The City of Madison is working to implement a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will provide improved travel times, higher capacity, and more frequent service than our current local bus service. The proposed BRT will modernize and streamline Madison public transit by implementing dedicated bus lanes, providing pre-paid ticketing stations, and building accessible boarding platforms among other improvements. Furthermore, plans for BRT include a new fleet of larger buses providing more space for passengers and indoor storage for bicycles.

Although plans have not been finalized, around 80,000 residents are estimated to live within a 10-minute walk to a BRT stop. And with buses arriving every 15 minutes, BRT will be a cheaper, and potentially faster alternative to personal automobiles and ridesharing services thereby reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

Madison is For People believes that housing and transportation go hand-in-hand, and we support Bus Rapid Transit as a necessary and welcome change so that Madison can flourish into a more sustainable, accessible, and people-centric place to live.

3734 Speedway Road

On March 21, the Plan Commission will hear about a proposal to demolish an empty gas station and replace it with a 30 unit building. We are excited to support this development for the following reasons:

  • The proposed project adds to the City’s housing stock. According to City of Madison’s Housing Forward report, the City needs to build 10,000 units of new housing in the next 5 years. While this project is just a small portion of the housing units that need to be built, Madison’s leaders can send a signal that they are serious about reaching their goal of building 10,000 units by moving this project forward quickly and with limited conditions.

  • The proposed project has reduced parking. Parking is not free, even if there is no charge for the space. Current estimates show the construction cost of a parking spot in a garage is between $25,000 and $50,000 per space, which translates to $200 per month in cost. This cost is ultimately borne by the renter, and the City can make new developments more affordable by encouraging developers to build fewer spaces. There is also evidence (Manville 2020) showing that bundled or on-site parking makes residents of new construction less likely to use public transportation or bicycle lanes. By encouraging developers to build units without parking, the city can show it is serious about preventing traffic deaths and reducing the city’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The proposed project is a better use of the land, and will bring in more revenue to the city. The gas station is currently valued at just $561,000, and the new apartment will be valued in the millions. Turning the empty gas station into a building with 31 units means that more people will be able to shop and enjoy the commercial corner at the intersection of Speedway and Mineral Point Road.

We have created a petition in support of this project, as we believe that replacing an empty gas station with housing is a clear win for the community and the city.

Madison's Historical Zoning and Street Plan

Courtesy of the Washington University in St. Louis Special Collections, we have copies of Madison's first zoning ordinance, transportation plan, and street plan. These documents can be accessed at our Google Drive. These documents offer insight into how our city developed, and why it looks the way it does today.

Past Projects

State Street/W Gorham Street Project (Passed)

Oliv Madison is a proposed student housing project located on State Street near the University of Wisconsin campus. As currently planned, this development will house over 1,000 people, and will include first floor retail space for businesses. To ensure accessibility to all students regardless of their income, this project will set aside 10% of beds for low-income students, offering them 30-40% discounts on rent.

Set right in the heart of downtown, this development will bring in a staggering amount of foot traffic to surrounding businesses, boosting the local economy and turning one of the most beloved areas in downtown, State Street, into a more lively and walkable destination.

This project was approved by the Common Council on December 7th 2021.