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Alder Marsha A. Rummel

Alder Marsha A. Rummel

Home Address:
1029 Spaight St # 6C
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-772-4555
district6@cityofmadison.com
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Delay Jenifer St Construction

February 8, 2015 10:24 PM

Delay Jenifer St Construction

City of Madison Engineering held two Public Information Meetings January 5 and January 21 with notifications sent to residents on Jenifer, Spaight, Paterson, Brearly, and Few Streets to discuss the proposed reconstruction of Jenifer St and to inform neighbors about a separate process to review the placement of bus stops along the Jenifer St corridor. Over 75 people attended the first meeting.

I have recommended to Engineering staff to delay the Jenifer St reconstruction project until next year.  After consideration of community concerns regarding the impact of vibrations on historic buildings; the lack of consensus about narrowing by 2' or maintaining the existing width of Jenifer (40') given Engineering's proposal to construct "bulb outs" at bus stops which would bring the bus loading zone into the parking lane along the full length of the bus stop and create a condition where buses are loaded and unloaded while the bus is in the traffic lane; and the uncertainty about Central Parks readiness to become the new home of the Eastside Farmers Market, I believe there are too many unresolved issues to move forward at this time. City Engineering has agreed to my request. There will not be any further action this year- no assessment notices will go out and the hearing at the Board of Public Works and the Common Council is cancelled.

Metro's goal is to improve bus service throughout the system to reduce missed connections for riders. The reduction of stops in the Isthmus, when feasible, is included in the 2013-2017 Transit Development Plan which seeks a general goal of ¼ mile between stops. At the January 5 PIM, bus stop relocation at Ingersoll and the elimination of bus stops at Livingston, Brearly and Few were presented. After listening to feedback at the meeting, Metro staff will propose to maintain the stop at the Brearly St intersection near the WilMar Center at the TPC meeting on February 11.  Many spoke in support of maintaining all bus stops because this is a high transit using corridor. Ridership generators were identified such as WilMar Neighborhood Center at Brearly and the Willy St Coop, the Social Justice Center, the Weary Traveler etc at Few St by attendees. 

The Transit and Parking Commission will review bus stops on Jenifer St at their Wednesday February 11 meeting, 5p, in MMB room 260. Please attend the meeting or send an email with your comments to mymetrobus.com/stops. TPC will make final recommendations to the Common Council. While the relocation of the Ingersoll stops to opposite corners will not change until street reconstruction, the bus stop review is independent of the decision to delay.

At the January 5 PIM, Engineering staff heard neighbor's concerns about impacts of construction on historic buildings and after the meeting, staff decided to add a special requirement and bid item in the contract which will require the contractor to hire a professional to perform a crack and damage survey for four properties within the project limits that are both City designated landmarks and listed on the National Register for Historic Places. 
In my research about the impact of street construction equipment and vibrations on historic structures, I discovered ordinances from other cities which set vibrations standards for construction based on different building materials and proximity criteria. I would like to see if Madison could incorporate better practices to protect our historic resources and a delay will allow me to work with alders that represent the city's five historic districts to investigate options.
A year delay will also give the opportunity to property owners on Jenifer St to determine whether their homes are eligible for city landmark status and consider whether to pursue that designation in order to be covered by the new requirements for the construction contractor to provide crack and damage surveys once Jenifer St reconstruction is rescheduled.
In addition, as a result of neighborhood input, Engineering staff met with the City Attorney and agreed to update their standard specifications- Section 107.2 of the standard specs are updated as follows:

"The Contractor shall use every reasonable precaution to prevent the damage or destruction of corporate, government or private property such as poles, trees, shrubbery, crops and fences adjacent to or interfering with the work; all overhead structures such as wires, cables, etc.; within or outside of the right-of-way; and buildings or structures in close proximity to the construction.  The Contractor shall consider, and minimize where reasonable, the impact of vibrations that may occur during all phases of construction upon buildings or structures in close proximity to the construction where a risk of damage or destruction due to nearby construction activity has been identified. "(Underlined is new).

At the two PIMs there was no neighborhood consensus on narrowing by 2' or maintaining the 40' width of Jenifer St in part because of uncertainty about the impact of Engineering's proposal to create "bulb outs" at the bus stops. Bulb outs are elongated bus stop landing pads that will extend into the parking lane. The bus would load in the traffic lane. Metro views this as a strategy to gain valuable seconds; buses will not have to wait for a break in traffic to reenter the driving lane.  Some neighbors saw this as a traffic calming feature, others saw it as an impediment to bike commuters, and others were concerned that it would increase reckless driving as motor vehicle drivers would try to pass the bus in the oncoming traffic lane.  Delay will allow more discussion on the merits of bulb outs.

The Eastside Farmers Market is interested in returning to Central Park but the area identified in the Central Park Master Plan for the farmers market in Brearly Square has not been paved and is not scheduled to be improved for several years. Additionally, the skate park will be under construction this year so it is not clear at this writing if the paved area in the Great Lawn can be used. If the market can't move to Central Park this season, the impact of Jenifer St reconstruction could drastically reduce sales. The delay gives the EFM vendors the ability to stay in the WilMar parking lot without diminishing access to customers outside the immediate neighborhood if they cannot use the park.

Delay will allow me to work with MNA and interested residents to create a neighborhood process to address the issues regarding street width, traffic calming, canopy trees, innovative storm water techniques, undergrounding and other issues the community identifies through a facilitated process.

Thanks to those of you who attended the two public information meetings. You helped improve the city's practices internally and with contractors which will benefit all city residents. Stay tuned!





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