Marquette Neighborhood Assn. supports central station

Monday, March 22, 2010

From a letter from the Marquette Neighborhood Association sent to Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and others:

The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) is excited about high speed passenger rail service coming to Madison. We support increasing multi-modal transportation options in our city and the region. MNA urges that the city plan for a rail station as far into the East Rail corridor as is feasible.

The rebirth of passenger rail is also a unique opportunity for the city to plan for a transportation hub around the passenger rail station. The recently formed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) adds another element of support for our automobile alternative transportation systems.

The city of Madison needs a transportation hub that is convenient for its residents and visitors. The rail station should also be located in an area that can support development. This is why the MNA board listened to a recent presentation on the Yahara Station proposal with great interest. The location at First Street would build connections to existing bus lines, bike paths and would be close to proposed commuter rail. It is also located on the edge of the Capital East development corridor. We were excited about the possibility of a station at that location.

There are other alternatives however, and we support a location in the East Rail corridor, closer to the city center. There is more space and development opportunity in the heart of the East Rail Corridor between Blair and Baldwin Streets. This area would also be to the South of East Washington Avenue for easier connections to proposed commuter rail. The first passenger trains will be travelling between Madison and Milwaukee. Regardless of where the station is located the train will need to be redirected to Milwaukee. This would be the case at the airport or First Street. There are existing rails in the corridor for outbound trains to head to Milwaukee or Minneapolis when that route becomes available in 10 or more years. We would like our neighborhood to be considered in the environmental assessment studies for the Madison station.