City of

District 15

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Alder David Ahrens

Contact Information

Home Address:

4117 Major Ave.
Madison , WI 53716

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Ahrens’ Updates

Is the traffic getting worse?

June 4, 2014 11:15 AM

Traffic is getting worse, isn't it? If it's bad in the winter we expect some easing of the delays and stress in the summer. But no, the truism about Wisconsin's two seasons, winter and construction, has only become more stark. Street closings, especially along major arteries such as Johnson St. force more cars onto fewer streets. Add rain and a lot of left turns and you have traffic back-ups and a long trip to and from work.

Some data: In the last ten years, average travel time to work in Madison has increased from 20 minutes to 24 minutes. Doesn't sound like much, but it adds another 10 minutes. However, many of us have longer commutes. Ten percent of Madisonians spend 45 minutes each way in their commute, 16% spend between 30-45 minutes and more than one-third of us spend between 16 and 30 minutes. Additionally 15% of the commuters in our area take the bus and about 10% walk or bike to work.

Are there really more cars? I think so. Even with increases in biking on some days from 5% to 7%, cars coming from out of town are adding to the crush. In just two years- from 2009 to 2011, the number of non-Madison Dane County commuters increased from 62,000 to 67,000.

Adding to the non-Madison Dane County numbers are 22,000 commuters from other counties into Madison. All of the non-Madison commuters coming to town add up to about 90,000 cars coming into town. And those numbers are increasing each year.

What should we do? I say "we" because it will take more than the City to fix the problem or even curb some of the worst aspects of long traffic tie-ups which include increasing pollution (cars emit about one-third of greenhouse gases), crumbling streets and suburban sprawl that eliminates farms throughout the county.

The state should focus its dwindling but still substantial transportation expenditures on maintaining existing roads (Stoughton Rd?) instead of building bigger new highways. Also, it should focus more dollars on supporting mass transit and not just massive highways. For example, a more balanced approach would increase support to our bus system in addition to the necessary reconstruction of the Beltline.

All of the above could also be said for the federal government as well. The city requested a rather modest $20 million from the federal government to build a Bus Rapid Transit system which would have created an express bus system. The proposal was rejected at this time but it is necessary for the next step in making mass transit work more efficiently for more riders.

The City is conducting a long-range study of the transportation needs and how to increase the use of mass transit, make the city more amenable to biking and walking and better roads. You can learn more about it at this website:

Meeting on Milwaukee St/ Fair Oaks Intersection:  I've asked the Traffic Engineering Dept and Engineering staff to discuss possible changes of the busy and confusing intersection of Milwaukee St and Fair Oaks Ave.
The meeting will be held on June 18th at 715 PM at Pinney Library. These changes will likely take place next year, so try to attend if you are interested or might be affected by these changes.


Music on the ESBC lawn: The lawn behind the Eastside Business Club is one of the most beautiful venues in the city. A group of folks have organized an early evening (starting at 6 PM!) music festival every Thursday night starting on June 12th. Bring your own food and drink or buy some there. You can learn more about it at

Hope to see you there.





















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