Monday Update: Flash flood, art ride, John Nolen

Last Week

We had some memorable rain events last week, leading to flooding, downed trees, and other complications for pretty much everyone. Saturday morning I woke up to a large tree branch in the middle of the street. As we all experienced, and as the pictures submitted to MB’s Facebook page, bike paths suffered downed trees and flooding as a result of these storms. I know that in the moment we just deal with the obstacles before us and can forget to let the city know so the mess can be cleaned up. As a reminder, the City’s “report a problem” site provides a way to let the city know about these issues and hopefully address them quickly!

“Path down from Odana golf course, about 100 ft from SW Commuter Path.” Photo by Don Thornton.


“Green Prairie/Dunn’s Marsh storm flooding.” Photo by Scott Sauer.

As if all this rain wasn’t challenging enough, the record high temperatures have not been for the faint of heart. Undeterred, the Tour de la Familia Latino rode this past Saturday. I have not heard how many folks attended. We’re hoping someone from the BiciClub Latino de Madison can let us know!

This week

The Madison Bikes Board meets at 6:00pm–8:00pm on Monday, June 18 at the Madison Public Library, 201 W Mifflin St, Madison, WI 53703. Please attend and learn what we are doing and how you can help!

On Tuesday, June 19 the Madison Common Council meets at 6:30 at the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Room 201, Madison, WI.. The agenda looks packed but about half-way through they will discuss the much maligned “hairball” intersection of John Nolen/Williamson/Blair/Wilson streets. The full agenda for the meeting is here.

Chris Rickert from the Wisconsin State Journal discusses the differing opinions on if the proposed redesign is satisfactory in this article. While it looks like the Council is likely to move forward with accepting the report on the redesign, it is definitely not too late to ask for changes that would further improve the bike/walk environment at this stressful intersection.

Also on Tuesday, Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet from 6:00 pm – 7:30pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200, Madison, WI.

Don’t forget to check Madison Bikes blog on Wednesday, June 20th for the second installment in a three-part series by Jonathan Mertzig. Jonathan lived in the Netherlands and shares his experience biking and walking in that country, where planning, engineering and policy has made biking the preferred mode of transportation in urban areas.

On Thursday, a new BCycle station will open at and in partnership with the Goodman Community Center. Center participants can get a free membership, and there will various family-friendly festivities, 4:30-6pm.

On Sunday, June 24 Bike the Art tour happens from 12:00pm – 3:30pm. Meet at Allen Centennial Garden, 620 Babcock Dr, Madison for a free all-ages bike tour of galleries, events and unique art venues across Madison. The tour includes exclusive access to artist talks, workshops, and tours of exhibitions and art spaces. Participants are welcome to join the tour at any stage; please refer to the schedule linkded below for where and when to meet with the group. Additional stops include Working Draft Beer Company and Madison Circus Space. Bike the Art is sponsored by Dane Arts, Madison Arts Commission, Arts + Literature Laboratory, VEA Events, The Bubbler at Madison Public Library, Community Art Discourse Facebook event:

Dispatch from the Netherlands, Part 1: Wayfinding and Complete Streets

Editorial note: This is a three-part guest post by Madison Bikes supporter Jonathan Mertzig. Thanks, Jonathan, for sharing your experience living and cycling in the Netherlands, and what we can learn from the Dutch in improving cycling here in Madison! Part 2 will be published next Wednesday.

In the summer of 2005 I had the privilege of attending a Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union) summer course held in the beautiful town of Zeist, a short bike journey away from the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, Utrecht.  Apart from being an amazing immersive experience in learning the Dutch language, the course also provided plenty of opportunities to experience the Netherlands’ amazing bike culture and infrastructure. 

After class each day, our group of students from around the world could grab our bikes and head off for an adventure, exploring our surroundings without ever even needing to look at a map.  You could pick a destination and follow the signs for a safe route to just about anywhere.  Even the most novice cyclists, many coming from countries with almost no culture of cycling, could in a few days become quite confident riders.

In the years since, I’ve had many opportunities to return to the Netherlands and observe the evolution of bike facilities there.  The Netherlands can seem like a cyclist’s paradise that would be hard to match elsewhere, and indeed, there are some local factors in the popularity of cycling we can’t easily match: compact cities, short distances between towns, relatively flat terrain, and milder winter weather.  But there are plenty of things the Dutch do well that can serve as examples to replicate elsewhere, including American cities like Madison.



