I share Marc Eisen's sadness that James Graaskamp's 1983 plans for the east side were never taken seriously by Madison's political leaders ("Unlock the East Rail Corridor," 5/7/2010). The east rail corridor was the industrial heart of Madison during the 19th and early 20th century. That time and those businesses are long gone.
The announcement that the high-speed-rail train station will be near Monona Terrace blocks innovation. Add Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk's statement that this will assist in the planning for the entirely separate, very low-speed commuter rail, and any plans for a pedestrian/bicycle-friendly east side are officially dead.
The application from Transport 2020 for federal funding for local commuter rail calls for double tracks from approximately Fair Oaks to Whitney Way, with six to eight trains closing streets/bike paths on those tracks 180 times a day.
The Milwaukee-Madison trains will enter and exit from the east side 12 times a day, with rail crossings shutting down around 24 streets and the bikeways and bike paths. The feds will also close several streets to add speed and reduce collisions with vehicles and pedestrians.
The east side will be two villages divided by a river of rails.
Bill Richardson, Middleton