Madison-area planners are looking for input on the region’s transportation network.
As part of an update to the long-term transportation plan, the Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization has created an interactive map where users can comment on the existing system or suggest potential improvements.
The MPO is responsible for coordinating transportation planning in Dane County, Wisconsin’s fastest-growing county. Updated every five years, the regional transportation plan provides a framework for prioritizing transportation investments to handle current demands as well as future growth.
Planners are also grappling with how to account for social and technological shifts, such as telecommuting and autonomous vehicles, as well as ways to accommodate the county’s climate action plan, which calls for a 15% reduction in vehicle-miles even as the population grows.
Dane County gained about 117,000 residents over the past two decades. That’s more than the population of Green Bay, or the equivalent of adding La Crosse and Oshkosh. By 2050, the MPO expects the county to add another 196,000 residents.
The plan is advisory, but projects must be included in the plan to qualify for federal funding. The MPO also receives about $7 million a year in federal funds that it awards to local projects identified in the plan.
In a public survey conducted earlier this summer, the most important issues identified were maintaining and improving existing infrastructure, expanding and improving public transit and reducing the impacts of climate change.
Respondents overwhelmingly said they had easy access to work and other destinations by car, but more than a third rated public transit access as poor.
The map is an opportunity to provide more granular feedback, said MPO director Bill Schaefer.
Comments can identify gaps in the system — such as missing sidewalks — or problem areas as well as features people would like to see more of.
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Schaefer said feedback too detailed for a regional plan — such as a comment on speed limits or the need for a traffic control signal at a particular intersection — will be passed on to the local municipality, but is still valuable information.
The map allows users to view the existing system by mode — bus, bike, pedestrian, transit and auto — and to insert comments where appropriate. Users can also draw on the map to indicate where they would like to see new features, such as bike paths.
The map is open for comment through Oct. 3, and results will be presented this fall. A draft of the transportation plan update is expected to be released for comment in early 2022.