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Bike News

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bike News

Action Alert: Winnebago Street at the Common Council

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We’ve written about the Winnebago Street reconstruction several times. But now it’s decision time: The Common Council will decide the future of the street at their meeting next Tuesday (5/1). Without a strong showing of support from the public, the Council will most likely go with Option 1. Alder Rummel supports Option 1, as does the Board of Public Works. Some of the neighbors affected by the conversion of on-street parking into space for trees and bikes will likely speak at the meeting, supporting option 1.

So please voice your support for Option 2 by speaking at the meeting or writing to your district’s Alder.

As a reminder, these are some of the arguments in favor of Option 2:

  • 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

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Rendering of Option 2 (Image: City of Madison Engineering)

Grant wrote a comprehensive overview of the project and its implications for people walking and biking on Winnebago here. The Isthmus also covered the debate in a recent article.

Some quick tips for writing an effective comment:

  • Primarily address your district’s alder, but also include allalders@cityofmadison.com as a recipient
  • Start the letter by saying why you care about this issue. Do you live in the neighborhood? Do you frequent businesses on Winnebago? Does your kid go to East High? Does your commute take you in Winnebago (or would it, if conditions were better)? Do you support the city’s sustainability goals? Do you like big trees on all Madison streets? Have you had a good/bad experience riding or walking on Winnebago? Etc.
  • Short letters are fine, as are long ones
  • Make it clear that you support Option 2
  • Ideally send your letter by Monday evening

Feel free to share your comments in the comment section below or on Facebook so that others can see them as well.

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In The News

Rubber meets the Rubber meets the road: Madison’s ongoing fight between cars and bikes hits Winnebago Street

Isthmus

Dylan Brogan reports on the reconstruction of Winnebago and whether car parking or safer bike facilities and street trees should be prioritized

Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: No more snow!

Hard to believe that this was less than a week ago (Photo: Gordon Sussman)

On Sunday, the Tour de la Familia Latina/Tour of the Latin Family, had a great ride, with more than 50 folks riding bikes in Madison while biking up trash they found in recognition of Earth Day.

This week, after what felt like fourth winter, it seems that spring is finally here. If it felt warm on Sunday, it was – we finally broke 60 degrees and lots of folks were out on bikes taking advantage. Weather should be in the 50’s and 60’s so we should see lots more folks getting out and enjoying riding.

Awesome weather aside, there are a few meetings, including one very important meeting of the Joint Pedestrian Bicycle Motor-Vehicle Commission and Long Range Transportation Planning Commission on Tuesday. The planned diverter at Blair and E. Mifflin is on the agenda for approval at this meeting. There are also a slew of fun events on Saturday celebrating biking through bike demos, socializing with bikes and beer, and music with a bicycle themed performance of UW Madison Madrigal Singers and Chorale.

On Monday, April 23 Bike Fitchburg holds its monthly meeting at Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd, Fitchburg, WI 53711, USA, 6:30pm –⁠ 8:30pm. Anyone with input on improving cycling in Fitchburg should attend.

On Tuesday, April 24 A Joint Meeting of Pedestrian Bicycle Motor-Vehicle Commission and Long Range Transportation Plan Commission will decide on making the diverter at Blair St and East Mifflin permanent. This diverter is the first real change to the design of the E. Mifflin Bike Boulevard and will improve the safety of the roadway for all users. As Jonny Hunter, member of the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s traffic committee, noted, “[Developer] TWall has been putting up significant opposition to this and has hired a lobbyist to fight the diversion.” It will be key to have folks show up in support of the traffic calming project. Also on the agenda: The consultants for the John Nolen/Blair project are presenting their final report.

The meeting begins at 5:00 pm and is in the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Room 201, Madison, WI 53703. The full agenda is available here.

After having to reschedule because of the snow, on Wednesday, April 25 the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee meets from 6pm–⁠8pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200.

On the weekend, you have several options for fun bike events. On Saturday, April 28 you can test ride mountain bikes at Quarry Ridge. For more information check out the event’s Facebook page here.

From 11:00am to 3pm check out Bike Day at Working Draft Beer Company at 1129 E Wilson St, as it celebrates bikes, beers, and better weather! Neff Cycle Service will be hanging out in the parking lot from 11am-3pm offering FREE bicycle safety checks and helping tune up bikes for Spring. Working Draft will have a full lineup of beers. I mean all the beers (hoppy, malty, lagers, ales, GF – you name it). Come get beered, socialize, and get the bike ready for the season! More info here and here.