A particularly information-dense cycling route wayfinding signpost outside Amsterdam’s city hall. Red signs point to locations of interest (like the Artis zoo, or the central station), major neighborhoods, or even other cities (like in this example, Hilversum and Utrecht). The green signs denote major recreational routes… from here you can even follow the signs to take the Stedenroute (“City Route”) all 340km to Brussels—no guarantee though that the signage will be as good once you cross the Belgian border!

One of the first things that stands out to visitors observing the bike scene in the Netherlands—besides the sheer number of bikes everywhere—is the excellent system of wayfinding signage throughout the country.  The national travel association, ANWB, provides uniform standards for bike and pedestrian wayfinding signage, with signs installed at nearly every intersection or path access point throughout the country.  Signage features directions and distances between cities, highlights major points of interest, and delineates regional and national recreational and long-distance routes. 

In some scenic areas, a lower-profile format of bike wayfinding signage is used, though the design features are otherwise consistent with the rest of the national signage system. Here you can choose your direction through the dunes at Kijkduin.

The signage scheme for cyclists is visually distinct from other types of road signage, color-coded (red for general directions and local points of interest, green for recreational routes) and uses consistent shapes, symbols, and highly-readable typography to provide a universally recognizable scheme for navigation.  The scale and placement of signage also often doubles as a useful reference for those traveling on foot. One can easily navigate within cities or take a long-distance ride without much need to break out your smartphone… just follow the signs.

The green-signed recreational route network ties connects historical town centers and scenic natural areas around the country. Here in Maastricht, the “Maas route” LF3b takes you through cobblestone streets and up the St-Pietersberg, one of the few hills in Dutch territory that actually is referred to as a “mountain.” Contrary to popular belief, the entire country isn’t flat!

Takeaways:  Being able to find your way around without much of a hassle is key to a great cycling experience, especially for beginners and visitors.  We should strive for a system of consistent, high-density signage for cycle-friendly routes. The Dutch standards for signage provide a great example of a well-executed wayfinding system.

Complete Networks, Complete Streets

Cederlaan in Eindhoven is a great example of a Dutch “complete street.” This street, built in a new residential development in a previously industrial district, combines a bus rapid transit way and stations, general traffic lanes, a separated bike path, parking lanes, and sidewalks.

The network of bike routes in the Netherlands is quite comprehensive, with a thoroughly interconnected system of urban bike lanes, separated bike paths, traffic-calmed neighborhood streets, and rural roads and trails suitable for safe cycling.  Bike routes are easily recognized through consistent visual cues, like the aforementioned wayfinding signage, or the use of red pavement to mark lanes and paths reserved for cyclists. Cycling becomes a practical option for commuting, shopping, or even intercity journeys because it is easy to travel by bike without having to contend with riding on unsafe roads or breaks in the network.  It is quite possible to find a safe bike route between most any destination in the Netherlands, whether at neighborhood level or cross-country.

Outside the cities, an extensive network of paths crisscrosses rural and natural areas, making it possible to easily bike between towns while enjoying the scenery. Here is a path that connects Zeist and Amersfoort via the wooded hills of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and heathlands of the Leusderheide.

Taking a look at Dutch street design also shows what “complete streets” looks like when proper design and investment is put into the concept. It’s not unusual to find arterial streets that combine safe, separated lanes for bikes, cars, and mass transit, and still have ample space for sidewalks, landscaped medians and terraces, and on-street parking. Smaller neighborhood streets use designs that are appropriate for the context and available space, like traffic calming measures combined with on-street bike lanes, or even intentionally ambiguous zones (you may be familiar with the Dutch term woonerf) where a blending of low-speed traffic actually improves safety and livability for surrounding neighborhoods.  Not all Dutch street designs are perfect and not all are feasible for Madison’s streets, but the overall experience is noticeably better than American design standards.

The intersection along Rotterdam’s Blaak avenue provides a particularly complex example of a Dutch “complete” street. Bike lanes and broad sidewalks on each side flank a busy avenue, the start of a separated busway, and a tramway. Aerial view.

Takeaways:  Find the holes in the network and prioritize these for improvements.  The Madison area has done a good job of this in terms of regional and cross-town routes, but the real gaps are at a more local level. Think about those neighborhoods where you can’t easily use a bike to do errands like getting groceries, take your kids to school, or visit the park, and target those areas for improvement. Make sure proposals for new infrastructure connect up to existing routes in safe and logical ways.

