City Solidifies Position - Leading Community for Bike/Transit Use
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 - 9:47am
Madison – Two recent developments have solidified Madison’s position as one of the nation’s best communities for bicycling and mass transit, according to Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.
In its March, 2006 issue, Bicycling magazine rated Madison the #1 city for bicycling in the 200,000 – 500,000 population category. The magazine cited the fact that Madison introduced its first bicycle transportation plan in 1975, and is “laced with hundreds of miles of well-maintained blacktop” for bicyclists. Madison will look to reinforce that leadership status by applying for a “Bicycle Friendly” certification from the League of American Bicyclists this year.
Meanwhile, a report from Madison Metro indicates that in 2005, the city’s bus service recorded its highest level of ridership in 20 years. The report noted that there were 11.5 million bus trips taken system-wide last year (including Paratransit), the most since 1986. City of Madison employees alone accounted for over 38,000 trips during the last five months of 2005, through the city’s free ride program.
The high level of Metro ridership has an especially strong impact on the environment. Based on an average ride of three miles per Metro trip, CO2 emissions, the leading contributor to global climate change, are reduced in Madison by 15,770 tons per year.
Metro’s strong growth has been fueled in part by expansion to neighboring communities such as Verona, and investments in technology that make the service more efficient and more user-friendly. The city has invested an additional $1.7 million in Metro over the past three years to maintain and expand this workforce transportation service.
“Providing a strong range of transportation alternatives plays an important role in creating a Healthy City,” said Cieslewicz. “Greater use of mass transit and bicycling reduces both traffic and emissions, benefiting our economy and our environment. This in turn helps us maintain the high quality of life that makes Madison one of the most livable cities in America.”
“With strong leadership from the Mayor and swift action from Madison Metro employees, we have witnessed strong Madison Metro ridership increases,” said Ald. Noel Radomski, a member of the Transit and Parking Commission. “However, with projected fuel cost increases, heightened air quality concerns and expanding regional residential living patterns, we need to vigorously pursue service improvements not only in the City of Madison but also with other municipalities in Dane County.”
More information about Metro bus service is available online at http://www.mymetrobus.com/. For information about the full range of commuting alternatives, from Metro to bicycling to car-pooling, visit the Rideshare, Etc. website at http://www.cityofmadison.com/rideshare/index.html.
- George Twigg, 608-266-4611