At 7:00pm join the UW Madison Madrigal Singers, Chorale & Jazz Quintet for the concert: “Free Wheeling: A Tribute to the Bicycle” The performance is at Mills Concert Hall, 455 N. Park St. The UW Madrigal Singers and Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Gladstone, will join forces to present “Free Wheeling: A Tribute to the Bicycle”, Saturday April 28 at 7pm in Mills Concert Hall. The concert opens with no less than five world premieres, written specifically for this concert. There are two works from John Stevens, veteran composer and UW-Madison emeritus professor. “Toasting Song” is a rollicking number about the pleasures of both cycling and wine. “A Bicycler’s Song” takes a poem in praise of bicycles and cycling. Free and open to the public. Event Description here.

Categories
Bike News

Winter is not quite over yet. What’s happening the week of April 16

Photo courtesy of Matt DeBlass

Photo courtesy of Matt DeBlass

Just when the less hardy bicyclists were thinking they could finally ride in comfort, Sprinter (as my friend in Minnesota calls the endless combination of spring and winter) hit us with a last, ugly hit of horrible weather. As I write this on Sunday night, the main roads are wet and slushy, with questionable riding in the bike lanes or outer edges. Local streets were never plowed, so they are just piles of semi-frozen mess. Yuck. (I haven’t checked any of the bike paths, so maybe someone can post the conditions as they come in on Monday morning.)

Last week, when things were looking better, Matt DeBlass from Revolution Cycles took the above photo of the path being swept behind their shop.

Besides a short burst of pleasant weather to give us hope, there was one big meeting last week. A public meeting was held to discuss how Atwood Ave from Fair Oaks to Cottage Grove Road will be reconstructed. There’s a big gap in the bicycle network there, if you don’t want to detour over to the Cap City Trail. We mentioned this as an upcoming meeting last week. We’ll try to get an update out on how the discussion went.

Coming up this week

The Winnebago rebuild project that we’ve been talking about will be before the Board of Public Works on Wednesday (see time and location below). A group supporting canopy trees in Madison has sent out an alert for this meeting. Option #2 would allow more space for trees as well as more space for bikes.

Also this week:

Monday is the Madison Bikes board meeting at 6:00 pm at the Central Library. As with all Madison Bikes committees, the board meetings are open to everyone. So if you want to know more about us or see how we work, feel free to drop by.

Wednesday is the Board of Public Works, 5:30 pm in Room 108 of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Blvd. All city files on the project can be found here. They will be considering options for rebuilding Winnebago. The BPW is the “lead” committee for this item, meaning they will be making a recommendation to the Council. How the BPW votes would be the default option if the Council decides not to discuss it further. (This is called being on the consent agenda, because the Council only discusses a handful of items at each meeting. All the other recommendations by cit committees are accepted and passed by the Council in one big vote. That’s why city committee meetings and their recommendations are VERY important.

If you read this far, you’ve now had a lesson on how things work at the city.

Also Wednesday is the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee, meeting at 6:00 pm at Bendy Works, 106 E Doty St, 2nd floor. All are welcome.

Saturday is the next Tour de la Familia Latina/Tour of the Latin Family, a casual and friendly ride at the pace where kids and inexperienced bicyclists can enjoy the day and the sights of Madison. All are welcome. Ride leaves from Olin Park at 1:00 pm. They’ve been riding all winter!

That’s about it for this week on the Madison Bikes calendar. If you have an event you would like included, send it our way.

In Case You Missed It

There are always great contributions, opinions, comments, and updates from our members and on the Madison Bikes Facebook group, so if you aren’t checking that out, here’s what you might have missed:

Kierstin Kloeckner urges people to write to Capital Brewery and the Middleton City Council in support of extending bike lanes on High Point Rd from Greenway to Terrace Ave (those are the two local roads that go under the Betline

News comes that the Capital City Trail south of the Beltline — through the E-way — will get the first renovations since it opened in 2001. Look how long bike trails last! But some parts of the Cap City Trail are getting sort of rough, so despite the detours we’ll have to endure, this is a good thing.

And a great article about how a Northern Virginia parking garage is used as a bike park after hours. Glad someone is using at empty structure at night!

Plus discussions about Atwood, the best bike racks for apartments, and lots of other fun and info.

Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: Atwood Ave, Milwaukee St, Terrace Town

Last week

The Wisconsin Bike Fed is changing its organizational structure to become more effective in their advocacy. Last Wednesday, the Bike Fed’s executive director Dave Schlabowske met with Dane County bike advocates and presented his plans and ideas. Stay tuned for further announcement online or at the Wisconsin Bike Summit.

