Bike News

Madison Bikes Calendar Highlights (8/15/16)

The public input meeting about pedestrian, bike, and transit improvements for the Monroe Street Reconstruction was the big event last week. Coming up next week is a visioning session about Jackson Street Plaza (where the Cap City Trail crosses Atwood Avenue). Read more after the fold.

Looking Back

Monroe Street Reconstruction

Last week’s big bike advocacy event was the Monroe Street Reconstruction Ped/Bike/Transit World Cafe at Edgewood College. There was a good crowd of attendees that sat through the three hour session. There were three presentations, one each on possible improvements for people on foot, people on bikes, and people who use transit. After each presentation, there were guided table conversations about what we heard, what was missing, and what we liked.

Some information from the online survey (2,779 responses) was interspersed in the presentations and the summary of survey results can be found here.

Key questions and top three responses:

“Other than by car, how would you prefer to access destinations on Monroe Streets if conditions were improved?”

  • 47% Walking
  • 38% Bicycle
  • 14% Transit

“Please choose up to three (3) qualities that you would most like to see improved and/or invested in as part of the reconstruction process.”

  • 54% Walkability
  • 46% Green street (more plant life and sustainable design)
  • 43% Bikeability

“Please choose up to five (5) priorities regarding what you believe is most important to achieve as a result of the reconstruction of Monroe Street.”

  • 70% Better pedestrian-friendliness and safety
  • 65% A reconstructed street, free of cracks and potholes
  • 51% Better bicycle-friendliness and safety

These results are very consistent with the opinions that have been expressed at the community meetings to date. Improved safety, comfort, and access for people on foot is the primary concern followed closely by improved safety, comfort, and access for people on bike.

Of the 1,000 or so people that said they would prefer to access destinations on Monroe Streets by bike if conditions were improved, there was some clear consensus around what improvements would be the most important (response of 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale):

  • 69% stated that protected bike lanes would be a major factor
  • 62% said that bike lanes (even without separation) would be a major factor
  • 46% called out smoother streets as a major factor
  • 45% hoped for better bike connections from nearby bike paths
  • 37% and 33% said that less and slower automobile traffic would be a major factor
  • And less than 30% of respondents selected better signage, more bike parking near destinations, and installing Bcycle stations as a major factor that would lead to them biking more to Monroe Street

Unfortunately, the presentation on bike enhancements by Assistant City Traffic Engineer, Yang Tao, only mentioned protected and unprotected bike lanes briefly while stressing the impact on car throughput and on-street parking that would result from including bike lanes in the reconstruction. Most of the presentation focused instead on concepts like providing an alternate route from the SW Commuter Path to Monroe adjacent to Glenway or on the long hoped-for connection from Wingra Park to Edgewood Drive. While both of these would be welcome additions to our bike network, neither address the needs of people who do or who would bike on Monroe if adequate facilities were provided. Significant time was also spent discussing improved wayfinding signage from the SW Path to Monroe and the possibility of including more bike parking on the side streets off of Monroe. These are also good ideas, but neither fundamentally improves access to Monroe Street for people on bikes.

Mark your calendars now for Thursday, September 29th. This will be the next big public meeting on the topic at the Monroe Street Reconstruction: Cross Section Workshop.

Looking Forward

The Bicycle Facility Maintenance Subcommittee meeting for this coming week has been cancelled and will pick up on reviewing a new maintenance policy (with particular focus on winter maintenance) in September. Madison Bikes board of directors will meet on Tuesday to work on finalizing plans for our Kick-off Party on September, 19th at the High Noon Saloon. Save the date!

For anyone that lives on or frequents the eastside, consider stopping in at the Jackson Street Plaza on Saturday, 8/20 to contribute your placemaking ideas to an important node on the Capital City Path. Conflict between people on foot and people on bikes was noted as the biggest opportunity for improvement around the plaza.