DescriptionThis project is a paved multi-use (bicycle / pedestrian) path that will extend the Capital City Trail from Buckeye Road to Interstate 39 on the southeast side of Madison, generally following the corridor of the Union Pacific rail line. This segment is an important piece of the remaining 6-mile gap between the Capital City Trail and the Glacial Drumlin State Trail in the village of Cottage Grove. When complete it will become part of a continuous 140-mile path across the State. Completion of this gap is the goal of a 1996 Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Madison, City of Fitchburg, Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of natural Resources. This project is envisioned as a multi-phase effort that would initially use a combination of separate path and on-street route north of the railroad corridor. Ultimately additional land would be acquired either from the railroad or from properties south of the railroad to complete the separate off-street path.
Following are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Q: Could the path be located entirely on the south side of the tracks?
A: Not without obtaining easements within the rail corridor because there is not sufficient space between the rail right of way and an industrial building (Sani-Matic Inc.). Also, a main goal of the project is to serve the neighborhood north of the tracks. This would require additional legal crossings of the railroad, which can only be granted through petition to the Office of Commissioner of Railroads.
Q: Can the path be located to avoid removing trees?
A: We need to complete the survey and preliminary design to evaluate impacts on trees. In most locations it appears that trees will be removed at the edge of wooded areas leaving most of the woods intact. Every effort will be made to preserve mature trees.
Q: Will there be replacement planting where trees are removed.
A: Yes tree planting and other landscaping can be incorporated into the project, but new trees and plants will be small and will take time to replace mature vegetation.
Q: Will the project include fencing to protect privacy or security of adjacent properties.
A: City prefers not to construct fence along its paths and would do so only in very limited and unusual circumstances. Property owners can construct privacy fences on their property. Our considerable experience with paths in similar locations is that they actually reduce illegal and undesirable behavior as legitimate path users and visibility are deterrents.
Q: Will there be lighting along the path?
A: The need for and appropriateness of lighting are determined on a case-by-case basis. In general the City desires low-intensity lighting for major transportation-oriented paths such as this, but is flexible in areas that are sensitive to lighting.
Q: Could the Buckeye Road bike lanes be used instead of the path segments at the west end of the project?
A: Buckeye Road + Dondee Road could be an alternative to Segment 1, but would serve far fewer people. A large percentage of potential users of the bike path, especially younger, older and less experienced riders, would not consider the bike lanes on Buckeye to be a safe alternative.
Q: Is a connecting path to Helgesen Road planned as part of this project?
A: This connection (which we currently refer to as Segment 6) would be mostly on property we currently own. It would definitely be considered as a future project if the City can get permission for a new rail crossing in the vicinity of Dondee Road.
LengthThe total length of the initial phase project is 1.7 miles, consisting of 0.7 miles of separate path and 1.0 mile of on-street route. The ultimate project would be 1.6 miles of separate path.
ScheduleConstruction of Phase 2 only is currently planned for 2012. This phase will go from Leona Court to Sandlewood Circle, a length of about 0.3 mile. Segment 1 from E Buckeye Rd to Dondee Rd is on hold pending resolution of the railroad ownershop issue, discussed further below.
CostThe total estimated construction cost for the initial phase is $340,000 not including engineering and contingencies. The ultimate project would require an additional $450,000. Real estate acquisition costs would be substantial but no estimate is available at this time.
StatusUpdated 1/26/12: A public Information Meeting was held on May 12, 2011 to provide information about the proposed project and get feedback from the neighborhood. Approximately 50 people attended, including Alder Jill Johnson, former Alder Judy Compton and several Neighborhood Association officers. Tony Fernandez from City Engineering presented current concepts for the location of the various segments of the project and probable phasing.
In general, the initial phase of the project would be north of the tracks, partly on separate path (Segment 1 from Buckeye Rd to Dondee Rd and Segment 2 from Leona Court to Sandlewood Court). Most of the initial phase would be on existing streets, primarily Sandlewood Circle, Pebblebrook Drive, S Thompson Drive and Wagon Trail.
The ultimate goal is a separate, off-street path for the entire length, located south of the tracks except for Segment 1. One major uncertainty is future ownership of the rail corridor, which could significantly change the path location in some segments. Many people expressed support for the path in general though several expressed serious concerns about specific portions of the route, particularly regarding removal of trees and loss of privacy for certain properties.
The City of Madison has completed surveying and is proceeding with preliminary design of the path to enable plat preparation, appraisals and possible property acquisition in mid-2012. City is monitoring the rail corridor ownership issue and will not proceed with acquisition until this is clearer.
View the map of the Capital City Trail, Buckeye to I-39.
Have a question or comment on this project? Use the Public Comment Form.