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Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway sponsored a proposal for a transit-oriented development overlay district, but withdrew it after local historic districts were added to the plan. 

Transit-oriented development, also known as TOD, aims to create higher-density housing and pedestrian-oriented development centered around transit systems. The city began formally collecting public feedback on a possible TOD overlay zoning district in May 2022. 

Rhodes-Conway supported the overlay until it added three of Madison’s historic districts, which have specific standards designed to preserve their character. The City Council passed the proposal including the historic districts. Rhodes-Conway said she still supports the overlay, noting it is in the city’s “best interest.”

She told the Cap Times she withdrew her sponsorship because, “I don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes us … getting that good policy passed.” 

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


The Cap Times: Madison housing debate heats up over higher density near bus lines

City of Madison: Transit-Oriented Development

City of Madison: City Creating Transit-Oriented Development Zoning

City of Madison: Transit Oriented Development Overlay District

City of Madison: Local Historic Districts

Wisconsin State Journal: New transit-oriented zoning rules to include historic districts after Madison City Council vote

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Erin Gretzinger / Wisconsin WatchReporting Intern

Erin Gretzinger joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism and French major at UW-Madison and will graduate in spring 2023. Erin previously worked for the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporting intern and served as the 2021-22 editor-in-chief at The Badger Herald. She is a recipient of the Jon Wolman Scholarship, the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship and the Joseph Sicherman Award Fund for her academic and reporting work.