Archive for the ‘The problem is traffic congestion. Trains will cause gridlock everyday!’ Category

Traffic congestion is the problem-What’s the solution?

July 4, 2009

Traffic congestion in the narrow Madison Isthmus is the problem. It’s made worse by HWY 151 and other through traffic going right through the center of Madison instead of around it. Any solution must attack this problem and adding commuter trains will only make it worse.

Short term: computerized traffic light controls that can respond to changing conditions- football game traffic, snow storms, local events like jogging competitions. Do massive catch up re-build the “F” rated county roads to safer, high capacity feeder roads that provide alternate routes to the beltline or Fed/state or I systems. Instead of ignoring traffic congestion, or chasing federal dollars for a “sexier” train that will make congestion worse, attack the problem. I think they call it sound public policy.

Taking a systematic look at flex time for Fed, State, County city employees- nationally people who telecommute take more drivers off the road than all the transit systems. Vary start, ending times where practicle- allow one day a week work at home where feasible.

Long term: gradually over a period of years move Federal, State, County and if feasible some city workers off the Isthmus. The UW and State Cap aren’t going anywhere and shouldn’t.  But do we need the DNR downtown? (I don’t know if they are or not, but we have packed the square area with Fed, State, county and city offices)  Does GEFF I and II really need to be just off the square? You think Brodhead or Oregon would like to have 200 hundred state workers toiling away and spending dough in their downtown areas?
Build bypass or a full circle beltline around and away from the city. It works.  It has worked in in city after city.You must build with or ahead of the traffic not bury your head in the the sand and say, “I hate cars, roads and parking” deal with the problem instead of trying to make it worse.

Finally, even the Transport 2020 report states that with commuter rail Madison traffic congestion will worsen. In fact, though not mentioned in the report, crossing just under 60 streets- about 40 in the Isthmus alone – 8,000 times a day with at grade train* crossings will make traffic congestion dramatically worse on the first day the billion dollar train picks up its first passenger after 4 or five years of construction.

* At grade just means the RR tracks cross over the roads- stopping all traffic, all directions; auto, bicycle, pedestrian – and emergency vehicles. The tracks and the streets are at the same grade. This is NOT a subway or elevated system that is proposed, but will have 9,  70-80 Ton Diesel powered locomotives pushing or pulling 70 ton passenger cars crossing and stopping traffic 80 to 160 times a day on nearly 60 different streets! Can you say Gridlock?

If you add the five bikepaths/ bikeways and Pedestrian overwalks of the RR tracks it adds up to over 9,000 times a day the trains will stop all traffic-bikes, walkers, cars, trucks and all emergency vehicles. Think about that. Would you want to be the guy or gal bouncing along in the Ambulance after a heart attack or stroke and you are stranded at multiple RR crossings as the half full trains whiz by at 23 MPH?  No? ( Me either)