Sun Prairie, Airport to McFarland), but that there was a need to clarify the Starter System termini. The OAC agreed that the termini would be Greenway Center to East Towne.

Eiler noted that the expanded bus alternative has been slightly revised by City of Madison Traffic Engineering and Madison Metro staff, as delegated by the Management Team. Tim Sobota (Madison Metro) summarized the changes, which basically clarified where diamond lanes would be utilized in the East Washington Avenue, Park Street and Johnson Street corridors. David Trowbridge distributed an updated map of this alternative.

Ken Leonard asked if Whitney Way, which is shown to use diamond lanes south to Tokay Boulevard, would still have two lanes for general purpose traffic. Trowbridge said that it would.

Finally, Eiler noted that the Street-Running Rail options (as modeled in Phase 1) was being recommended to move forward for Phase 2 analysis.

George Nelson said that he felt strongly the need to simplify the alternatives moving forward to Phase 2, and focus in on the options that are most realistic. He said that the OAC needs to understand that financial considerations need strong consideration at this point. Nelson added that the OAC has a responsibility to think realistically and not simply respond to the wish lists of everyone in the community. Nelson said that it is almost embarrassing to move all of these alternatives forward after the two years worth of analysis the consultant has conducted to-date.

Rob Kennedy said that the street-running option was added back to the Phase 2 alternatives after input by the public, and said that the OAC should respond to public concerns. Ken Golden said that a great deal of Phase 2 work was conducted in Phase 1, and that a good analysis can still be done for the 5 alternatives (and within the $1 million budget). He also said that he sees three constituencies that need to be carefully considered - the OAC, the general public and the project sponsors. Golden added that if any of the constituencies are unhappy with the Transport 2020 process, it could prove fatal to the preferred alternative. Nelson reiterated the point that, at some point, we need to focus in on what is financially realistic - and it is the OAC's responsibility to do that.

Kristine Euclide said that it is very important to get a clear assurance (from the consultant team) that it will be possible to receive a full and thorough analysis on the 5 alternatives, and within the budget.

The following motion was submitted by Rob Kennedy/David Cieslewicz.

=========================================================================== The OAC recommends that the following 5 alternatives proceed to Phase 2 for further analysis:

1. Base Bus or Expanded/Regional Bus (with all buses running in mixed traffic) - to be determined after FTA review of new regulations; 2. Commuter Rail on Existing Right-of-Way (Starter System: Greenway Center to East Towne); 3. Commuter Rail on Existing Right-of-Way (Full System: Starter System with extensions north to Airport, south to McFarland, east to Sun Prairie); 4. Street-Running Rail (same as modeled in Phase 1); and, 5. Expanded/Regional Bus (with Busway and Diamond Lane components).

Further, the OAC directs the Transport 2020 consultant team to conduct this analysis fully and within the existing $1 million budget. The OAC also delegates to the TAC and staff to work through the details of modifying the travel demand forecasting model, based on guidance provided by the OAC at this evening's meeting. ===========================================================================

Stephanie Eiler said that she (and Parsons Brinckerhoff) are fully committed to finishing the project and providing a credible and high quality evaluation. However, she said that the current budget situation would necessitate the possibility of making only minor adjustments to the Phase 1 alternatives - which she said would be reviewed later this evening.

George Nelson asked if there were any cities the size of Madison that have a light rail system. Eiler gave some examples of LRT cities, but none that were quite as small as Madison. Nelson said that he feels strongly that this community cannot afford light rail.

Rob Kennedy said that he looked forward to seeing different examples of vehicle technologies at a future meeting. Eiler said that she had prepared those materials for this evening's meeting, but the materials were not available - due to some computer access problems. She said that this could be reviewed at the next meeting.

Doug Gerleman (FTA) said that he would like to address the issue of what is required in terms of the "baseline bus" alternative. He said that it is not currently clear what is required, but he would be in touch with this project to ensure that a credible and acceptable base bus alternative moves into Phase 2.

Eiler then summarized the various input variables and the consultant team's recommendation on what should (and should not) be modified for Phase 2. She said that it is possible to make modifications to all of the alternative input variables. However, she reiterated the point that, in many cases these modifications would have a significant impact on the project budget. Stations - Recommendation: No Modification. Locations based on previous LRT and commuter rail studies and professional judgment. Station locations and station area planning to be undertaken in PE/EIS phase. Fare Policy - Recommendation: No Modification. Possible candidate for sensitivity run, if an issue. Parking Costs - Recommendation: No Modification. Possible candidate for sensitivity run, if an issue. Transit Speeds and Travel Times - Recommendation: No Modification, based on no changes to stations. Frequency of Transit Service - Recommendation: Modification to 30 minute peak service for commuter rail alternative Wait Times for Transit - Recommendation: Modification based on changed headway for commuter rail only. Walk Access to Transit Stations; Drive Access to Transit Stations - Recommendation: No Modification Transferring Activity - Recommendation: No Modification Bus Route Structure - Recommendation: No Modification. Would require recoding by MPO Land Use Plans - Recommendation: No Modification Highway Network - Recommendation: No Modification

Bill Schaefer (Madison Area MPO) said that it will be important for the staff/TAC to review the transit vehicle speeds being modeled in Phase 2. He said that it had always been assumed that this would be done. Eiler said that this may not be as easy as it seems, but Schaefer said that the MPO staff would be doing a great deal of this type of work.

Tim Sobota asked about the service frequency, and whether or not it was necessary to have 30 minute and 60 minute headways for the duration of the day, or whether there could be peak-hour only oriented services. Eiler said that it was possible to take another look at service frequencies. At Ald. Ken Golden's suggestion, the OAC agreed that the staff and TAC should work through these types of details, and if there is significant disagreement, the issue would come back to the full OAC.

David Cieslewicz asked whether or not fare premiums had to be included for all of the alternatives, and whether or not light rail could assume one fare for all transit. Eiler said that a sensitivity run could be set up for that type of evaluation.

Finally, Stephanie Eiler summarized the outputs that would be produced at the end of Phase 2 (Note: A memorandum summarizing these Phase 2 outputs was distributed to all OAC and TAC members - and can be obtained by request).

The motion was approved on a vote of 9-2 (with Mr. Nelson and Mr. Blaska voting "no").


Committee members confirmed the next two OAC/TAC meetings:

- OAC Meeting #17/TAC: Tuesday, October 30th, 5:15 pm, Room 260 Madison Municipal Building; and

- OAC Meeting #18/TAC: Wednesday, November 28th, 5:15 pm, Room 260 Madison Municipal Building.

David Trowbridge noted that the first meeting of the Public Outreach Subcommittee, formed on August 22nd, was scheduled for:

- Public Outreach Subcommittee Meeting #1: Monday, October 1st, 3:00 pm, Room LL 130 Madison Municipal Building

Trowbridge also noted that TAC members and staff would begin to work with the modelers (from Cambridge Systematics) to address outstanding concerns/issues from the Phase 1 alternative networks and get the model prepared for the Phase 2 analysis.

Rob Kennedy said that it may be a good time for the Finance/Governance Subcommittee and the Land Use Subcommittee to start meeting.


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


The Committee adjourned its meeting at 7:00 p.m.

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