Scoping Summary - Section 3

III. Public Participation Results and Analysis

One-hundred-and-twenty individuals attended the Scoping meeting on April 26. A total of 43 written comments were received, 29 on forms available at the meetings, 9 via e-mail, and 5 letters. In addition 17 individuals spoke at the meeting (see Appendix D for summary notes from the question and answer session). The majority of attendees were residents of the City of Madison, although participants were present from numerous municipalities in Dane County, neighboring counties and Illinois. Table 1 describes participants’ locations of residence.

Table 1: Participants’ Places of Residence

CityNumber
Madison94
Fitchburg6
Middleton5
Sun Prairie5
Belleville1
Black Earth1
Cross Plains1
Marshall1
McFarland1
Oregon1
Riverside, IL1
Verona1
Wheaton, IL1
Whitewater1
Source: Sign-in sheets at April 26, 2006 public meeting


Participants were prompted to comment on numerous aspects of the Transport 2020 study, and altogether 168 discrete comments were received. The following tables summarize the written comments, which largely express the range of all comments received. Individual comments are categorized as pertaining to alternatives, impacts or the study process, and further subdivided where appropriate. The number of commenters making any given point is noted in the left-hand column, and the comments are arranged by the number of people making the point. Table 2 focuses on comments pertaining to alternatives for transportation improvement; Table 3 reports comments on impacts to be evaluated; and Table 4 addresses the study process. In these tables, the right hand column details the disposition of the comment or a response to the comment. Section IV below describes the ways the scope of the DEIS phase of Transport 2020 has been altered due to public participation in the Scoping process.

Table 2: Written Comments on Alternatives

Number of CommentsCommentDisposition or Recommended Action
Right-of-Way Issues
12Utilize Existing Rail Right-of-Way to maximize travel speed and- reduce conflicts with traffic, bicycles and pedestriansUse of the existing rail corridor will be fully analyzed; several preliminary alternatives make use of railroad right-of-way.
5Use street running alignments in select areas to provide more direct access to origins and destinations (downtown, Johnson St.)Use of street running alignments will be fully analyzed; several preliminary alternatives make use of street right-of-way
3Street running on University Ave. to avoid neighborhood impacts in MiddletonAlternative 1 (BRT) utilizes service on University Ave. west of Shorewood Hills.
2Street running onlyAlternative 4 (LRT) proposes mostly street running service, with the exception of the UW campus area, utilizing rail right-of-way
1Use abandoned Milwaukee Road ROW along Eastwood Drive.This alignment is now a the Isthmus bike path and is not a viable alternative for rail transit
Level of Service
7Plan to minimize travel timesExpected future travel times will be compared to current travel times
3Plan with frequent service and extended operating hoursService levels will be based on demand and cost considerations.
Technology
5Use innovative technology: hybrid electric or self-propelled electric vehicleThese technologies will be evaluated.
2Use smaller, adaptable vehicles (buses or vans)This study focuses primarily on high-capacity transit improvements; existing bus service may be reconfigured to create a seamless transit system.
1Consider vehicle passenger capacityVehicle capacity and configurations will be tailored to demand.
1Do not use buses (BRT)Buses are included in one alternative to be evaluated.
1Include ride-sharing componentThis study focuses primarily on high-capacity transit improvements; but the preferred alternative ultimately selected from the Transport 2020 study is expected to integrate into existing transit services in the region. The Madison Area MPO’s 2004-2008 Transit Development Plan for the Madison Urban Area (TDP) addresses ride-sharing and paratransit needs, and it supports the Transport 2020 planning process. The Madison Area MPO’s long range transportation plan, which is being updated, also supports the integration of the Transport 2020 preferred alternative with existing transit services. The selected locally preferred alternative will comply with ADA requirements.
1Include paratransit component
Routes and Stations
1Address cross-lake travelWater-borne transit is not being considered in this phase. The Madison Area MPO is addressing multiple travel modes in its long range transportation plan.
8Consider north-south route, connecting Oregon, Fitchburg and Downtown Madison via Park St.The first priority corridor for transit improvements was selected based on strong current transit ridership, a high concentration of regional activity centers and forecast traffic growth; future extensions may be considered.
6Plan for phased expansion: start small and then reach into suburbsSample: Future expansions may be considered.
6East End option: airportThis route is under consideration.
4East End option: East Towne do global searchThis route is under consideration.
4West End option: Mineral Pt. Road (Middleton will not generate ridership; concerns over neighborhood impacts in Middleton)This route is under consideration.
4West End option: MiddletonThis route is under consideration.
3Merge Park St. & Kohl Center stopsStation locations will be refined in the detailed definition of alternatives.
3Link to proposed High Speed Rail systemThis link is under consideration.
1Rethink the East Towne station; mall is not very niceEastern terminus of the system is being reevaluated following public comments
1Do not run vehicles on Mineral Point Road; no destinationsSeveral alternatives using Mineral Point Road are being considered.
1Build heated stationsTypical station amenities will be defined in the definition of alternatives.
2Ensure adequate parking at stationsThe study will include an analysis of parking demand at stations.
1Consider Beltline circle route for transitFuture expansions may be considered.
1Use planned campus stationsThe results of university planning efforts are included in the preliminary alternatives.
Transit Markets Served
6Plan to serve low income, minority and transit dependent riders; plan on low faresService will be designed to serve all transit markets to the maximum extent possible; environmental justice analyses will be used to evaluate how well that service reaches various locations in the corridor, including areas with higher proportions of residents that depend on transit.
1Preserve Metro serviceNew transit service will complement existing bus service and be fully integrated with existing service.
1Serve Allied neighborhoodThe first priority corridor for transit improvements was selected based on strong current transit ridership, a high concentration of regional activity centers and forecast traffic growth; future extensions may be considered.
1Address suburb-to-suburb travel 
1Develop comprehensive regional parking strategyConsideration of parking demand is an important part of this study, but development of a regional parking strategy is beyond the scope of this phase.
1Start with streetcars, then expand to commuter railTransport 2020 is focused on evaluating regional transit options geared primarily toward daily commuters and people accessing cultural/ entertainment activities in central Madison; this phase is coordinated with the city's Streetcar study so that the services complement one another and track, stations or other infrastructure can be shared to the extent possible. The Transport 2020 study team is considering streetcar technology to meet the project purpose and need.
Costs and Financing
2Consider regional sales tax districtVarious funding sources for both capital and operating funds will be fully evaluated.
1Reduce auto-oriented transportation expendituresComment noted
1Implement the LPA as quickly as possibleComment noted
1Install toll booths on isthmus to raise funds for transitVarious funding sources for both capital and operating funds will be fully evaluated.
1Increase use of bus pass programs

