Together with thousands of others I have traveled to Downtown Madison for work, dining, entertainment, shopping and other activities for the last 45 years. I have experienced the traffic and commuting concerns that I know everyone is struggling with in searching for a workable solution.
The city is refining details of an initial BRT route roughly from East Towne through Downtown to West Towne that will require an $80 million to $100 million capital outlay and cost about $3 million annually to operate.
After reading Sunday's State Journal article "BRT on city’s front burner," about proposals for bus rapid transit in Madison, I am reminded of the past consideration given to placing light rail or commuter rail on the existing rail corridors through the Isthmus from all regions of Madison: east, west, south and north. In particular, I recall the train sets brought here for demonstration using those corridors.
A major concern raised with the current BRT proposals is the impact on the limited existing vehicle and parking lanes. We all recognize and appreciate the attractiveness of the Isthmus and the desire to preserve as much access as possible. The rail corridors are already in place. Negotiating rail access and timing presents challenges, but not insurmountable ones.
Moreover, the costs of developing such a rail system cannot be that variant from the $80 million to $100 million projected for the BRT system.
I urge consideration of the rail alternative.
Jim Cole, Waunakee