Are Bus Rapid Transit Environmental Benefits Worth the Risks?

Most City of Madison officials have billed the city's upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as an important method to increase city-wide sustainability. However, variables such as ridership, implementation, and cohesiveness with other city systems have the potential to create negative environmental externalities if the project is not executed properly. “As long as this project is done responsibly and in line with current environmental protections, I think we can be confident [that Bus Rapid Transit] will be an added benefit to the Madison area,” said Jonathan Drewsen, communications director for Clean Wisconsin, the state’s oldest and largest environmental advocacy organization. Clean Wisconsin is one of many parties involved in Madison’s BRT initiative. These parties deal with more than just the environment; with a projected cost between $120 and $130 million, Bus Rapid Transit is a massive undertaking that requires planning studies on ridership, construction, and vehicle maintenance, among other things.

Madison Commons Media Digest, January 26, 2020

Madison and Dane County

Madison begins program to help low-income families offset city's $40 wheel tax,  Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 25. Foes urge Dane County to oppose F-35s, which look increasingly likely; county says it's powerless, Steven Elbow, Capital Times, Jan. 24. Former Dane Co.

The Bus Stops Here: For a Capped Commute Card

Starting in 2020, Metro's Commute Card for Business will be capped every month at the cost of the regular Unlimited Ride Pass. What is a Commute Card for Business and why is it capped? The Commute Card for Business

The Commute Card for Business is a special annual unlimited ride pass that is only available through area organizations and businesses. A generic Commute Card program started about fifteen years ago as a mutually beneficial way to support and increase bus ridership, worker benefits and/or lessen transportation costs and the demand for parking in land-locked areas. It involved such large educational and health organizations as the UW-Madison's Associated Students of Madison (ASM) and the UW Hospitals and Clinics a well as some businesses. 

The original organizations still have special pass programs, but the Commute Card for Business3 is now its own program.

January 2020 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. This month's volunteers are ... Marty Dillenburg, Sierra Club John Muir Chapter Foundation

Marty started volunteering with the Sierra Club three years ago where he has collaborated with other volunteers on several projects, ranging from water protection to clean energy advocacy to state parks accessibility. Beyond his notable work of protecting the environment, Marty brings a positive attitude and lots of humor to our team.

Madison Commons Media Digest, January 19, 2020

Madison and Dane County

Zoo Director looks ahead after split with former fundraising partner, Judy Davidoff, Isthmus, Jan. 16. Madison public golf courses need investments of $34.7 million to $52.5 million, Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 14. Community

Madison Diocese identifies ninth priest credibly accused of sexual abuse, Emily Hamer, WSJ, Jan.

Madison Commons Media Digest, January 12, 2020

Madison and Dane County

Novel financing approach may help city absorb town of Madison, Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 12. Changes aimed at making city government more fair would cost $2.2 million, Dean Mosiman, WSJ, Jan. 8; Implementing change would cost millions, Abigail Becker, Capital Times, Jan. 8.