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This planning-level project is a paved multi-use (bicycle / pedestrian) path that will begin at the existing Starkweather West Branch path in Dixon Greenway (South of Milwaukee Street) and continue along the former Soo Line railroad corridor to the existing Marsh View path at Highway 30. This is part of a larger project to extend the path northeast in the creek corridor to I-39 and beyond. This is potentially a very significant addition to the City's bike transportation network. The City of Madison has long sought to develop a major, commuter-oriented bike path serving the East side of Madison generally following the East Branch of Starkweather Creek and the railroad corridor. Detailed planning began in early 2002 and in 2004 the City conducted an extensive public involvement process for the Starkweather Creek watershed looking at bicycle/pedestrian transportation along with other issues which recommended focus on two "backbone" bike routes, the West Branch path [recently completed] and the [Starkweather] East Branch path. This first segment will significantly improve bike travel for large near-East side neighborhoods within a reasonable commuting distance of central Madison and the University. By connecting to the Marsh View path it greatly enhances the transportation value of that path while accomplishing a crossing of Highway 30, currently a major barrier for bikes. Because of its strategic location and path connections, it will be a major commuter route. An obstacle to planning has been uncertainty about the ultimate use of the rail line. In many locations this "rails-with-trails" path will not be feasible without easements or other arrangements to share a portion of the rail corridor. A growing number of such projects have demonstrated that true multi-modal use of rail corridors can have benefits for all stakeholders. The recently-aborted high speed intercity rail project was a lost opportunity to advance the path, but the City is determined to move forward with this project. The project will likely require a new structure across Starkweather Creek as well as structural modifications and retaining walls to make use of the existing Highway 30 underpass.

The length of the project is approximately 1.02 miles.

Construction is not currently scheduled, pending completion of agreements with the railroad and WisDOT and securing federal funding.

Estimated construction cost is $1.23 Million. Most likely, federal funds under the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program will be sought.

Madison has completed a preliminary design and has budgeted funds for land acquisition. Staff and stakeholders continue to meet on a regular basis to advance this project.

Public Comments
Have a question or comment on this project? Use the Public Comment Form.
Posted: 08/12/2014
I live at 513 Christianson Ave. and I am excited for this project and what it means for my direct neighborhood. I welcome any other information about the project. Thank you for your work.

City Staff Response:
This is an important project for Madison and we are continuing to push for its implementation. However, it depends on getting use of some small portions of the adjacent State-owned rail corridor, and so far we have been unsuccessful in getting agreement from WisDOT and Wisconsin & Southern RR. Feel free to contact City Engineering for more informatiion.