Editorial: Why a faster Beltline might not be better

At first blush it’s easy to get behind a Wisconsin Department of Transportation proposal to convert shoulders of the Beltline into traffic lanes during rush hours.

It sounds especially appealing when one is stuck in traffic during one of those times. But digging a little deeper we wonder if this plan is a solution to a problem or a well-intentioned idea with some less appealing consequences.

Safety is our biggest concern. The occasional lanes will be slightly smaller than the permanent lanes and let’s be honest: too many drivers are dangerously weaving in and out of traffic as it is. And reducing automobile use is also a priority so we’d like to see Beltline congestion considered in conjunction with bus rapid transit and other transportation options.

The Madison Department of Transportation finds less potential for unsafe driving than we do. But the city Transportation Policy and Planning Board opposes the plan. There’s a vote Wednesday. That feels a little too soon for us.

Editorial: Why a faster Beltline might not be better

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