Table 3: Written Comments on Impacts and Scope of Analysis

Number of CommentsCommentDisposition or Recommended Action
Environmental Impacts
7Evaluate pedestrian safety and access impacts: along Yahara River, proposed Central Park, in Middleton, on Northport Rd. and near airportThe impacts of the proposed alternatives on all these environmental variables will be evaluated in the DEIS process, and avoided or minimized to the extent practicable; in cases where significant impacts are unavoidable, a detailed program to mitigate those impacts will be developed in consultation with affected neighbors and other stakeholders.
5Evaluate noise impacts: in Middleton, near airport
5Evaluate air quality impacts: in Middleton, near airport
4Evaluate energy use and energy efficiency impacts
3Evaluate land use impacts: promotion of sprawl
2Evaluate aesthetic impacts: near Packers Ave.
3Evaluate land use impacts: promotion of sprawl
Transportation Impacts
6Evaluate impacts on other modes: bicycles, traffic congestion, freight railThe impacts of the proposed alternatives on all these environmental variables will be evaluated in the DEIS process, and avoided or minimized to the extent practicable; in cases where significant impacts are unavoidable, a detailed program to mitigate those impacts will be developed in consultation with affected neighbors and other stakeholders.
2Evaluate impacts on traffic disruption & congestion
7Evaluate cost impacts: compared to roadway construction and maintenanceConstruction costs, ongoing operations and maintenance costs will be estimated for each alternative under detailed analysis; comparisons to roadway construction and maintenance costs may be presented as appropriate.
2Evaluate impacts on nearby property values:
near airport
Station area development and redevelopment opportunities will be identified in this phase.
Environmental Justice Impacts
2Evaluate impacts on populations of concern, particularly transit dependent and the elderlyThe impacts of the proposed alternatives on all these environmental variables will be evaluated in the DEIS process, and avoided or minimized to the extent practicable; in cases where significant impacts are unavoidable, a detailed program to mitigate those impacts will be developed in consultation with affected neighbors and other stakeholders.

