Council Vice President
Alder Jael Currie,
Council Vice President
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Currie’s Updates
Weekly Greeting, Beach Season, Town of Madison Attachment, BRT Award Plus Meeting and Event Highlights for the Week of May 31st
May 31, 2021
Today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the worst incidents of mass racial violence in the history of this country, the Tulsa Race Massacre. Over the course of two days, more than 100 residents of one of the most thriving and prosperous Black neighborhoods in the country were massacred by a violent white mob. They came seeking to destroy what these proud men and women had built – a community organized around shared values and cultural pride with deep economic roots and political power.
Dozens of black-owned businesses were rebuilt in Greenwood within a year of the massacre, and hundreds more followed over the next three decades. This rapid rebuilding illustrates the energy and resiliency of the community. But the massacre's repercussions--and questions of race, memory, and repair--continue to resonate in Tulsa and across the nation. Today we remember and rise forward, learning from the past to teach for the future. #Tulsa100
Today, we also honor the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, as well as those they left behind. While we remember their service and valor, we must also remember that freedom isn't free. #MemorialDay2021
This week the Common Council will meet. A topic myself and fellow alders have received much communication and comment about is in regard to zoning changes, File #63902. If approved, this legislation will amend various sections of zoning ordinances to increase densities (eg: greater housing with higher population) and decrease conditional use thresholds in certain multi-family residential, mixed-use, and commercial districts. In my opinion, 2 major themes/concerns have come up - decreased neighborhood input and displacement, especially of low-income residents and/or communities of color. I plan to support this policy change due to the following reasons:
- The proposed changes implement the land use and housing policies identified in the city's Comprehensive Plan.
- The proposal does not significantly change land uses in the city and does not alter the boundaries of any zoning district.
- Amending the current conditional use process will avoid time delays and uncertainty in the process of development of new housing, especially affordable housing projects.
- Neighborhood input will not be eliminated as Alders can always call for/organize neighborhood meetings when they become aware of developments in their district(s).
As always, I encourage you to research the issue, contact me, and/or attend the council meeting to speak, register your position, or hear other comments from residents.
Beach Season in Dane County: Testing the Waters
The window for beach season in Wisconsin is short. Public Health Madison & Dane County is already hard at work making sure you make the most of it. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a team from Public Health monitors conditions and test water at local beaches, splash pads and pools to determine if they are safe for recreation and swimming.
"With the warmer weather we've been seeing, we've already had to close a couple of beaches because of bacteria levels, which is a little unusual this early in the season," says Jennifer Lavender-Braun, Microbiologist for Public Health Madison & Dane County.
Staff collect samples at Dane County beaches every week, then bring them back to the lab for analysis. Those results will indicate whether E. coli bacteria and blue-green algae are present and whether a beach can be open for swimming. Crews check the water quality each weekday until levels return to normal, and Public Health posts the status of each beach on their website or you can sign up for email alerts. You can also check the status of beaches statewide here .
"Lots of sunlight, heat and low wind levels are perfect conditions for blue-green algae to form murky blooms in freshwater that can be toxic to people and animals," says Lavender-Braun.
If you suspect your pet was exposed to blue-green algae after swimming or shows symptoms of exposure like vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, disorientation, drooling and trouble breathing, take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
"It's important to remember that conditions can change rapidly, so always remember to check the status of the beach before heading out, and take a look at the water conditions before jumping in," says Lavender-Braun. "Outside of the regular testing we do, beach visitors are our eyes and ears, so anyone who notices something is off about the water should let us know."
If you suspect there is a bloom at a beach, avoid the water and contact Public Health at (608) 266-4821 and someone will be sent out to check on the water quality conditions at that beach.
Welcoming Process Begins with Communication: Town of Madison Attachment
The City of Madison, in partnership with the City of Fitchburg, welcome the Town of Madison with the launch of a public awareness campaign. The City of Madison and City of Fitchburg will officially absorb the Town of Madison on Oct. 31, 2022; however, the welcoming process begins with communication on how to stay informed while the attachment process happens.
"The Town of Madison attachment to the cities of Madison and Fitchburg has been in the planning stages for a number of years, and it is important the Town residents understand what changes they may face," City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said. "The collaboration between Madison, Fitchburg and the Town of Madison has been crucial as we have worked on this planning. Madison is looking forward to welcoming our new residents, and I encourage everyone to use the resources we've created to learn more."
Final attachment of the Town to the Cities will directly impact all Town residents, property owners and employees, and, to a lesser extent, the residents, property owners and employees of the Cities.
"Town of Madison elected officials and dedicated staff have served Town of Madison residents for decades," Town of Madison Town Chair Jim Campbell said. "Although this chapter is ending, we will continue to work to make this transition a smooth process."
"We are excited to welcome parts of the Town of Madison to Fitchburg. The Town of Madison and City of Madison have been great partners as we plan for October 2022. Our joint planning efforts will ensure a smooth transition for residents," City of Fitchburg Mayor Aaron Richardson said.
The City of Madison created the following resources to connect everyone during the process:
The City of Madison has a website for anyone impacted by the attachment. The new website is a one-stop-shop for all your information in one place which includes: process timeline, history and background on the process, ways to connect with the City, information on service updates and key communication tools. The website also has an interactive map where residents can click to see if property is impacted and how. The website will be continuously updated throughout the process. Visit the website
The City of Madison set up a hotline for anyone to ask a question and receive a callback answer in the language of their choice. Call 608-267-1188 to leave a voicemail message with your question, return callback number and preferred language for an answer callback. The hotline callback information is available in English, Spanish, Tibetan and Mandarin.