American discussions of measures like traffic calming are often framed as “experiments” or denounced by opponents as “unproven” but Dutch cities are full of working examples of complete streets and safer design paradigms, and these are often implemented in situations where space is quite limited compared to American streets.  And investment in quality bike-friendly infrastructure doesn’t necessarily have to come at a cost detrimental to those who drive—any trip on the superb freeways of the Netherlands quickly demonstrates that the Dutch don’t hate their cars! The Dutch don’t view transportation planning as a zero-sum game where only one mode “wins.” (For more on the state of the overall transportation system in the Netherlands, and how bikes fit into the picture, I recommend this report from Statistics Netherlands: Transport and Mobility 2015).


Check back next week for part 2 of the series!


What a [Bike] Week! Weekly update for June 11, 2018




We had wonderful weather for Bike Week and all the activities: not too hot, not too cold, and almost no rain! Thanks to all who came by, chatted at the commuter stations, threw a little into the donation box, and signed up to be on the mailing list. We had a great time and met some new people, many of whom didn’t know about Madison Bikes.

This brings me to a reminder to all current Facebook friends and email subscribers: If you know someone who would like to know what’s happening with bicycling in Madison, please send them over to us. They can follow us on Facebook, participate in our group discussions, and/or sign up to get our blogs and weekly updates emailed to them directly.

We are a stronger, more effective organization when more people join and participate. One of our goals is to keep bicyclists up to date with what’s happening on city committees, in your neighborhood, and when plans or votes are coming up that will affect bicycling. Your voice is very important, and you can help us by getting your friends to join as well.


On to the weekly update for this week. After all the activities last week, the coming week is pretty slow for meetings and activities.


Madison Bikes Events Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at Barriques, 127 W Washington. All the Madison Bikes committees are looking for additional volunteers and committee members, so if you are interested in helping plan events, we could really use your help. The Winter Fashion Show, Annual Party/Member Meeting, and Bike Week commuter stations are just some of the events that this committee has planned. Don’t know whether it’s for you? Stop by to say hello and ask a few questions. They’ll be glad to see you!

There will be a special meeting of the Plan Commission, at 5:00 pm in Room 103A of the City/County Building, to approve updates to the Comprehensive Plan. This will guide how the city grows, and where, for the next ten years. It’s been through a lot of work and discussed by almost every committee of the city – including several transportation committees -- and now needs to be passed by the Plan Commission and Council. If you would like to see everyone who’d looked at it and what input they had, you can follow this link and click on the documents.


The Middleton Pedestrian. Bike, Transit Committee will be at 5:30 in the Council Chambers in Middleton City Hall, 7426 Hubbard Avenue. It looks like the city is taking the first steps to build a much-needed path along Century Ave. This has been a missing link in the metro area for quite some time, with none of the existing options – ride in the main lanes with fast-moving traffic or use the sidewalk -- particularly safe or inviting. But it’s just the start of the process, because this is what is listed on the agenda:

The City of Middleton received three responses to its Request for Proposals for consultant engineering services to design a 10 ft. wide path along the north side of Century Avenue, between Old Creek Road and the eastern city limits (near Mendota County Park).


There are two rides scheduled for Saturday.

The Clean Lakes Alliance will have its annual Loop the Lake ride and fundraiser, starting at Olbrich Park at 10:00 am. The ride is the familiar ride around Lake Monona (about 13 miles), but you’ll be doing it with a few hundred other people. Although most people will finish in about 75-90 minutes, the course will stay open until 2:00 pm. More information at the link about or at the Facebook event.

Tour de Familia Latina/Latino Family Tour will start at 1:00 pm at Quan Park, hosted by BiciClub Latino de Madison. They are meeting at bit outside downtown Madison to avoid all the other events going on downtown. Quan Park is right next to the Wingra Creek Path and behind the Alliant Center. From there, they will be biking to the Lower Yahara River Path, a beautiful ride. All are welcome, and the ride is geared toward families and riders of all ages and abilities.


All these events are also listed on the Madison Bike Community Calendar. If you would like to have an event listed, send it over to us.

Monday Update: Bike Week in full swing

It's June, and it's peak biking season in Madison. Wisconsin Bike Week started on Saturday and will serve a packed calendar of events this week.

We from Madison Bikes had a blast at Ride the Drive yesterday, offering free ABC Quick Checks and chatting with lots of you! If you signed up for our newsletter at Ride the Drive: Thanks for stopping by, and welcome to Madison Bikes! More pictures on our Facebook page.


On Monday there will be commuter stations at

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Machinery Row
  • Cap City at Law Park
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path
  • Fitchburg: Badger State Trail at Marketplace Dr

In the evening, come to Genna's for a Women's Cycling Happy Hour (open to all women-identified people), starting at 5 pm.


