Madison, Wis., revises two BRT stations following local business concerns

July 13, 2021
The two stations on the proposed East-West BRT route feature shorter platforms, reduced shelter sizes and more transparent elements.

On July 12, Madison, Wis., unveiled updated renderings for two stations that would be part of the city’s proposed bus rapid transit line (BRT). The stations would be located on State Street and were revised following concerns that were expressed by a group of business owners that the large size of the stations would negatively impact their businesses.

The business owners stressed they were not opposed to the East-West BRT project, only the location and size of the State Street stations. State Street in downtown Madison is an eight-block road open to buses, bikes and authorized vehicles. The three-block section of street in question would host two BRT stations before the route leaves the street.

The revised design features 50-foot platforms, reduced from 75-foot platforms; reduced shelter sizes that will match the size of existing shelters; more transparent shelters to make it easier to view storefront windows; and a reduced impact on stores, sidewalk cafés and street vending areas through their street positions.

“We have been listening to and working to address the concerns of State Street businesses over the past several years. Today, we are releasing a modified BRT station design which is more context sensitive and will improve the transit situation for the entire street,” said Transportation Director Tom Lynch.

The $160-million East-West BRT project will bring 15.5 miles of BRT and include 27 stations. The project includes 8.2 miles of exclusive bus lanes, the purchase of 41 buses and aims to deliver more regular service levels and improve transit travel times.

The city explained the Locally Preferred Alternative was approved by the Common Council in January 2021 and the Locally Preferred Routing Plan was evaluated by the Federal Transportation Administration, assigned a medium-high rating and recommended for $80 million in funding in the FY 2022 Federal Transportation Budget. The city believes any delay could put the project, as well as the jobs it would bring, at risk, which could threaten Madison’s transportation future.

“Madison has been pursuing high-capacity rapid transit for 30 years. With $80 million set aside in President Biden’s budget, Madison is now on the brink of success,” said Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “Our federal BRT application is one of only six nationwide recommended for funding next year. I believe we can accommodate many of the legitimate concerns raised by business owners and reap the benefits of rapid transit for our residents, our economy and our transportation system.”
About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.