City bus administrators relent to public pressure regarding noisy turn signals
Madison Metro gave a heads-up to alders today in an email on a decision to turn off the audible turn signals that have been driving neighborhood residents crazy throughout the city, especially in quiet areas late at night.
Metro had installed the system on it’s buses to increase awareness as the bus was pulling in and out of stops to reduce the chance of collisions. The decision to add the system was partly in response to a fatality several year ago when a turning bus struck a pedestrian on University Avenue.
Allison Smith, who lives near the Edgewater in the Mansion Hill neighborhood and on the #81 bus line started noticing the beeping in January. The #81 has a schedule that runs until 2:20 a.m. on weekdays and 3:20 a.m. on weekends and after living through two years of Edgewater construction she started to research the impacts of noise on health.
This spurred Smith to lead a campaign city-wide to to ask Metro to turn off the beeping turn signals because many felt the annoyance and health impacts far outweighed the safety benefit.
Smith visited the Marquette Neighborhood Association Board meeting in May and found friendly quarter with residents here in the Marquette neighborhood. Those who live near bus stops, especially along Jenifer that features three bus lines, felt especially impacted as the beeping would go on late at night in lightly trafficked times and areas.
At the May meeting the MNA Board voted to send a letter to Madison Metro in support of removing the audio system which was under consideration at a Madison Transit and Parking Commission meeting that was held on June 10. Smith’s visit to MNA was just one of many stops around Madison neighborhoods and many across the city have voiced similar complaints.
Today’s (June 16) email was sent by Charles Kamp, Metro Transit’s General Manager, who said that the audible warning will be turned off right away but they will be testing other collision avoidance methods with five buses.
Charles Kamp email:
From: Kamp, Charles
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 12:02 PM
To: Zellers, Ledell; Bidar-Sielaff, Shiva; Rummel, Marsha
Cc: Gary Poulson; Monks, Anne
Subject: Audible turn signals
Good afternoon – I wanted to update you on the latest on this program. We have decided to turn off the audible turn signals and will start that process right away. We will provide an update to the TPC on this in July, and I plan to ask to have 5 buses authorized for future testing for collision avoidance. For now all of the buses will have the audible signals turned off, but as we identify new technologies or devices that we think warrant testing, we will notify the public for feedback purposes and limit testing to 5 buses before we consider expanding further.
Thanks for your input on this, and please let me know if you have questions.