Madison Bikes is joining HotelRED to host a commuter station today! We promise: You won't have to bundle up like we did in this picture from our commuter station during Winter Bike Week!

Tuesday's commuter stations will be at:

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path at HotelRED with Madison Bikes
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Dickinson with bacon cheddar waffles
  • Cap City at Central Park/McPike Park
  • Cap City at Law Park
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path
  • Fitchburg: Velo Underround (where Cap City, Cannonball, SW Paths intersect)

Our friends from Bombay Bicycle Club are hosting a ride and social in the evening, starting at the Hop Garden in Paoli. And north of Madison, join the 1st Annual Pedal For Paws, Creekside Family Bicycle Night in Sun Prairie.


On Wednesday, stop for free morning treats at:

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Brearly
  • Cap City at Machinery Row
  • Cap City at Law Park with Bratcakes
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path
  • Fitchburg: Badger State Trail at Marketplace Dr

Sun Prairie Bicycling Advocacy Group is hosting their Brats, Brews, and Bikes Ride in the evening. Meet at 6 pm at Wetmore Community Park.

Not part of Bike Week: The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board has their regular meeting at 6:30, Water Utility (E Olin Ave).


More commuter stations!

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Mifflin Bike Boulevard at Paterson: Celebrate the new diverter!
  • Cap City at Law Park with Bacon on the Bike Path
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path

In the evening you can pick among several social events: Revolution Cycles will have a Hot Pizza and Cool Drinks happy hour on the Cap City Trail behind their shop. On the way there, stop for a root beer kegger on the Cap City between First and Division. If you live in Waunakee, join Bombay for a 25-mile ride, departing 5:30 pm at Prairie Elementary. And in Middleton, you can join community leaders for an 8-to-10-mile ride featuring recent investments in bicycle routes and amenities, and learn about future plans and opportunities.


It's your last chance to hit one of the commuter stations. Today you can find them at:

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Law Park
  • State St at Johnson (Short Stack Eatery
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path

Bike Week doesn't end on Friday, but it is the day for the big bike week celebration at HotelRED from 5-6:30 pm.

Women-identified folks who want to learn about setting up the suspension on mountain bikes can head to Fitchburg Cycles for a "suspension clinic."


Bike Week ends with several options for riding your bike: The Trek 100 charity ride takes off from Waterloo. Bombay hosts a women's ride starting at the Glacial Drumlin trailhead in Cottage Grove. And women-identified folks who want to test some MTBs should head to Blackhawk trail system in Middleton. If you prefer a Madison event, head to the UW Campus for an "open house of interactive programs on the UW-Madison’s East Campus Mall and along the Lakeshore Path."

For more details about any of the bike week events, go straight to the Bike Fed's calendar.

Monday Update: Volunteers Needed, Director of Transportation Nominated, Bike Week

Call for Volunteers

Madison Bikes is looking for volunteers for the following events preceding and including Bike Week:

Saturday, June 2, we are looking for volunteers to lead feeder rides to the Olin Park south parking lot for the Ride to the Parks and Trails Unite Festival. There are currently three feeder rides planned. On the east side, there is a feeder ride starting at the Olbrich Park Biergarten that leaves at 11:00 AM. On the west side, a feeder ride is departing from EVP at Shorewood Hills at 10:30. There is also a feeder ride starting from Cafe Domestique on Williamson St. for folks living on the near east side. The feeder rides will collect at Olin Park around 11:30 AM where Bombay Bicycle Club and Madison Bikes are co-hosting a ride to the Parks and Trails Unite Festival which leaves at 11:45 AM. If your neighborhood wasn't listed and you want to lead a slow-rolling feeder ride, drop a comment on the event's Facebook page with a location and a start time to be added to the list of feeder rides. It would be great if we could get feeder rides from all corners of the city!

Sunday, June 3, we are looking for volunteers to help out at the Madison Bikes ABC Quick Check tent. If you can at least identify basic maintenance issues then we could use your help. Sign up for a volunteer shift here. The two shifts are from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Please plan on showing up 10 to 15 minutes prior to your shift.

Tuesday, June 5, we are looking for a few volunteers to help run the Madison Bikes Bike Week booth at HotelRED from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. We primarily need folks to engage commuters in conversation, and we would welcome your help even if you can't stay the full two hours. If you can help in any way please send an email to


Last Week

This last week we had quite pleasant weather and a week full of events for Bike to Work Week. Hopefully you all got to take advantage of the nice weather and got out on your bikes.

