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Madison City Council signals intention to continue to work with Dane County on road projects

Madison City Council signals intention to continue to work with Dane County on road projects

Buckeye Road

The mile-long stretch of Buckeye Road — also known as Highway AB — between Monona Drive and Stoughton Road is scheduled for reconstruction this year.  

Signifying optimism in Madison’s relationship with Dane County, the City Council voted to set aside a resolution calling for the county to eliminate a jurisdictional transfer policy.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced in April that the two entities came to an agreement on how to move forward with reconstructing Buckeye Road, which is also County Highway AB.

“My main concerns are that we’re thinking about the most efficient way to provide services and to use the limited resources we have both on the city side and on the county side,” Rhodes-Conway said at a Common Council Executive Committee meeting ahead of the the full City Council meeting Tuesday.  

Under this agreement, the city and county are sharing the cost of reconstruction, which totals $7.9 million. Dane County maintains jurisdiction and all current maintenance responsibilities, except for snow plowing. The city will be responsible for plowing snow on the east side thoroughfare starting in 2020-2021.  

Agreement on how to move forward on Buckeye Road and on the future reconstruction of Cottage Grove Road, which is also County Highway BB, was at a standstill under former mayor Paul Soglin’s administration.

Rhodes-Conway said she and Parisi have a conceptual agreement and willingness to work together on the estimated $7.5 million reconstruction of Cottage Grove Road.

“I’m hoping we are sort of resetting the relationship and trying to approach it from a more collegial perspective and asking some of the bigger questions first rather than the specifics about each road,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Josh Wescott, chief of staff for Parisi, said in a statement that he anticipates “similar successes” with future projects.

“The conversation has progressed from who has jurisdiction of roads to what’s the best way for the city and county to most efficiently care of them as they’re improved,” Wescott said.

Construction on Buckeye Road, spanning from Monona Drive to South Stoughton Road, is expected to begin in mid-June and last through November. The city has selected a bid from local contractor Capitol Underground, Inc. for $6.26 million.

The project is over budget by $700,000, which will be funded by the city and the county according to a cost sharing policy. The city will consider an amendment to move $290,000 of general obligation borrowing from an existing project, which has excess budget authority.

The project will reconstruct the road, construct new curb and gutters, add on-street bike lanes in both directions and parking lanes in certain areas. Additionally, sidewalks will be added to south side of street where they do not currently exist, new street lighting will be installed along the length of the street and pedestrian-activated flashing yellow lights will be installed.  

Alders at the CCEC meeting expressed support for placing the resolution on file. Ald. Rebecca Kemble, District 18, said approving a resolution will not solve a complex issue that affects not only Madison but cities and villages in Dane County.

“This is a long term issue that is not going to be solved by the council passing a resolution,” Kemble said.

The resolution, which the City Council approved on its consent agenda, requested that Dane County “suspend its practice of requiring cities and villages to take ownership of a county highway as a precondition to any county highway reconstruction projects.” 

Ald. Grant Foster, District 15, said future discussions on how to deal with regional road issues will be critical, especially as the city looks to a Bus Rapid Transit system.

“The broader question of regional transit and the role of city and county and how we work together is really important,” Foster said.

MPD ad hoc committee, Beitler parking 

On a 13-7 vote, the City Council approved decreasing the size of the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee from 15 to 13 to help the committee make quorum. 

Also on Tuesday's agenda, Rhodes-Conway introduced a resolution appointing Gregory Gelembiuk to the committee. Gelembuik would replace Ald. Christian Albouras, District 2, who served on the committee prior to his election to the City Council.

The Council is expected to vote on Gelembuik's appointment May 21. 

The resident-led committee, which was formed in 2015, is charged with reviewing the policies, procedures, culture and training of the Madison Police Department and working on a final report to the city. 

The City Council approved moving the report deadline to Sept. 3, which is the third extension approved by the city. 

Ald. Barbara Harrington-McKinney, District 1, argued against amending the committee's size for fear that the it would jeopardize the report. 

"I don’t want a report that people say the integrity of the report is flawed," Harrington-McKinney said.

However, alders supporting the change noted that the committee requested the change to 13 members. The committee had been operating with 12 members and three vacancies and failing to make quorum. 

Additionally, the City Council approved a long term parking lease agreement with Beitler Real Estate, the city's developing partner for the Judge Doyle Square project, for 40 overnight parking spaces at the replacement Government East garage. 

Beitler is developing the block that currently holds the Government East Garage. On May 8, Beitler filed a request for a major alteration to its plans, which include adding a swimming pool and removing parking. 

To make up for lack of on-site parking, the developer would use the 40 spaces in the new municipal garage, which is expected to open in October. 

The Council approved the item on the consent agenda, with Kemble requesting to be recorded as voting against the resolution. 

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