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New year, fresh start

Of course, that's almost a cliche.  Hope springs eternal.  But if I'm more hopeful than usual about being able to re-start (and sustain) posts to this site, it's because the new year also brings new freedom from some other work obligations and more time to devote to this effort.

It's also because lately there is more to write about after a period of relative quiet on the Madison transportation (or at any rate, transit) scene.  To be sure, the "high speed" rail project killed by the Walker administration is still dead, as is the Regional Transit Authority, likewise done in by the incoming Republican executive and legislative regime several years ago.  And absent an RTA, any serious planning for local/regional high-capacity transit remains largely on hold.

But not entirely dormant.  There are at least some stirrings on the transit front, beginning with the recently completed bus rapid transit corridor study.  Planning for a new downtown intercity bus hub and transit center appears headed into a new phase based on a recommended site. And although Wisconsin's Milwaukee to Madison intercity rail project died aborning, Minnesota's plan to connect the Twin Cities with Chicago could yet put higher speed rail within reach of our fair city.

And then there's the Sustainable Madison Transportation Master Plan process, a roughly 18-month process which got under way at the end of last October and held its first public outreach and visioning session on December 19.  Expect much more on this somewhat low-profile but important process in future posts in the coming weeks.  It has the potential, at least, not only to pull together various strands of greater Madison's transportation conversation of recent years (many left at loose ends by the vagaries of funding and politics), but also to tie them to a more coherent vision of what a sustainable structure of urban mobility and access for Madison might look like.

Something to keep an eye on, certainly, and likely (along with the other processes mentioned above, and others) to provide grist for this transit-mad citizen's particular mill.  One of my resolutions, at least, is to keep my nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel a bit more assiduously this year.

Of course, we all know what fate befalls the vast majority of New Year's resolutions.  But, as I said, hope springs eternal...

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