On Tuesday, we saw Tom Lynch nominated as the city's new Director of Transportation. The selection was praised by numerous current and former city council members and other members of the community who have worked with Mr. Lynch on various transportation projects, and we are certain he will make a good Director of Transportation. Another bonus is that Mr. Lynch is a year round commuter cyclist, so he will be able to bring to his position a viewpoint that we are hopeful will greatly improve transportation options here in the City of Madison.

This Week

On Tuesday, at 5:00 PM, the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) meets and will discuss the Blair St. corridor report which includes the two additional intersections of John Nolen Drive on the isthmus, and they are being asked to approve the geometry of the John Nolen/Williamson/Wilson/Blair intersection so Engineering can move forward with bids and construction as quickly as possible. City Engineering will also be present at the meeting to update the commission on projects they are pursuing, including for requests for proposal (RFPs) for two important multi-use path connections: one along Starkweather Creek behind the Garver property called the Garver Bike Path, and one that would create the first low-stress connection to the city's bike network for residents living in the Burke Heights neighborhood called the Autumn Ridge Path.

Proposed route for Phase 1 of the Garver Bike Path

Proposed route for the Autumn Ridge Path

Also on the agenda is the adoption of the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the result of two years of gathering public input through the Imagine Madison website and public meetings to create a guide that should help shape public policy around the future growth of Madison. This plan will also be at Thursday's meeting of the Long Range Transportation Committee. Here is the link to the public PBMVC agenda.

On Wednesday, at 7:00 PM ,there will be a community meeting to discuss the April 27th crash on Midvale Blvd. that killed pedestrian Greg Nametz, and severely injured his wife, Patty. The meeting will be at Queen of Peace Gathering Space. Read more about it on Alder Arvina Martin's web page.

The Long Range Transportation Planning Committee (LRTPC) meets this Thursday, May 31, at 5:00 PM. Adoption of the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan is also at this committee. The LRTPC will also be asked to adopt amendments to the Elderberry, Pioneer, and Junction Neighborhood Development Plans. Here is the link to the public LRTPC agenda.

Saturday is National Trails Day, and to celebrate, Dane County is hosting the Parks and Trails Unite Festival, which starts at 10:00 AM and runs into the night until 7:00 PM. There will be music happening at both ends of the newly completed segment of the Lower Yahara River Trail. The event is free and open to the public. As mentioned earlier, Bombay Bicycle Club and Madison Bikes will be doing a group ride to the festival with feeder rides from around the town. As a reminder, we are still looking for volunteers to lead feeder rides from their neighborhoods, so if you want to lead a feeder ride, leave a comment on the event's Facebook page with the location and time of departure for your ride.

Sunday kicks off the start of Bike Week. The 10th annual Ride the Drive starts at 11:00 AM and lasts until 3:00 PM. The route is along scenic John Nolen Drive and North Shore Blvd. which will be closed to motor vehicle traffic for the public to enjoy. The ride is family-friendly, and there will be entertainment, food, and fun! Join the MadTown Unity Ride starting at 10:30 AM on a ride from the south side of Madison to Ride the Drive. Madison Bikes will have a tent at Ride the Drive that includes a basic maintenance ABC Quick Check. As a reminder, we are still looking for volunteers to help out at this event, so if you are available and can at least identify a basic maintenance issue, please sign up for a spot.

Look for more information on Bike Week events in next weeks blog post. You can also see what events are planned for Madison at the Wisconsin Bike Federation's Bike Week website.

Winnebago will wait, and Bike Week is coming soon

Last Week

This past Tuesday the Madison Common Council failed to overturn the Mayoral veto on the Council approved option #2 for the reconstruction of Winnebago St. This essentially sends the design for the project back to the drawing board. Rather than hiding in a corner and licking our wounds, we should consider this an opportunity to make the design of the entire length of Winnebago -- from the Yahara River to Union Corners a complete street for all users. We will need to stay engaged as the restarted process moves forward. Stay tuned for updates on design proposals and meeting schedules.

This coming week has a few Bike to Work Week events leading up to the big Wisconsin Bike Week events scheduled for the first week of June. (As of Sunday night, when this was posted, the Bike Fed website was down, so we can't link to the events calendar. But we'll get more information to you well before things start on June 2.)

This week

While it looks like this week will be somewhat challenging on the weather front, there are some fun biking events that should make you forget about any rainy day woes and help you enjoy the ride. There are also a few meetings worth keeping tabs on.

