ONLINE: Impact of North Side Bus Rapid Transit – Isthmus

From Alder Syad Abbas’ blog (find the maps referenced below at this link):

At last week’s Joint Council Executive Committee (CCEC) meeting, Metro staff gave a presentation on the BRT network overhaul. Here is the link to the presentation for your reference.

There are a few things that concern me and that I would like to share with you – see below the images of the proposed BRT route side by side with the current existing metro route. On the left you will see the BRT traffic map provided by city staff and presented by Metro; to the right is our existing subway route during COVID. The red lines represent the proposed BRT route.

My concerns relate to the following points:

1. This network overhaul will remove many local services from various Northside neighbors, especially people of color and low-income communities. For example, route 17 will be deleted. This route provides a much-needed connection for Northside residents to access Pick ‘N Save, Woodmans, and the USPS at Milwaukee Street. Route 17 was originally created at the request of the Neighborhood Resource Team (NRT) to provide equity and labor opportunities for people working at Pick ‘N Save, Woodmans and to other places along the route, and to people using services on that route. Those unfamiliar with Northside (NRT) can read more about NRT here. Removing Route 17 will disproportionately impact people of color and low-income families who depend on this route to access services and work opportunities.

2. The overhaul of the BRT network also stranded the 1,200 affordable and low-income housing residents living in mobile prefab homes on Packers Avenue, and hundreds of seniors affordable housing residents on Tennyson Lane. Many of these people rely heavily on Route 21 to connect to city services and the proposed BRT redesign does not take this into account.

3. Oak and Pawling streets offer many affordable housing options. Many residents living in these apartments are low-income and of color, and some of these people live with disabilities. Right now the number 4 bus is picking up a lot of people at their doorstep. However, in the new design of the BRT network, these people will have to travel many blocks to catch a bus.

4. Further north, the city’s proposed BRT network overhaul removed access to Delaware roads and schools, leaving those communities also stranded or requiring them to travel via their own vehicles to access city services. Not only is this unfair and a possible inconvenience, but it will also increase the city’s carbon footprint.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and, as always, thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns with me. Please note that I have shared these concerns with city staff and hope they can address some of the concerns at the (virtual) neighborhood meeting on January 20 that I have hosted. Details of the meeting are below – I hope you can join:

When: January 20, 2022, 6:00 p.m. Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://cityofmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpf–hqzstGt3mgi_tbvkX1oT69fjLZQWI

Engaging at this early stage is a great way to get your northern voices heard.

As an alder, it is my responsibility to keep you informed and to hold our system accountable.

Thanks and all the best,

Syed

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