Table 4: Written Comments on Study Process

Number of CommentsCommentDisposition or Recommended Action
Stakeholder Participation
2Coordinate with the Streetcar Study: do not build single use tracksImplementation Task Force has common membership with the Madison Streetcar Study Steering Committee. The same project manager from the City of Madison oversees both studies to facilitate coordination.
1Add Middleton representationA City of Middleton staff member serves on technical committees, and acts as liaison to Middleton elected officials and staff.
1Schedule public meetings in MiddletonStudy team is available for community and neighborhood meetings.
1Meet with Shorewood HillsStudy team is available for community and neighborhood meetings.
1Work within UW planning processesUW has representation on the Implementation Task Force.
1Implement a rail demonstration project to create excitement for Transport 2020At this time, there are no specific plans to conduct a demonstration project in this phase; however, discussions have taken place about implementing a demonstration project. The study sponsors agree that a demonstration project could materialize should funds be available.
1Create more public participation opportunities; expand stakeholder base.The Public Participation Plan outlines myriad opportunities for stakeholder involvement.
Public Information
1Share cost informationFull capital and operating cost estimates will be completed and made public during the Definition of Alternatives phase.
1Better articulate goals & objectivesGoals and objectives for the study continue from the earlier Phase 1 study. They will be articulated through the Purpose and Need statement as well through public information outlets, including the study website.
1Provide website maps in both JPEG & PDF formatsBoth formats will be included
1Share governance informationFull information on possible governance structures will be made public for comment during a later phase.
Travel Demand Forecasting
1Plan for no-growth future; no such thing as "sustainable development"Growth assumptions will be consistent with the region's adopted long-range plan.
1Use four-step ridership modelingThe modeling procedure is based on the current regional modeling system. In coordination with the Federal Transit Administration, the Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and other stakeholders; the methodology will be documented in a study report.

Oral comments at the Scoping Meeting tended to address similar themes as the written comments. Table 5 summarizes the concerns raised in the oral comments as they relate to the written comments above; the disposition of these suggestions is as noted above. More specific notes summarizing the verbal testimony, along with responses participants received from Implementation Task Force members, are included in Appendix D.

Table 5: Spoken Comments at April 26, 2006, Scoping Meeting
Number of CommentsComment
4Coordinate with the Streetcar Study; comprehensive transit system; get close to destinations
3Plan to serve low-income, minority and transit-dependent riders; plan on low fares
2Link to proposed High Speed Rail system
2East End option: airport
1Plan to minimize travel times
1Utilize Existing Rail Right-of-Way to maximize travel speed and reduce conflicts with bicycles.
1Preserve Metro service
1West End option: Mineral Point Road (Middleton will not generate ridership; concerns over neighborhood impacts in Middleton)
1West End options: Middleton service
1East End option: East Towne
1Consider North-South Route, connecting Oregon, Fitchburg and Downtown Madison via Park St.
1Evaluate energy use and energy efficiency impacts
2Plan for entire region
1Reduce auto-oriented transportation expenditures
1Create more public participation opportunities; expand stakeholder base.

Finally, a handful of oral comments were received at the Scoping Meeting that did not reflect issues raised in the written comments. Each of the following issues was raised by one participant (responses provided by ITF co-chairs are included in italics):

  • Roadways on several routes under consideration – including University Avenue and Mineral Point Road – are likely due for reconstruction in the near future; coordinate rail implementation with street reconstruction.
  • The rubber-tired “red trolley” downtown failed. Why? The trolley is a privately funded project of Downtown Madison, Inc., and is still in operation.
  • Don’t include students in the ridership calculations – this market won’t grow. Students are part of the community, and their transit needs will be accommodated.
  • With rails, our winters will cause high maintenance costs; rail is for warmer climates. Rail transit operates in many northern climates. A good snow removal system is already necessary for the existing bus system on local streets, and freight rail operators provide snow removal on existing tracks. WSOR notes that their crews clear switches of ice and snow after a heavy snowfall and ensures a safe walking area in rail yards. These activities are conducted in addition to WSOR’s on-going maintenance program. Freight rails may get occasional “breaks” in the rail during the winter months because of expansion/contraction, but this is part of a normal maintenance program of an operating railroad. This would be similar to a sun kink in the summer time in the warmer climates. In years where very heavy snowfall occurs, freight crews plow the snow off the track bed with specialized rail equipment. Both the street and the station platforms need to be cleared of snow, ice and debris. That will not change with the implementation of a fixed rail system. The Federal Transit Administration requires that items such as snow removal and station cleaning be incorporated into the operations and maintenance cost model for transit systems. Station design will be coordinated with the City of Madison and freight rail carriers to minimize snow removal efforts. The operations cost estimates for the project will reflect snow removal costs.
  • Keep bicycles off the arterial streets; it’s too dangerous for them. We are creating a fully multi-modal system; bicycles will be accommodated.
  • The facts don’t support the selection of the LPA from the last phase of the study; this system won’t reduce the number of automobile trips. This phase of the Transport 2020 study will evaluate the performance of transit alternatives in greater detail, including updated ridership projections and diversion from auto trip-making.
  • Consider selecting an alternative – such as buses – that can be implemented rapidly if an energy crisis suddenly renders automobiles very expensive to operate. The bus system is currently not prepared for a major increase in demand.