High-speed passenger trains are scheduled to run to Madison in early 2013, with a station at the state Department of Administration Building, 101 E. Wilson St. While the state Department of Transportation continues to gather input on the station design (including a meeting on Thursday, July 29, at the DOA Building, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), city officials are busy trying to find ways to link to the station.
Madison officials have said all along they want the station to be multi-modal and connect smoothly with buses, cars, bicycles and taxis. One idea that city engineers are contemplating is allowing intra-city buses to connect to the station on John Nolen Drive rather than on Wilson Street.
City engineer Rob Phillips says this could help avoid traffic jams around Monona Terrace. But there are some challenges, including the fact that people would have to navigate several building levels to get to the buses. There would also need to be a pull-off area on John Nolen for buses and, says Phillips, "there just isn't a lot of room down there."
Architect Kenton Peters has floated the idea of turning South Pinckney Street between Wilson and Doty into a State Street-like road, specifically for pedestrians and buses. Madison traffic engineer David Dryer is skeptical.
"People are going to find they'll need that street between Wilson and Doty to circulate traffic," he says. "Like anything, it's a possibility, but it'd have to be looked at for the pros and cons of what you would get out of it."