Bus service begins to Owl Creek amid concerns over violence

Bus service begins to Owl Creek amid concerns over violence

City leaders are touting an expansion of the Madison Metro bus service to an under-served area of the city.

The line to the Owl Creek neighborhood was lobbied for by LaFollette High School students wanting a way to participate in after-school activities and jobs. But some neighbors say problems with juveniles who aren’t so responsible recently has them concerned the bus line will only bring trouble.

Owl Creek is south of the Beltline on Madison’s far east side and Thursday Route 31 began making the rounds there. City leaders said it should get students and residents opportunities to connect to the greater city.

“The area that this route will primarily service is really cut off from Madison,” said Alder Denise DeMarb. “Being south of the Beltline there hasn’t been any transit down there before now.”

The neighborhood has been host to problems this summer, including a more than 20-person fight in the street on Monday that injured a 17-year-old.

Alisha, a resident who did not want to be identified, said problems have recently been getting worse.

“There have been homes broken into, people driving by that have been stopped and threatened by gunpoint, cars hijacked and broken into,” said Alisha.

She said the problems seem to be with a group of juveniles in the area and says her neighborhood needs more police cars, not buses.

“I think it’s going to bring more criminal activity,” said Alisha. “People from other areas in the city have easier access now to this neighborhood, which could potentially be a huge problem.”

DeMarb said the buses are a first step to addressing the issues.

“No one wants to live where there’s crime and where they feel there are safety issues,” said DeMarb. “At the same time I think people are starting to rally more around their concerns.”

Madison police say that there are issues with a group of juveniles in the neighborhood that they are working to address, including working with their families. Lt. Trevor Knight with the east district said part of the problem is the isolation of that neighborhood and the young people having nothing to do.

Bus service begins to Owl Creek amid concerns over violence