On Monday, May 21, Bike Fitchburg holds its monthly meetings from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd. Anyone with an interest in improving biking in Fitchburg should feel free to attend.

Tuesday, May 22 Local cyclist and personal trainer Krierstin Kloeckner and Harbor Athletic Club Wellness Center host a free Yoga practice for Bike to Work Week. Practice starts at 6:30am and runs until 7:15am. Bring your own mat! Harbor Athletic club is located at 2529 Allen Blvd, Middleton.

On Wednesday, May 23rd at 5:00pm Short Stack Eatery, at 301 W Johnson St, will have mechanics from Wheels for Winners to help you get your bike in tip top shape. Have a beer and hang out with Madison bike lovers! AND, if you ride your bike to the pop-up there will be discounts and raffle prizes. Come hang out with us and win cool stuff!. Did I mention beer?!? More info here.

Also on Wednesday the Middleton Pedestrian/Bicycle/Transit Committee meets 6:30 - 7:30pm at the Middleton City Hall, 7426 Hubbard Ave. The agenda should be at this link, but it doesn't seem to be working, so if someone has a link, we'll throw it up here. 

Thursday, May 24th Harbor Athletic Club and local cyclist Kierstin Kloeckner continue rocking the support for Bike to Work Week with a free Pilates class from 6:30- 7:15 am. Set the alarm early and head over to Harbor to limber up before the ride in to the office. Bring your own mat!

Saris again coordinates with Metcalf’s Bratfest Friday, May 25th to bring us the annual Bike Your Brat to Work Day! The first 200 cyclists to bike through the brat fesr at 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way will get to up to two bratwursts, compliments of Saris! Plus, cyclists get to bypass dozens of cars. Be early if you want to be sure to grab that breakfast brat, as there's typically a line of hungry bicyclists ready for their breakfast brats. This event kicks off the World’s Largest Brat Fest, bright and early on May 25th. 

A mayoral veto: It's the weekly update for May 14

Last week

After the Council approved option # 2 for Winnebago St, on Tuesday, May1 -- a big win for safety because the option provided more buffer between the bike lanes and motor vehicle traffic – the Mayor then decided to veto the Council’s action. You can read his veto letter here.

We anticipate that the Council will try to overturn the veto this coming week. See Tuesday’s upcoming events for more information.

On Saturday, Robbie and Harald presented work at the Wisconsin Bike Summit in Madison. Other board members, volunteers, and friends of Madison Bikes also attended.


This Week

On Monday, the Madison Bikes Board will meet at 6 pm at the Central Library. Everyone is welcome to attend.

This Tuesday, we anticipate the Madison Common Council will try to overturn the Mayor’s veto of the vote to build option # 2 on Winnebago. The original vote was 11-6, with one alder absent, one abstaining, and one who was chairing the meeting. 14 votes are needed to overturn the veto, and one person who voted in the minority has already said he will vote to overturn.

Everyone can hep by contacting your alder to ask that they uphold the action passed by the majority. There was a robust public outreach process and many committee meetings that came before the Council vote, so it is disappointing that the Mayor wants to undo all that work.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm in Room 201 of the City-County Building. You can register to speak, watch in person, or watch the meeting on Madison City Channel. It’s a great lesson in local democracy, and you might become a better advocate or more informed citizen.

On Wednesday, the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at Bendy Works, 106 E Doty St, 2nd floor. If you’d like to help us out with our work on advocacy issues, feel free to stop by.

Friday, Sun Prairie’s advocacy group will be holding a bike commuter station at Canery Row from 6:00-8:30 am. So if you happen to be out that way, stop by to say hello.

We can expect to see quite a few weekend events, as the warm weather is finally here.

Saturday, there are two events. First, from 9:00-noon, Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 East Gorham St is holding a bike rodeo. There is a long list of activities for all ages and abilities. Get a tune up, try out an electric bike, get some safety training for kids, enter the raffle, and learn how to fix a flat.

Then from 1:00-4:00 join others visiting galleries and art exhibitions by bike for Bike the Arts. The fun starts at the Bubbler at the Central Library and then moves on to other locations. A full list of locations and times can be found here.

Sunday, there is a ride for women to check out mountain biking, or just join others. All levels of expertise welcome, whether this is your first time or know the trails very well. Head over to the Bell Joy Ride on the John Muir Trails the Southern Kettle Morraine, N9097 County Road H, Elkhorn.

You can always get the info on these events by checking out the Madison Bikes Community Calendar. Have an event that you’d like to put on our calendar? Send it out way.


