Lauri Lee President • Jennifer Olson Vice President • Karen Thompson Secretary • Margo Dixon Treasurer

February 18, 2013

Dear Esteemed Common Council and Members of the Board of Estimates, Board of Public Works, Long Range Transportation Planning and Pedestrian, Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Committees: The mission of the Northside Business Association (NBA) is to ensure that future development is well planned, of high quality and provides a balance of commercial, residential and industrial opportunities that enhance the quality of life for all businesses and residents of the Northside. There would be no need for further discussion if Sherman Avenue were wide enough to accommodate everything that everyone would like — four lanes of traffic that moves at the speed limit, well-timed traffic lights, a TWLTL lane, bicycle lanes and pedestrian safety. The current proposal to take out two lanes of traffic, and add a TWLTL lane and bicycle lanes concerns us. The NBA received a unanimous vote at the February 12, 2013 membership meeting to oppose the TWLTL proposal. Description of Sherman Avenue Reports indicate Sherman Avenue is used by an average 17,000 vehicles a day with four traffic lanes. A thoroughfare for commuters from suburban areas including Waunakee and DeForest, it is also used as an entrance to the city from Aberg Avenue for those traveling from the southeastern part of the state. This corridor is one of the main routes that commuters, visitors, employees and Dane County Airport travelers use to access the Northside, as well as serving Northside neighborhoods and businesses. There is much truck, bus, cab and train traffic on Sherman Avenue, considered the Main Street for the Northside. It is home to four shopping centers and over 50 businesses, representing the core of the Northside business community.

Board Members

Mark Deadman • Lisa Ford • John Kavanaugh • Gerry Kuhnke • Doug Lefeber • Jim Mohrbacher • Steve Nelson • Rick Raulin • Larry Reichers

NBA member concerns and why the organization opposes the current TWLTL proposal: 1. With one lane in each direction on a main commuter corridor, safety is going to be impacted by vehicles that stop traffic. With only one traffic lane, trains will create a frustrating and unsafe bottleneck of traffic that will be backed up for miles. Other vehicles that make frequent stops, such as busses and garbage trucks, will also cause all traffic to stop and increase the risk of vehicles making unsafe maneuvers to get around the stopped vehicle. The Huxley Street bus hub is a great asset to the Northside. Many Northside residents rely on the bus to get to their employment. Bus commuters will be impacted when one-lane traffic is gridlocked at a standstill and travel time on a bus becomes lengthy or unreliable. 2. The business community contributes to the vitality of the Northside community, so proposed street lane changes may have a economic and social impact not just to business owners, but to the entire community. Sherman Avenue businesses depend on traffic-generated trade that can be adversely affected by declining sales and employment losses if traffic is impeded as a result of the proposed changes. An overall look at strength of the community’s economy and consideration of existing community issues of unemployment, a lower paid workforce, the vacancy rate for business premises as well as potential business flight is needed. The challenge is to slow down traffic and address pedestrian safety without hampering local economy. Enforcement of the speed limit and crosswalk laws, as well as traffic light timing are key ways to slow down traffic. There are better and safer routes than to bring bicycle paths onto Sherman Avenue. We encourage bike route development on side streets that are less traveled by motor vehicles. We are very concerned about the lack of notification given for the series of meetings to vote on a TWLTL decision, one affecting 22,500 people residing on the Northside. And, significant to note, a proposal that has been voted down twice in the past 15 years. No advance notification was provided to key Northside organizations and only six days was provided through the two Northside list serves (estimated participation of 300 individuals). We have never seen anything go through committees so quickly in the city. And, after the safety report issuance, without involving the community through the standard community involvement listening processes that allow the entire community to express their ideas and share their concerns. Sincerely, Lauri Lee, President Northside Business Association (608) 334-4969

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