Here’s hoping most of you were able to get out on the bike and enjoy the warm weather. I ride all winter long, but rarely get out of the city on my winter bike. It’s such a great feeling to get back out to the sights and sounds and smells of the country.
And for those that don’t follow the activity on the Madison Bikes Facebook Group, here’s a collection of some of the top articles recently shared:
The Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee had it’s final meeting last week. Attorney Strange will be making the final revisions and the new ordinance will be introduced at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting and then referred to the current transportation commissions for review and feedback.
The Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission meeting last week was a long one, with debates on design choices for the Demetral connector, approval of protected bike lanes on Bassett Street, and a serious conversation about the upcoming Wilson Street reconstruction and our public input process. Stay tuned for a new public input session on this critical project and plan on attending to advocate for much needed bike accommodations on this critical connector.
On Monday, join Bike Fitchburg for their monthly meeting at the Fitchburg Public Library.
Thursday, there’s a presentation of Dane County’s Bicycle Wayfinding Manual in the morning, another opportunity to provide feedback on the Regional Transportation Plan at the Senior Center, and a public input meeting on Walter Street reconstruction at Whitehorse Middle School.
There’s plenty of opportunity this week to get involved. If you’ve never attended a public meeting before, consider giving it a try this week.
On Monday at 4:00p, the Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee picks up where it left off last week (see below) to try and finalize a recommendation. At 6:00p, join the Madison Bikes Events Committee for a review of this year’s Winter Bike Week and a look ahead at upcoming events. For those that frequent Fitchburg, there’s a public hearing at 7:00p on the Fitchburg Bike and Pedestrian Plan at their Transportation and Transit Commission meeting.
On Tuesday, there are a pair of webinars to check out. At noon, tune in to hear about Integrating explicit and implicit methods in travel behavior research: A study of driver attitudes and bias and then at 1:30p join Madison Bikes and City of Madison Traffic Engineering for a webinar on Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Data. We’ll be holding a public viewing at 30 W Mifflin Street, open to anyone. Later that evening at 7:00p, consider attending a Wilson Street Public Information Meeting. It’s unclear at this point if the city will be proposing any new bike facilities for the 100 block of W. Wilson included in this project. Wilson Street currently is a one-way street with no accommodations for people biking. On the one hand, Alder Verveer’s February 18th blog post suggests that the proposal will include “an off-street, 2-way bike facility on West Wilson Street”. And yet the recently published Ped/Bike/Motor Vehicle Commission agenda includes an attached file showing instead a concept with no bike facilities. A design that accommodates eastbound bike travel on Wilson Street has been on the top of the list for local bike advocates for many years; here’s hoping the attachment for the PBMVC meeting is a mistake and that the proposal will indeed include the 2-way facility described in Alder Verveer’s post.
Current state of W Wilson St (Image: Google Maps)
In addition to the Wilson St. project, Wednesday’s Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission meeting will also include review of several other key projects, including protected bike lanes on Bassett Street, the Demetral Path connector alternatives, and a review of the Judge Doyle Square Bike Center Operator request for proposals, as well as a look at a new draft Safe Accommodation for Pedestrians and Cyclists in and Around Work Zones policy. Consider attending this meeting to offer your input or watch the proceedings online on Madison’s award-winning City Channel.
The biggest update from last week is from the Valentine’s edition of the Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee. The continued discussion around how to best organize and coordinate our transportation planning and implementation has started to gel around a recommendation that will likely include a new Transportation Planning and Policy Division of the theoretical (but leaderless) Department of Transportation. A newly proposed City Transportation Policy and Planning Manager is meant to fill the gaps identified during the conversations around the need for a Director of Transportation and will serve as primary staffer of the two new transportation commissions. This is a softening of earlier enthusiasm around a recommendation to actually hire a Director of Transportation.
On the committee side, there was a lot of discussion around Transit/Metro and how to best support regionalization. This has been a tough nut to crack for the group, but there seemed to be a general consensus around a new plan to move forward with the two new transportation bodies (Transportation Planning Board and Transportation Commission) and to maintain the regional focus within the existing Contracted Services Oversight Committee. This group may get a new name and will be expected to have a joint meeting with the Transportation Planning Board at least annually.
Additional conversation focused on the composition of the Transportation Commission and there was agreement that there should be members who are frequent users of biking, walking and transit as well as a person with a disability. I will be recommending that this be bumped to two of each of those underrepresented modes at this week’s meeting.
Thanks to all the sponsors and all the participants for an amazing Winter Bike Week! Stay tuned for a blog post to share some of the memories and photos and will also announce the winner of the Winter Bike Challenge.
One of many submissions to the #mbwinterchallenge! Thanks, Liz!
In addition to all the fun, there were also a pair of meetings on Monday. First the Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee met to continue their work to propose a major overhaul to the city’s transportation ordinance. At the previous meeting, there was some compelling testimony around the value of hiring a director of transportation for Madison, but apparently some members of the group have started to back off that enthusiasm. At the end of Monday’s meeting, the talk was about still hiring for a new role, but now more along the lines of a coordinator or manager that would be a peer to the Traffic Engineer and Metro Manager with limited direct authority over transportation decisions. There was little conversation around the committee structure at this meeting. The group plans to meet several more times over the next month to finalize a recommendation.
Proposed design for Bassett Street between Gorham/University and Dayton
There was also an unannounced public input meeting on a proposal to add protected bike lanes to a stretch of Bassett Street. In spite of the poor communications, several Madison Bikes members were able to attend and hear the proposal. While it’s encouraging that the city is trying to improve the bike connections between University Avenue and the Capital City Path, it seemed clear to all in attendance that the proposal was not quite ready for prime time. Engineering has shifted their timeline a bit in order to work on refinements. Expect to see something at the February 22nd Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Commission meeting with a public hearing at Board of Public Works on March 8th and again at Common Council on March 21.
The Madison Bikes monthly board meeting is on Monday. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.
On Tuesday, bring your loved one to a special Valentine’s Day edition of the Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee where the conversation will continue around the value of a director of transportation and towards refining the recommendation for our transportation committee structure.
On Thursday, Madison in Motion will meet to consider feedback received from the many city committees over the last two months. This will likely lead to a final draft of the document that will then be presented to the Council.
Madison Bikes board member Chuck at the Frozen Assets race
Winter Bike Week kicked off with the Frozen Asset Fat Bike Race on Friday, followed by Family Music at Cargo Bikes/Domestique and Capital Goldsprint at Motorless Motion on Saturday. And Kids and adults alike had a blast on Sunday at the Fat Bike Sled Pull.