Ray P flagged a Wi State Journal report about the hand -wringing at a recent meeting: Downtown station * Officials urge patience on rail details
Madison and WI Department of Transportation officials Tuesday night urged a frustrated crowd to be patient with the process of bringing passenger rail service here from Milwaukee by early 2013. Most of the crowd’s questions and comments underscored a frustration over the lack of details available since Gov. Jim Doyle announced three weeks ago a Madison rail station would be located Downtown. The three state officials in attendance — DOT executive assistant Chris Klein, Division Operations Director Paul Trombino and high-speed passenger rail program director John Oimoen — tried to reassure the about 130 people at Olbrich Botanical Gardens that “there will be a very intensive public participation process.” “There are all kinds of questions about how high the fence will be, what color it will be and whether we will use pesticides — we don’t have any of those answers tonight,” Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. He called on the public to help frame the issues so the state can address them.
Last week, the state reached an agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration that will bring engineering consultant CH2M Hill on board to help work out the details of a Downtown rail station near Monona Terrace. Trombino said the DOT expects to begin public workshops on the station next month. The exact station location should be worked out early this summer with an environmental document needing to be completed within the next year.
A committee will be formed to deal with corridor management issues such as maintenance and fencing. Another committee will work on business and labor issues such as using local workers on the project. The state officials even suggested they would be willing to meet with residents in their backyards to hear concerns and work out solutions. “Our commitment is to meet with anybody, any time any place,” Oimoen said. “We may not have all the answers for you, but we’re certainly committed to getting those answers.”
Still, many of the comments Tuesday indicated disappointment with the process and the decision to locate the station Downtown rather than at First Street and East Washington Avenue, known as Yahara Station, or the airport. “I’ve seen the city of Madison do everything possible to drive traffic away from Downtown,” said retired banker Ron Steinhofer, referring to what he sees as an emphasis on public transit over parking structures. “Now we want to locate a train station in the most congested busy area in Downtown Madison?”
Klein said state officials originally picked the airport because it’s on the line to a future Minneapolis connection. But they changed their mind after receiving “a tremendous amount of public pressure” to go closer to Downtown. A review of four sites — the airport, Yahara Station, the Kohl Center and Monona Terrace — found a Downtown station would attract more riders and be less costly to improve the tracks than the airport, and unlike Yahara Station wouldn’t require further environmental study.
Though criticism of the process and concern about the effect on the neighborhoods generated the loudest audience applause, some received applause for speaking up in favor of the project. “I heard a lot of fears today that I just don’t think are warranted,” said Tim Wong, a former state policy analyst who in 40 years in Madison has never owned a car. “Train stations in every major city tend to be downtown.”
Madison School Board member Lucy Mathiak said the schools have tried to encourage students to walk or bike, but with more rail crossings, the district may be required to spend more money to provide transportation.HUH? No MORE RAIL CROSSINGS - just more trains on better rail - passenger are SHORT - and WSOR freight will move faster! Posted: Tues 5/25/10 23:29 | Matthew DeFour | 608-252-6144 | mdefour @ madison.comAnother article
on the track improvements needed
from the same web-page:
Like many Madison east siders, Leslie Schroeder enjoys the "livability" of her neighborhood - the safety, the quiet, the close-knit community and the easily walkable connections to nearby schools, cafes and other businesses. So when the state recently announced passenger rail would come into downtown Madison, Schroeder had concerns. "Almost everybody in this neighborhood wants high-speed rail from Madison to Milwaukee, but some neighbors will bear the burden of it, while others will not," Schroeder said. "We need to do what we can to mitigate the noise or divisive impacts."Leslie's house is railside - and 03:00 trains wake her! DOH! Which part of "quiet zone" does she not comprehend? Know Madison politicos are not going to allow this service without a SIGNIFICANT quiet zone - just ike the one created west of the yard a couple years back.
Just like with the creation of a downtown Madison train station, the state and city face several challenges in upgrading the east side rail corridor. With six
passenger trains coming and going each day starting in early 2013, the amount of rail traffic on the east side rail corridor will quadruple
. They're SHORT + speedy - remember?
Link to the rest - including http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/article_3c938dac-669f-11df-b5cc-001cc4c002e0.html
If I wanted to start an argument, I'd've said "the MP15DC
is the better locomotive". You’d say "No, the MP15AC
is a far better loco ~ ya don't have to throw all those toggle switches to get it to run around the RR."