If you haven’t read Harald’s wrap up of 2020, it’s worth checking out. (what, you don’t read it as soon as it’s published every Monday?) It’s easy to forget how much we’ve done and where we’ve had wins. We couldn’t do it without you, the biking community. Your voices are what give Madison Bikes strength and influence.
And although everyone has said it already, “Whew! I sure hope 2021 is better than 2020.” The only good thing in biking news was that a lot of people who hadn’t been biking discovered the joys of two wheels, and our local bike shops did a bang-up business, often selling out of… everything.
Although you might have to watch out for a few icy patches, the snow and recent hoar frost have made Madison a true winter wonderland. It’s a great time to take your bike out and enjoy the quiet that a snow blanket provides.
Aldermanic elections this spring
Looking ahead to the new year, we will soon be moving into yet another election, although nothing quite as dramatic as the November (and continuing) presidential rugby scrum. I don’t think my heart can take more than one of those every decade.
But Tuesday (Jan 5) is the deadline for candidates for city council to file paperwork to run. If there are more than two candidates in a district, there will be a primary on February 16. Then the final election for aldermanic seats is April 6. All 20 seats are up for election, with many current alders not running again, so this is a good opportunity to ask the candidates (even if there is only one) where they stand on bicycling and other transportation issues. If they seem unsure why these issues are important or what the barriers are to biking in your district, you can be both an advocate and a source of information for them.
Not sure what district you are in? You can look it up here.
And maybe some on this list might think about running in the future. Alder elections are every two years, and many seats go uncontested. We have two board members with experience running and serving, so we can answer a lot of your questions.
Madison Bikes is planning on sending questions to all the candidates, and we’ll publish the answers. But having a personal conversation with your representative probably has much more influence than our handful of questions.
The week ahead
Monday, the Transportation Commission meets, but there isn’t anything significant on the agenda. They will be adopting the recommendations for the locally preferred alternative for the east-west BRT line. They will also be reviewing and approving the Traffic Calming Subcommittee summary report, but it looks like that work will continue, since they are also asking for an extension.
Tuesday, on the Council agenda is a proposal to repeal the mandatory bicycle registration ordinance. Why? It costs more to run the program than it takes in each year; compliance with the current ordinance is low; the current program is not an effective way to return recovered bikes or use staff resources to improve bicycling across the city; and free national online bicycle registration services have made recovery of bicycles across jurisdictions much easier.
Wednesday, the Board of Public Works will approve plans for phase 2 of the Demetral Bike Path. This is the last section needed to complete a link from the Yahara River Path to Commercial Ave. This is just a pro forma vote, but it’s nice to see an important link moving forward. Every little bit helps.
Madison Bikes is here for you, but you can be here for us as well
In the year ahead, there will be many important decisions made that will affect bicycling in the city.
Some are big:
- a complete reconstruction of a road, which provides opportunities to add or improve bicycle facilities;
- decisions about prioritizing one transportation mode over another in a corridor;
- how Bus Rapid Transit will integrate with bicycling or possibly displace current bike facilities on the route;
- removing parking in order to provide buffered or physically protected bike lanes.
Other decisions are small:
- new or better paint to delineate bike facilities;
- a curb cut moved that allows easier transition to a path;
- repaving a bumpy path or filling a bunch of potholes;
- making sure a traffic signal detector picks up bicyclists using a road and not just motor vehicles.
We will do our best to keep you informed of these decisions and how you can have an influence. But if you see an issue in your neighborhood, on your rides, or near where you work or shop, you can both let us know and talk to your city representatives or city staff. Sometimes all it takes is pointing out an issue to get it fixed, or at least get it on the radar to be fixed in the future.
As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.