Rail Corridor Street Closings Sent Back for ‘Do Over’

Dane County Judge says OCR did not fully explain decision

A Judge has asked the Office of the Commissioner of Rail Roads to reexamine his ruling to close crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets.

A Judge has asked the Office of the Commissioner of Rail Roads to reexamine his ruling to close crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi has remanded the City of Madison’s appeal of the closing of two rail road crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets. State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale had ruled last year that the two crossings should close to address safety concerns. The City contended that there hadn’t been an accident in 40 years and the closures would substantially inhibit traffic flow on the Near East Side

In an email to various City officials City Attorney Steven Brist wrote that Judge Sumi asked the commissioner to re-examine his decision, and added some instructions. The commissioner is to fully explain his reasoning to increase the number of street closures to two, from the one recommended by a hearing examiner in February 2012.

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Interview: Marsha Rummel – 6th District Alder

Madison 6th District Alder Marsha A. Rummel

Marsha A. Rummel has been Alder of Madison’s 6th District since 2007, and in that time she has seen lots of change. Before being elected she had been active in the Marquette Neighborhood Association and was interested in such issues as urban planning and affordable housing and decided to run when Judy Olson retired after 12 years in office.

Rummel helped found the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative 1989. The progressive-minded (left of center) store provides books and resources to social movements as well as textbooks to the University of Wisconsin. The co-op is also meant to be a salon for the issues of the time.

Recently, at the Willy Street fair (September 16), we took a few minutes to talk about some of the issues facing her district which has now expanded to nearly five square miles due to a recent redistricting. Its a fun and challenging time on the near East Side with redevelopment in several key areas like the Captiol East district and Union Corners taking center stage.

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Wrong Track

City to appeal and maybe litigate decision to close isthmus rail crossings

This siding feeds the MG&E coal plant on south Livingston Street. The utility is also opposed to the closing of the rail crossings.

The only people that may be happy about the decision by State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale to close two isthmus rail crossings was Wisconsin & Southern Railroad which operates the tracks, and Union Pacific Railroad which owns them.

For everyone in the City who travels, lives, or works near this 1.06 mile stretch of track, it was a nonsensical decision for Plale to also close Brearly Street after earlier this year Hearing Examiner Douglas S. Wood had recommended only closing Livingston Street.  Continue reading

Brearly Street Added to Rail Crossing Closures

State Rail Commissioner says Livingston and Brearly Crossings must close

Wisconsin’s Railroad Commissioner has ordered both Livingston and Brearly Street crossings closed, leaving five crossings between Blair Street and East Washington Avenues.

Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale has ordered the closing of two rail crossings along the rail corridor on Madison’s Eastside. Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, which operates the tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad, had petitioned to close Blount, Livingston, and Brearly crossings in 2009 and Plale had ordered Livingston Street closed earlier this year following a hearing.

The City of Madison was exploring its legal options and during a regular Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission in July options were discussed on a response, but so far nothing has been announced.

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Madison Contests Livingston Rail Crossing Closure

Update on appeal at Vehicle Commission meeting, stop signs grow on Baldwin

If a Wisconsin State commission’s ruling stands, the railroad crossing at Livingston Street will be closed by June 2013 and cul de sacs installed.

A key municipal meeting is coming up today at 5 p.m. at City Hall. The Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission will meet to discuss a few ongoing items that directly affect multi-modal movement along the Capital City Bike Trail and Central Park.

On the agenda is whether to install an All-Way stop sign at South Baldwin and East Wilson Streets and discussion on the City’s response to the State Office of Commissioner of Railroad’s (OCR) recommendation to close the railroad crossing at South Livingston Street.  Continue reading