Plan a multi-modal transportation center

Thursday, June 03, 2010

From David Knuti, an active member of the Madison Peak Oil Group:

TO: Metropolitan Planning Organization

Subject: Comment on Item 5: Bus Facility Planning Needed in TIP Madison-Milwaukee Intercity Rail Project.

I wish to speak from the perspective of those concerned with Metro regional bus and intercity bus service which are not reflected in the motion before the commission. We urge that rail station planning be truly multi-modal and ultimately open-ended about final locations to ensure that the result will lead to comprehensive transit facilities.

High speed rail is great, but it is only the first of several advanced transportation facilities needed for the region. We must avoid limited-focus planning that does not consider the implication for all the elements of a transportation-efficient future. Madison is fortunate to have a downtown rail station alternative, but we are concerned that planning attention and funds be allocated to simultaneously consider the integration with regional and intercity transit. Our current intercity bus system has been allowed to degenerate to a dysfunctional mess which is contemptuous of the comfort and safety of passengers and is ill-suited to expand future bus service. It is important to not to indefinitely delay progress on these service issues.

A Monona Terrace station site would a wonderful gateway for the city, but its confined space may prove impossible to accommodate multimodal terminal facilities for regional Metro bus, intercity bus and commuter rail. And its cost might preclude further transportation facility investments for some time. It may be that a separate multimodal facility for the broader transit system is needed. Perhaps this should be still further west in "old station-- Kohl Center " area, which is most accessible to the mass ridership of the UW campus and sports events and offers access to both sides of the city. Therefore, it is important not to become financially trapped in a downtown site that proves too expensive to leave any thing left to accommodate these other transportation needs.

David Knuti
Madison, WI