Bombay Bicycle Club had their annual spring membership meeting on Sunday, and their 2018 ride calendar will be available shortly. We’ll work with them to also get those rides on our Community Bike Calendar.

This week

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Current plans for Atwood Ave reconstruction

The big advocacy event this week is a public involvement meeting on Atwood Avenue. The street is going to be reconstructed between Fair Oaks and Cottage Grove Road, and one goal of the project is to improve conditions for people walking on biking in the corridor. Right now, Atwood forms a barrier between the residential areas and the park and lakefront. Crossing the road is difficult, and vehicle speeds are high. Bike access is limited to a narrow sidewalk shared with people on foot. The city has proposed a number of improvements that would address some of these issues. But some important questions remain — for example, do we really need two lanes in both directions on Atwood? Will the new road design lead to slower vehicle speeds and allow safe
crossing? Why does the city want to allocate more space for car parking? So please attend the meeting and help the city get this
project right. Monday, 6:30-8 pm at Olbrich Botanical Garden. You can also send questions and comments to the project staff:
cpetykowski@cityofmadison.com and bwilkinson@msa-ps.com

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Current state of Atwood (Image: Google Maps)

Sun Prairie Moves, the local bike advocacy group in Sun Prairie, also meets on Wednesday. On the agenda: Updates on planned events, on a planned network of off-street paths, and on a new official bike map in Sun Prairie. Wednesday, 6:30pm at Colonial Club Sun Prairie.

An area that also could use improvements for those who don’t get around by car is the Milwaukee Street Special Area. The planning efforts for the area are still in the early stages. Learn more at the first open house at Whitehorse Middle School on Thursday, 6:30-8pm.

On Saturday, you can again join the folks at Cafe Domestique for their rain-or-shine Spring Rides. Meet at Cafe Domestique at 8:30am. A more mellow ride option starts at noon at Freewheel Community Bike Shop: This kid- and family-friendly ride will go to Elver Park and include a potluck picnic. And if you’d rather stay inside on Saturday, consider attending Terrace Town at Monona Terrace: Dane County elementary school kids have build a small-scale city with a focus on sustainability out of recycled materials, and now they’re eager to present their work to the public. 10-4 at Monona Terrace.

And on Sunday, bike out to Warner Park for the Annual Bird and Nature Festival. Or finally get that tax return done…

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 info@madisonbikes.org.

Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: Winnebago, Spring Things

Last Week

On Tuesday, Jim Wolfe from Engineering presented two options under consideration for this summer’s Winnebago Street reconstruction to the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission. If you haven’t been following along, you can get more background on the project on the city’sproject page or by reading this Madison Bikes article from February. For those that couldn’t be there in person or catch the live stream, you can watch a recording of the discussion here thanks to City Channel.

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Option 2 for the Winnebago Street reconstruction

Public comment at the meeting was split between those that worried about the impact of lost parking on adjacent residents and businesses (supporting Option #1) and those that supported Option #2 for its positive impact on our urban canopy and the improved bike access for people of all ages and abilities. Commission members received 27 emails in support of Option #2 and 0 emails in support of Option #1 in advance of the meeting.

After close to an hour and a half of comment and discussion, the commission voted 5-1 in favor of Option #2. The project is expected to be in front of the Board of Public Works on April 18th and a final decision will be made by the Common Council on May 1st. Watch for additional action alerts for both of these meetings and please consider adding your voice to this important discussion.

This Week

Tuesday: Remember to ride your bike to your polling place and vote in the spring elections! The Madison Bikes Communications Committee will also meet up at the Memorial Union at 6pm. Check out the About Us section of our webpage for more info on any of the Madison Bikes Committees.

Thursday: The Wisconsin Film Festival kicks off on Thursday and runs through April 12th. Two movies that feature biking this year include Makala and Not Without Us. You can read a brief summary and watch the trailers after the fold. Just remember to save yourself the headache of car parking and ride your bike!

Saturday: Cafe Domestique Spring Rides continues on Saturday with this rain or shine series. Coffee at 8:30 and roll out at 9:00a. And if you’d rather ride inside, come to the season finale of the Capital Goldsprint Series at Octopi Brewing at 7pm.

Sunday: And on Sunday, Bombay Bicycle Club hosts its annual Spring Member Meeting. RSVP required by Monday, April 2nd.


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 info@madisonbikes.org.