In case you missed it

Here’s what we were talking about on our Facebook group:

Baltazar is asking people to vote on the name for the community latino bike group that is formalizing their organization.

There was a spirited discussion about the Mayor’s veto of the Council vote on Winnebago.

Grant posted the results of a survey on what people want in Monona to improve walking and biking.

Does banning hand-held cell phone use actually improve safety?

Monday Update: Mifflin diverter, Monona open house, city rankings

Last week

The highlight of last week certainly was the Common Council voting in favor of buffered bike lanes on Winnebago Street. Madison Bikes put a lot of energy into this project, and we're very pleased that in the end, a majority of alders supported the project. You can watch a recording of the debate about the project on City Channel (starts at 1:04:00). Here's the voting record:

Alders voting in favor of Option #2 (buffered bike lanes): Bidar-Sielaff, Demarb, Eskrich, Hall, Kemble, Martin, Palm, Phair, Skidmore, Wood, and Zellers.

Alders voting against Option #2: Ahrens, Cheeks, Clear, King, Rummel, Verveer.

Carter was excused, Baldeh was chairing, and Harrington-McKinney abstained.

Please consider sending a quick email to your alder to thank them for or let them know your opinion on their vote.

[Breaking: We just learned that Mayor Soglin has vetoed the council's decision. The Council now has to vote on it again, and the project will need a 2/3 majority to pass. Read the mayor's letter here.]

Also at the Common Council was the Madison Yards project. This is a huge development project on the city's west side, next to the Department of Transportation building on Sheboygan Ave. If you followed the news coverage and Facebook discussion after the council meeting, there was some confusion about an amendment that seemingly affected plans for bike lanes on Segoe. The amendment was voted down and bike lanes on Segoe (and other affected streets) remain part of the project.

At the Board of Public Works, the East Mifflin diverter passed unanimously. The diverter blocks motor vehicles from entering Mifflin at Blair and should help to keep traffic volumes on the bike boulevard in check. The city's report on the test installation of the diverter was positive, but public testimony at the meeting had a large number of critical voices. The project will now go to the Common Council.

Places for Bikes released their new city rating system on Wednesday. The scoring system incorporates a variety of data sources on ridership, infrastructure, community perceptions, safety, and current investment levels. Madison scored 3.3 out of 5 possible points. This puts us on 6th place overall, and 3rd among large cities. Where we did worst was in the "acceleration" category, which rates "how quickly a community is improving its biking infrastructure and how successful its encouragement programs are at getting people to ride."

On the weekend, the Wisconsin Bike Summit took place, including the Madtown Unity Ride on Friday evening, "celebrating the unity and diversity of Madison and to connect communities together." Channel 3000 has a short segment on the ride.

Oboi Reed from Equiticity presenting at the Summit (Photo: Peter Gray)

This week

Tonight, on Monday, the Madison Bikes events committee has their monthly meeting. The next big event on the horizon is Ride the Drive and Bike Week in early June. 6pm at Barriques on Park. New faces are always welcome!

If you want to see better biking and walking in Monona, attend the ped/bike open house on Tuesday. The city's bike and ped ad hoc committee will give a presentation on the committee's goals and an open house to discuss potential improvements. 6pm at Winnequah Elementary School.

On Saturday you need to choose between two bike events: REI is hosting their Big Backyard Bike Bash. Dreambikes will accept donations of bikes and used parts at the event, and you can get free safety checks and use the bike was station. 10-4 at REI on the west side. If you'd rather combine biking and Craft Beer Week, join the 80s-themed Madison Bike & Brew Tour. All proceeds from the event go to Down with Bikes, Madison's newest mobile bicycle repair non-profit. 11am at Alt Brew.

For details on any of these events, head to the Madison Bikes calendar. If you have an event that you’d like added, send the details to

Breaking: Common Council votes for buffered lanes on Winnebago

At last night's meeting, the Madison Common Council voted in favor of reconstructing Winnebago Street from Bashford to Second with buffered bike lanes and canopy trees (option 2)! Madison Bikes supported option 2 with a position statement that you can read below. The decision to remove on-street parking and reallocate that space for safer and more comfortable bike facilities and street trees is a major victory for active transportation and livability in our city.

We'll have more details later. Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this happen!

Monday Update: Transit, Winnebago, Bike Summit

Editor's note: Our weekly update team has a new contributor. Let's welcome Jim Wilson, a Madison Bikes volunteer and co-chair of our advocacy committee!

