Bike projects in Fitchburg: Paved shoulders on Whalen Road and a bike hub on the Badger State Trail
The power of advocacy: Our friends from Bike Fitchburg had sent out an action alert. The Fitchburg Common Council was deciding on two important bike projects, and the comments that you and others sent in made a difference. Matthew Jones, president of Bike Fitchburg, reports:
HUGE THANK YOUS go out to Alders Aaron Richardson, Tony Hartmann, Tom Clauder, Dorothy Krause, and Anne Scott for voting in favor of these crucial items to be included in the city’s 2018 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
As the clock neared midnight last night, the Fitchburg Common Council took up and voted 5-3 on two bike-related proposals:
#4 approved the proposal of shouldering Whalen Road, a route heavily used by cyclists traveling between Fitchburg and Verona and used as a route for the annual Ironman competition. Under the CIP the city has committed to spend $897,990 for paved shoulders on Whalen from Fish Hatchery Road to Fitchrona Road.
#14 was approved to reconstruct the 1890s depot at “Old Fitchburg” as a facility serving users of Badger State Trail and as the centerpiece of an historical city park. Area planning ($15,000) in 2018 and construction ($300,000) beginning in 2019.
Thank you to everyone who testified in favor of these items and for all the folks who took the time to write a quick note of support—it made all the difference!!!
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi at the opening ceremony (Photo credit: Kevin Hikes)
Just yesterday, the Lower Yahara River Trail opened! A project many years in the making, you can now ride from McFarland to Madison and Fitchburg on a beautiful trail instead of busy roads. Also to note: This is the first project in which the new Dane County bicycle wayfinding guidelines have been implemented. You can see the signs all along the trail. The next phases of the trail will continue it from McFarland to Lake Kegonsa State Park and eventually Stoughton.
Related, Dane County Parks has a survey about their 2018-23 Parks and Open Space Plan. The survey only takes 5 minutes to complete and is great opportunity to voice your support for biking facilities like the Lower Yahara River Trail. (h/t to Joe Schubert)
Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission
There was a good discussion about the planned public market at East Washington Avenue and First Street. With a projected volume of 500,000 visitors a year, it will be crucial to make the market conveniently accessible for people biking and walking. Two key connections will be the Mifflin Bike Boulevard and also First Street, which currently is being planned for reconstruction.
Blair Street and John Nolen Corridor
City Engineering presented the plans that were previously shared at the public input meeting, with a special focus on the intersection at Machinery Row. Getting this intersection finalized is the main priority at this point, as it will be the one where construction will begin soonest. As we have previously reported, there is a lot to like about the plan: Moving the driveway to the Machinery Row parking lot; a widened and better separated space for people walking and biking in from of Machinery Row and the Fauerbach; a diagonal bike crossing at Blount Street; and a better alignment of the Cap City path in front of the Gateway Mall. All these will make the intersection work better for those on foot and bike. Of course, the devil is in the details, as some of the public comments and questions from members of the Commission showed. But hopefully those can be sorted out in the near future.
In contrast, the plans for the rest of the corridor, specifically the intersections of John Nolen with Broom Street and with North Shore Drive, seemed less well developed, lacking significant short term improvements and mostly leaving everything as is.
We will keep you updated.
On Monday, come to the Bicycle Mixer at HotelRED. The hotel, which has supported many bike-related events in the past has partnered with Madison BCycle and Bicycle Benefits Madison to for a party. First drink is free if you bring your helmet, and there will be prizes.
A public meeting about Vilas Park is happening on Tuesday. Two “pedestrian bridges” over Vilas Lagoon are slated for replacement, and it would probably be a good idea to remind the Parks department that these bridges are also used by people on bikes.
Two bridges in Vilas Park (¬© OpenStreetMap)
The Madison Bikes Communications Committee is also meeting on Tuesday for the final push in preparation of our Annual Party and Fundraiser on September 12.
Wednesday will see the Middleton Bike Group meeting (rescheduled from last week).
And on Sunday, join Bombay Bicycle Club for the their Wright Stuff Century, this year run as a limited-support event with ride options from 32 to 125 miles. The longer routes will take you all the way to famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin complex near Spring Green.