Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and local environmental advocates are calling for greater transparency nearly two months after fires at two Madison Gas & Electric substations in July, especially regarding PFAS, potentially harmful chemicals in the firefighting foam that have leaked into Madison's lakes.
A group of Wisconsin public educators, parents and students organized by the Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) finished out a 60-mile march from Palmyra to the state capitol in Madison on June 25.
As the cost of renewables like wind and solar continues to decline dramatically—by 69% and 88% respectively over the last decade, according to recent analyses—the conversation around energy is changing in Wisconsin and across the country.
While some groups, like RENEW Wisconsin, have been advocating for renewable energy in the state for decades, a new nonprofit, the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, has also recently begun promoting clean energy policy in the state. The Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WCEF) was founded in December 2017 with the goal of bringing conservatives to the table to discuss the benefits of clean energy for Wisconsin’s economy and actuating the transition through lobbying. The group is part of the Conservative Energy Network, which is also active in Minnesota, Michigan, and states around the country. WCEF’s platform might come as a surprise to some who see clean energy as tied to left-of-center policy proposals like the Green New Deal, but the forum’s director, Scott Coenen, sees a middle ground where the expansion of clean energy aligns with conservative values. Earlier this spring, Madison Commons sat down with Coenen to understand his organization’s perspective on the energy transition.
At the downtown Senior Center in early May, the City of Madison had yet another in a series of public meetings on a hypothetical regional transportation system to compliment the local service provided by Madison Metro dating back to at least 2002. A video of the meeting can be seen here. This time, the meeting focused on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), not rail. BRT may be most suitable for an urban area our size, at least initially. The Madison area has become just too big to be served adequately by a local bus system alone, but it is not yet big enough to warrant having a more expensive rail system.
Last week Madison Metro Transit and its oversight committee the Transportation Commission held a public hearing on what has become an annual ritual of vetting a slew of service changes that do not involve a massive infusion of additional money. The aim is to have largely cost-neutral changes in place for the start of the next academic year, and the hearing in late April can be considered the public kick-off to the review process. Madison Metro had previously compiled the proposed service changes into a file that can be viewed and here. The hearing itself was captured both on video and audio by the City of Madison's media site. The Commission will deliberate on the proposals at its May 22, 2019 meeting. In the meantime, written comments can be sent to Metro Transit Public Hearing Feedback, 1245 E. Washington Ave., Suite 201, Madison WI 53703 or by emailing email@example.com.
The state of Madison Metro bus stops may not garner the kind of media attention that a $30 million price tag for a new storage facility does, nor might a nicely endowed bus stop cost even half as much as one new off-street parking stall—let alone a few yards of asphalted street—but bus stop conditions can attract or turn off potential riders. Bus stops speak volumes to what a community really thinks of its transit system, how it prioritizes transit in its budget, how it allots Tax Incremental Financing funds and how it makes land use decisions. Is the stop a mere post in the ground where people must wait for the bus by standing in the wind, rain, snow and dark? Or can they wait by sitting in a sheltered, lighted, even heat-controlled area? Does the stop have schedule information that tells riders when their bus is coming?
Using Madison Metro bus lines in the winter can be challenging. Days are short; dark comes early; it is cold, icy and slippery. But using the bus can offer some advantages over driving in winter: there’s no need to de-ice a car, or risk damage and injury trying to drive on a slick, corrosive, or rough road. Riding the bus in winter eliminates the worry that your car might not start, get stuck in a snowbank, or worst of all, that you may run afoul of those infamous 'alternate side parking’ rules. And of course, for many riders, using the bus in winter isn’t merely a convenient choice—many riders rely on the bus as their primary means of transportation year-round, or use the bus as a backup to traveling by foot or on bike as the weather gets cold.
Here’s your chance, Madison, to share your poetry stories about your favorite Madison places with the thousands of Madisonians who ride the bus every day. Madison Metro Transit and Madison’s poet laureate, Oscar Mireles, are inviting members of the community to send short poems, haiku, prose poems, or excerpts from longer poems, 3–15 lines total, to the 2019 Bus Lines open call for poetry. “In the past, we’ve had over 300 submissions,” Mireles tells Madison365. “The winning poems will be put either on the back of a bus or the fare card/transfer card. Or they will be put on the ride guide, the booklet that has all of the bus schedules for the city, or on the webpage.”
Mireles is the first Latino to hold the position of Madison’s poet laureate, a position he has held since January of 2016.
As of July 1, 2018, Madison has revived at least two aspects of its public transportation system that it had between 1968 and the early 1990s, which is both good and bad. The good is that the city once more has a functioning Department of Transportation with a director. The bad is that citizen participation is being overly limited at a time when alders need more, not less, input from constituents. Let's begin with a little bit of history. The City of Madison established a transportation department (MDOT) back in 1968.
Madison and Dane County were deluged by record-breaking rainfall in late August which resulted in flooding that caused damage estimated at more than $150 million, including hundreds of totaled vehicles. Since then, many residents have been forced to replace their cars. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Wisconsin has seen an increase in the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming decades. The trend toward heavier rainfall is driven in part by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, to which transportation emissions are a major contributor. Yet, for Madisonians replacing flood-totaled vehicles, emissions-reducing considerations like fuel efficiency and fuel type (electric, hybrid, etc.) are often of minor concern.