Throughout the process, the Town of Madison Attachment Communication team will send out text message updates for anyone who wants to subscribe. These messages will range from updates on the website to upcoming public information meetings to learn more. Sign up for text alerts.
Information will be shared via email throughout the process of the Town of Madison Attachment, as well. Sign up for this option if you prefer email updates.
Reaching Our Community
The makeup of Town of Madison includes non-English speaking communities, such as Spanish, Tibetan and Chinese. We are committed to intentional outreach and accessibility with translation of our website in multiple languages, extended community navigators to connect in person with non-English-speaking communities, language options on our hotline callbacks and more.
The City of Madison is collaborating with the Town of Madison and City of Fitchburg on its attachment communications. You can visit the Fitchburg attachment website for information, as well.
$80 Million for Madison's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System Included in President Biden's Budget
The City of Madison's $80 million request for federal support for its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system was included in President Joe Biden's budget, which was unveiled today on Capitol Hill.
"This is great news for Madison! It means we are on track to deliver a fast, efficient and comfortable rapid transit system to our residents – one that will help people get to work, school, shopping and recreation easily and quickly," said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. "I want to thank President Biden, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Representative Mark Pocan and Secretary Pete Buttigieg for their steadfast support of this project and for the partnership provided by Secretary Craig Thompson of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation."
"I am a strong supporter of this investment from the Federal Transit Administration in Madison's public transportation system," said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. "This federal funding will support the East-West BRT project that will provide services to the community and better connect folks with major employment, education, and recreation destinations. Together, we are helping people get around, and get ahead."
The City requested $80 million in federal funds, half of the $160 million projected cost of the East-West BRT Line, from the Capital Investment Grants Small Starts program at the Federal Transit Administration. The rest of the money will come from a combination of federal grants already received, and local dollars.
The next steps for the City are to complete design and environmental work with the anticipation that the grant will be executed in the summer of 2022 and construction will start by the end of 2022.
The City of Madison is growing rapidly, and it is anticipated that 85,000 new jobs, 100,000 new residents, and nearly 800,000 new road trips to work, school, and recreation within city limits will happen by 2050. A BRT system is needed to ensure that Madison's streets are not gridlocked with traffic impacting our local economy and the health and well-being of residents.
Auto emissions are one of Madison's biggest sources air pollution, and the new BRT system will contribute significantly to reducing emissions. One sixty-foot electric BRT bus could remove as many as 80 cars off of Madison's congested roads, making our air cleaner and our streets safer.
The proposed East-West BRT Corridor will run along East Washington Avenue, around the State Capitol building, through the University of Wisconsin-Madison, continue west on University Avenue and Mineral Point Road, and go to the West Towne Mall.
Meeting and Event Highlights for the Week of May 31, 2021
Guaranteed Income Pilot Program Taskforce
The Madison Guaranteed Income Pilot Program Taskforce is kicking off its meetings on Tuesday.
Accessibility and Equity Analysis of Allowing Video at Virtual Meetings
The Common Council Executive Committee will be receiving a presentation on the results of an equity analysis regarding allowing video at virtual meetings at its meeting on Tuesday.
For additional information about additional meetings scheduled for this week, please consult the City Meeting Schedule online here
Announcements, press releases, press conferences, etc.
- Reminder: Face masks are still required on Metro buses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an Order that requires all passengers to wear face masks on all forms of public transit, including on Metro Transit buses, and at transfer points and shelters. It is federal law that masks must be worn when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. The law remains in effect until September 13, 2021.
- There will be no recycling, trash, brush, or large item collections performed by the City of Madison Streets Division on Monday, May 31, 2021 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. The Streets Division drop-off sites will also be closed. Read more here.
- Do you TICK the boxes? Anyone who has spent time in Wisconsin, likely knows a thing or two about the prevalence of ticks in the spring and summer. However, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin Department of Entomology, only 25% of 130 respondents could identify the ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Read more here.
- As part of Mayor Satya Rhode-Conway's Metro Forward>> initiative, a major investment in Madison mass transit, the City of Madison is teaming up with the Madison Metropolitan School District to distribute a summer Metro Transit pass to ALL middle and high school students for the first time. Previously only a small number of students were eligible for free summer passes. Read more here.
The new work order system for large item disposal and recycling is now available. Residents should use the work order system to schedule large item collections. You can also use the work order system to purchase recycling fee stickers for items coming to the drop-off site. You only have to purchase a recycling fee sticker if the item you are dropping off requires one. Check the Streets Division website or the Recyclopedia to learn which items have this requirement. Learn more here.
- Submit your application for the Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grant by 4:30 p.m., Monday, June 7. Designed to support businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, this $420 million program is expected to support as many as 84,000 businesses with a flat award of $5,000. Learn more and apply.
- Beginning June 1, the City of Madison will resume enforcing all on-street parking restrictions, ending the temporary suspension of Residential Parking Permit restrictions and time limit restrictions in non-metered areas. View the full announcement.
Madison Public Library reopened for walk-in service this week at all nine libraries. They couldn't be more excited! In their first four days, they welcomed over 12,500 visitors! Current library hours are:
All libraries except Monroe Street Library
Monroe Street Library
10am-6pm Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays
The libraries will be phasing in study room use, wifi use, and seating June 2-12, and will announce the return of more services like meeting rooms and programs throughout the summer. The Dream Bus is visiting 12 locations each week, and the We Read? summer reading program for youth begins June 12. Watch a video about the reopening in English or in Spanish?.
Email to a friend