Spring has sprung! The bike counters on the Cap City Path and on the Southwest Commuter Path show that ridership has jumped over 300% since the weather has finally gotten warmer.

Last week

Last Tuesday, the Pedestrian Bicycle Motor-Vehicle Commission approved the inclusion of the Mifflin St. traffic half-diverter. The next step in the approval of the half-diverter is getting it approved by Board of Public Works this Wednesday.

City Engineering also
gave an update on some of their projects including the big Atwood Ave. project. Of note, Engineering is now exploring a cross section of Atwood that would continue the on-street bike lanes on Monona Dr. north to where they can meet up with the multi-use paths on both sides of the street. This change was credited to feedback they received from the public at the last Atwood PIM on April 6, so thanks for turning up to make your voices heard! Other projects included an extension of the 8 ft sidewalk along the east side of Whitney Way south across the beltline intersections, and the installation of an off street pedestrian connection from the Cannonball Path to Todd Dr. along the beltline frontage road.

Possible Atwood Ave. configuration just north of Cottage Grove Rd. through the pinch point in front of American Family.

City Engineering is also doing some good work overcoming several of the challenges it’s been facing such as the change in state law preventing cities from using condemnation powers for pedestrian or bike projects, and in the challenges they’ve had establishing new paths along rail corridors. In their presentation on the 2019-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), they have started to move forward with an alternate to the previously planned Goodman Path in what they’re calling the Garver Path and the Autumn Ridge Path. The Garver Path would connect the Cap City Trail to Milwaukee St. through the Garver lot and O.B. Sherry Park. The first section of the Autumn Ridge Path would connect Portland Pkwy with Ziegler Rd. and would include a new ped/bike bridge over Highway 30. Plans are also moving along for sections of the West Towne Path and the Cap City Trail connection with the Glacial Drumlin that they think they can get done without condemnation powers, however other sections have been postponed indefinitely because of the change in state law.

The discussion on the John Nolen Drive corridor wrapped up the meeting and several questions about the geometry of the Williamson/Blair/Wilson/Nolen intersection caused the acceptance of the report and approval of the geometry to be postponed until next month’s Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission meeting.

This Week

On Monday, the Wisconsin Transit Riders Alliance is having its annual meeting at the Madison Public Library from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, which will include a discussion of the LaCrosse Area Planning Committee’s efforts to establish a regional transit program in the region, despite the state’s efforts to thwart the creation of Regional Transit Authorities since 2011.

This Tuesday, the final geometrics for the Winnebago St. reconstruction will be approved at the Common Council meeting. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM in Room 201 in the City-County Building at 210 Martin Luther King Blvd., Madison, WI, 53703. This is the last opportunity to submit public comment about the project, so everyone interested in seeing a better Winnebago St. cross section should show up or write to their alder or both. Madison Bikes encourages support for the Option 2 cross section for the following reasons:

  • space for bigger, canopy-type street trees
  • better access for walking from southeast side of street, especially with the elimination of the current grade separation
  • better, shorter crossings for people on foot
  • buffered lanes for bikes instead of a door-zone bike lane on a bus route with narrow lanes
  • ADA accessible bus stop at Fourth St
  • narrower lanes for motor vehicles to encourage lower traffic speed

You can read the recent Action Alert for more information about this project. We could use as much public support as possible for Option 2 as it gives us buffered bike lanes and more space for trees, which would be an improvement to the corridor for both bicyclists and pedestrians over Option 1.

Also on Tuesday, Madison Bikes Communication Committee is having its monthly meeting at 5:30 PM. This meeting will be at the Stiftskeller in the Memorial Union and is open for anybody who wishes to attend.

On Wednesday, there will be a meeting of the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board starting at 6:30 PM in the Water Utility building at 119 E. Olin Ave. in Madison, Room A-B. On the agenda is the approval of a letter to WisDOT supporting the Village of Cottage Grove’s application for Stewardship funding for the Glacial Drumlin Trail connection. You can find the full agenda here.

Also Wednesday, the Mifflin-Blair half-diverter is in front of the Board of Public Works. The Board meeting begins at 4:30 PM in Court Room 354 in the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Blvd., Madison.

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Bike Fed is hosting its annual Bike Summit in downtown Madison. The event starts at 9:00 AM and will be a great opportunity to network with other bike advocacy groups around the state. The full schedule of events can be found here

Also on Saturday, the Capital Off Road Pathfinders are having their annual party/fundraiser at Machinery Row starting at 6:00 PM and running until 9. CORP has done some incredible work building and maintaining off-road mountain bike trails in the area.


get updates