Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


State Street buses under fire

As part of a week-long series, The Badger Herald is examining the public debate surrounding the progress of the State Street Redesign Project. Today the debate continues with the possible elimination of bus routes on State Street.

With the transformation of State Street set to begin in the coming years, many local business owners and residents hope to see buses removed from the street. But local officials say concerns about bus traffic will not likely lead to rerouting buses.

Current bus routes have come under fire recently after residents voiced concerns regarding noise and pollution from delivery and transit routes interfering with a growing outdoor eating environment.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he understands why State Street visitors are concerned about bus presence in front of sidewalk cafes.

“I know how frustrating it is trying to enjoy a sidewalk café when a bus idles up beside your table,” Verveer said.

However, Verveer said buses will stay.

“Buses are remaining,” he said. “It was assumed from day one that the buses would stay.”

Ald. Todd Jarrell, District 8, said State Street is classified as a fixed guideway, like the bus lane running along University Avenue. Fixed guideways are designated streets or lanes reserved exclusively for bus use. The Federal Transit Administration provides financial rewards based on the presence of fixed guideways.

Jarrell said taking away State Street’s fixed guideway status would eliminate these funds — money currently devoted to the State Street design project itself.

“Given the current budget, it is not likely we will see State Street without buses,” Jarrell said.

Verveer said of the projected $400,000 cost of the street’s design project, 80 percent would be covered by funds from the Federal Transit Administration.

“Without buses on State Street, we wouldn’t have the money to do the redesign in the first place,” Verveer said.

Verveer said residents have also voiced concerns about buses on State Street’s 100 block.

Since buses are frequently rerouted to avoid problems with the many events held on the square, Jarrell said moving the route to the outer square, bordered by Dayton, Fairchild, Doty and Webster Streets, could be a viable alternative.

However, Madison Metro recently surveyed Capitol Square bus-riders and found most preferred keeping the existing bus route on the inner loop.

Verveer said the Downtown Coordinating Committee would continue talks with Madison Metro in search of options to improve the bus situation on State Street, such as increasing the amount of time between each bus’ arrival.

Zach Brandon, member of the Downtown Coordinating Committee and owner of Laundry 101, 437 W. Gilman, said improving bus timing could help alleviate congestion.

“People have complained about buses piling up,” Brandon said.

Brandon said the members of the committee would listen to concerns of residents and business owners, and balance them against financial implications.

“We have to find a happy medium,” Brandon said. “We have to take those constituents’ concerns and weigh them with the need for federal funds.”

But regardless of the public’s concerns, Verveer says removing bus routes from State Street isn’t a possibility.

“From my perspective, there’s just no way around [having buses on State Street],” he said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *