Council okays bus station demolition, orders study

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

From an article by Chris Rickert in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Downtown’s Badger Bus depot will close at the end of August to make way for 82 apartments and 11,500 square feet of retail space after the City Council unanimously approved the redevelopment plan Tuesday night.

Although the project, consisting of three buildings and an underground parking garage set on a one-acre lot, will be a dramatic change from what’s at 2 S. Bedford St. now, most of the discussion during the two-hour public hearing Tuesday centered on how the demise of the depot fit into the broader need for a transportation center for buses and possibly trains.

Susan De Vos, of Madison Area Bus Advocates, was among several people who urged the council not to OK the redevelopment plan until the city had identified a site for a future transit hub. She suggested the depot’s current location might be a good fit.

"The depot could well become part of a new Downtown multimodal terminal," she said. . . .

Still unclear is where Greyhound — which also uses the Bedford Street depot — will make its stops. The Meiers and Ray Harmon of the mayor’s office said the company is considering Dutch Mill and the Metro Bus East Transfer Point as alternatives.

Alderman Mike Verveer, whose 4th District includes the depot, said the apartment project has been under review since last year and that the neighborhood is strongly in support of it.

"The only issue — and I admit it’s a big one — is the future of inner city bus service" and a future transit terminal, he said.

He also pointed out that the city attorney had said it would be inappropriate for the council to make approval of the depot redevelopment contingent on finding a location for a new terminal.

The council did agree to an amendment to the plan that requires the mayor’s office and city staff to report back to the council in 60 days with details on where Greyhound and other bus providers will be picking up and dropping off passengers after the demise of the Badger depot.