Last Thursday, during a public meeting, the city of Madison gave more precise estimates regarding different bus rapid transit alternatives and how much commuting time is going to decrease.
Bus Rapid Transit, well known as BRT, represents a high throughput and high-frequency service with the aim to connect east and west part of the city of Madison and also runs on some dedicated bus lines.
The city intends to implement this new way of commuting hoping to gain some of the federal grant funds starting with fall 2019. The system should be entirely operational by the year 2024.
According to the mayor of the city of Madison, BRT will have to meet the demands in traffic since the city is constantly expanding. During the last five years, 180,000 daily trips have been recorded in the city of Madison.
In Thursday’s public meeting, the initial cost for building this type of project is estimated at between $120 and $130 million. The options outlined in May estimated between $80 and $100 million for the initial costs of the project, of which $100 million could be the federal grant money.
Once put in place, the project would cost up to $3.5 million per year to run, according to Dan Mayers representative of consulting firm AECOM, which should assist the city on this project.
At this moment, the larger part of the route has been selected, but the city has to choose between the two options regarding the west Madison. As for the Downtown, three viable options are to be chosen from. Seventy people were present in the meeting, and each of them was invited to give a vote concerning the options they preferred.
Regarding the West Side, the most important difference is in the route: one is supposed to go through Mineral Point Road and the other through Odana Road.
The alternative preferred by locals, Mineral Point, would cost approximately $117 million. Odana Road is estimated to cost $123 million. The latter would serve many more people, which is the ridership of some 113,600 people daily. Mineral Point Road would serve 11,700 people per day.
When it comes to travel time, 55 minutes will take to commute the east-west route by Mineral Point Road and some 59 minutes to commute from east to west using Odana Road. According to estimates, it’s about 14 minutes faster compared to Bus Rapid Transit bus travel time without a dedicated lane.
The three options are available for the Downtown. One would pass around Capitol Square and State Street. Also, this option requires route diversion of some metro buses.
The viable options are streets on the south of State Street and one block away from the capitol. That would call for some traffic adaptations to those streets, which involve canceling 110 parking spaces.
There is also a viable option to promote Broom Street into a two-way street destined only for the buses. The other suggestion is to use both Henry and Broom Street, and both options include using Wilson and Doty Streets.
At this moment the city is still making a decision which options would be the best for passengers’ needs, and the following public meeting will take place in October.