Mayor Rhodes-Conway’s Statement on Transportation in Regards to COVID-19
The City’s Department of Transportation—Traffic Engineering, Metro Transit, and the Parking Utility—have had to respond rapidly to changing needs in our community over the past 10 days. Metro Transit has instituted a variety of protocols and route changes to protect passenger and worker safety while providing essential transportation services to our community’s first line responders and essential workers. Changes include rear door entry and exit, limiting passenger loads to 15 per bus, and scheduling buses so that each bus is cleaned between use by different drivers. These measures are in addition to the enhanced cleaning and fogging procedures recently implemented in response to COVID-19’s introduction to our community.
Metro is currently running on Saturday schedule with select commuter service. While experiencing reduced ridership due to the stay at home order, Metro is still transporting nearly 4,000 people who work in essentials services, such as hospitals, or provision of food and other basic needs for members of our greater community. This week Metro will begin transporting those experiencing homelessness to shelters at different locations throughout the city. We appreciate the hard work our operators, mechanics and service lane employees are doing to make all this possible.
Traffic Engineering and Parking are working to support businesses during this time of hardship. This includes the suspension of on-street parking meter fees. It also include includes cordoning off loading zones so that restaurants can more easily provide takeout service.
Traffic Engineering and Parking are continuing other baseline services, such as keeping lights and traffic signals operational, garages open and clean, and issuing permits. Both divisions have instituted safety protocols that allow most staff to work from home, or work independently in the field as they keep the transportation system going. Some staff are being redeployed to other essential services within the City. Activities for late spring and summer are planned to continue, such as pavement marking and signing and opening of the Wilson Street garage. Traffic Engineering and Parking staff are continuing these preparations to keep our City’s transportation system running this summer.
As the weather improves, I know there will be even more families and individuals using our shared paths, for walking, jogging and biking .As we work together to help keep our community healthy and safe, there are some tips we can all follow as we use Madison’s shared-use paths.
Do not go out if you or someone in your household feels sick. If you are able to, choose less frequented paths, of go at less popular times. Always keep 6 feet away from people you do not live with, including when passing people. And if you use earbuds to listen to a portable device, keep the volume low enough to hear what is happening around you.
Lastly, due to concern for further spread of COVID-19, we encourage everyone to abide by new park rules and not engage in contact sports and keep in mind, for everyone’s safety, playgrounds are closed.
We have amazing parks and wonderful paths to utilize as we all work together through this pandemic. Please maintain social distances, wash your hands and stay healthy.