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Here is a message recently received from a fellow county commissioner
who also works for the Sierra Club.
By the way, I don't think we can do this here, since the county doesn't
have authority over zoning. Might be something to examine for
townships. I think that the City of Ann Arbor requires traffic studies
only under certain threshold conditions.
County Board Can Get a Handle on Traffic
by Brett Hulsey
A new survey by the Pew Center for Civic Journalism is best summed up by
Christian Science Monitor headline: "Forget crime – but please fix the
traffic." This study shows that most Americans are grappling with the
traffic and out-of-control sprawl that we are here in Dane County.
asked rate traffic and sprawl on par with crime and far ahead of the
education, and other issues as the most important issues.
To address this growing problem, 18 other supervisors and I sponsored
Traffic Impact Analysis on New Zoning Permits Resolution to get more
information about how our land use decisions today will create more
tomorrow. The county board will consider this measure Thursday night.
All you have to do is look at the West Beltline to see this information
sorely needed. Traffic at the Old Sauk Road intersection has doubled in
last seven years and is now 150% higher than the projections for 2015.
Proposed improvements in the Beltline will only give us a few year's
in reduced congestion.
The proposed North Beltline and wider Highway 12 will just add more
traffic. The latest information from the Transportation Research Board
that new and wider highways quickly fill up with new traffic from the
sprawl they encourage. In fact, almost half of the new traffic on our
over the next 10 years will be from the sprawl that follows the new,
Cars and trucks are also the biggest air polluters, according to EPA
The doubling of asthma cases in Madison schools may be related to the
explosion in driving in Dane County. Highway and traffic pollution
asthma attacks, according to the American Lung Association.
As last Sunday's State Journal story showed, traffic is also dangerous.
Wisconsin, you are four times more likely to die by car than be murdered
the last 20 years, according to data from the Departments of
In Dane County, we are opening up 5,300 acres – eight square miles --
farmland and openspace to development each year, according to the
Planning Commission. The county and towns are responsible for
this, approving more than 90% of the zoning changes.
This kind of scattered sprawl generates the most traffic because it
people no choice but to drive. Each new house generates 10 trips per
residents and services, according to the Institute of Transportation
The good news is that better planning can reduce sprawl and traffic.
study in Oregon study showed that good planning and giving people more
choices -- such as commuter trains and clean buses -- reduces the car
per home 20-40%.
To start to get a handle on this, the county resolution will ask staff
perform a Traffic Impact Analysis on new zoning permits that estimates
of increased trips based on the type of development and number of units,
likely commute routes, current level of congestion there, and perform an
annual summary of increased trips generated along each travel route in
This will provide better transportation planning information for traffic
planners and encourage other communities to consider the traffic impacts
their zoning decisions.
While it won't cut the traffic on your street tomorrow, this resolution
important step toward planning a better future, reducing traffic growth,
protecting our neighborhoods and quality of life.
Dane County, WI Supervisor Brett Hulsey
Protecting our families, our environment, and our future.
110 Merrill Crest, Madison, WI 53705
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