Flex Lane update: Thoughts from officials and the public after two weeks of trial

The Flex Lane on Madison’s Beltline now has roughly two weeks under its belt.
Updated: Jul. 26, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Flex Lane on Madison’s Beltline now has roughly two weeks under its belt, and both the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and drivers say the extra lane offers relief to traffic.

“Well, so far, so good,” said traffic management supervisor Randy Hoyt. “Spots that did have a lot of congestion seem to be a lot smoother; reports from colleges of mine said their travel time is more reliable.”

He says that while the lane seems to be making a difference in traffic flow, there is still work to be done. Now, it is a matter of continuing to compile data to help hone in on the most efficient times to open the lane.

“We have initial target times to open the lane; that changed right before we opened it, we opened it a little earlier than we anticipated in the afternoon, and we’ll wait to see what the June data says,” said Hoyt.

Hoyt adds that getting the lane open is not as simple as flipping a switch. Other agencies need to be alerted, and the lane is swept for any debris before the lane is available, which he says takes roughly 30 minutes. Because the start time of peak traffic is fluid, more data on when to open the lane and how the flex lane changes that time is how Hoyt says they can get the lane open closer to the exact right time for peak traffic.

Drivers who use the lane regularly would like to see other changes too.

“I think they should change it to 65; they opened it up now, so they need to change the speed limit,” said Allen Wright. “I think it should be open as long as the rush hour traffic is flowing down the beltline, so I think it should be open from, say, three to about seven or eight.”

Hoyt also reminds people to drive 55 MPH in the Flex Lane and not to use the lane as a passing lane.

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