City leaders work to cut down commute times as Madison population grows

City leaders work to cut down commute times as Madison population grows
Courtesy Wisconsin DOT

City planners are looking at how they can make your commute faster and easier with a new public transportation option coming to Madison, and they want your input.

The new bus-rapid-transit system would be a way to keep up with the city’s growth.

“This is an exciting time for Madison transportation. We’re going to kind of go to the next step from being a big little city to a little big city,” said Thomas Lynch, transportation director for the city of Madison. “We’re going to build the transit backbone that will serve our population for the coming decades.”

So what is bus-rapid-transit? The city would make designated lanes with limited stops to get people to work, school, and other destinations more quickly.

More buses would be added to the Metro Transit system, with added features like on-board WiFi.

“Madison has very high transit numbers for a city our size and perhaps part of that might be our geography,” said Lynch. “We have a good thriving metro system– I think 51 million trips a year– and because we are so good at transit, BRT makes sense.”

A meeting on Dec. 12 is meant for public engagement to ensure that Madison BRT reflects a range of community needs, concerns, and priorities. That meeting takes place at 6 p.m. at the Central Library downtown. The planning phase of the new transit system is expected to be finished next fall.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can take this survey online.

After a plan has been developed, city leaders will apply for federal funding to finish design and build the route.

Construction of the east-to-west route would be complete around 2023 or 2024.

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