Spring is in full swing with trees budding and flowers blooming. To help emerge from the winter season, Madison Bikes is hosting a Spring Bike Wash and Safety Check. This event will take place Saturday, April 24, from 1 PM to 5 PM at Clark Ct, near Brittingham Park. Volunteers from Madison Bikes, Down With Bikes, Dream Bikes, BikEquity, and Wheels for Winners will be on site to assist with safety checks. Cleaning supplies, tools, and lube will also be available for use. Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/785154002417389/
Also this week, the Madison Vision Zero Initiative is bringing a presentation on the 20 is Plenty campaign to two city committees: the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB), and the Board of Public Works (BPW). 20 is Plenty is a campaign to reduce the default speed limit on city streets from 25 mph to 20 mph. Injuries that result from a crash grow exponentially more severe with speed, so lowering speed limits should help save lives. The 20 is Plenty slides can be seen here. TPPB meets Monday at 5:00 PM, and BPW meets Wednesday at 4:30 PM. Both meetings are taking place virtually.
This Monday’s TPPB meeting also has a presentation on Complete Green Streets. Topics for this presentation include pre-design engagement and gap analysis approach. Pre-design engagement in projects is about reaching out to communities where a project is proposed to get a sense of what that community wants. The gap analysis approach is how to approach gaps in the low stress pedestrian and bicycle network.
High school may be a distant memory for many of us, but I want to bring your attention to an important high school and bike topic which I think is receiving insufficient attention. You are likely aware that Madison residents recently approved a $317M referendum to invest in MMSD school facilities, with most of the money earmarked for the four major district high schools. MMSD has drawn up project concepts and is in the process of turning these into firm requirements to send out for bid. You can view the project proposals and schematics here. Disappointingly, none of the MMSD project project call out any specific improvements to pedestrian or bike facilities.
Many bike facilities at MMSD schools are over crowded, in poor condition, and poorly designed (see image of west high above). This is unacceptable, we need to invest in enhanced bike, bus and walk infrastructure to make it safe, convenient and inexpensive for students to get to school! Relying on car transportation unfairly places the cost of transportation on families which can be a significant percentage of income for the underprivileged. At a minimum facilities should include functional, well lighted and covered bike parking, bus shelters and well lit walking paths around the school property, so kids feel safe walking home, unlocking their bike or waiting for a bus after dark.
Transportation Commission meets at 5pm this week and can register for the meeting here. Agenda items include a few items of interest, the city staff is proposing to revert pedestrian/bike crossing signals back to pre-COVID timing phases (view list of intersections, agenda item #8). In its current form, this change means pedestrians and bikes will once again be required to press walk buttons to receive a signal to cross. I personally, have become accustomed to the automatic pedestrian phases and would like to see many of them stay. You should send the TC an email to advocate for an intersection in your neighborhood.
The second item of note on the TC agenda is #6 after many public input meetings and discussion the city is proposing the following changes on Whitney Way. This is a hard earned win for pedestrian/bike friendly infrastructure design and it would be great if you could show your support by attending the TC meeting or sending a quick email of support to the TC.
Adding a buffered bike lane from Old Middleton Rd to Tokay Blvd
This will require the removal of all the on street parking from Sheboygan to South Hill Dr
Pedestrian improvements including:
Old Middleton Rd – Adding high visibility crosswalks
Langlois St – Adding a pedestrian curb ramp and install a high visibility crosswalk
Door Dr – Adding new crosswalks
South Hill Dr – Adding a rapid flash beacon crossing on the south side of the intersection and add a high visibility crosswalk
If you do everything in this post, it might end being a very busy week in Madison for you! I think we have a nice blend of virtual and in-person activities to enjoy. While you’re out, enjoy that novel feeling of wind on your bare limbs. While you’re in, tend to that first, glorious sunburn of the year. In fact, you can share those #bikeshortburn photos over on our Facebook community and the “winner” with the “best” lines gets a bit under 1/4 of a bottle of last year’s Coppertone knock-off SPF 70, courtesy of me, redeemable at our bike wash event later this month. Please don’t try to win this competition though — really this is a just a friendly reminder that it’s legit sunscreen season for a lot of people out there.
On Wednesday at 6:30pm, the Greater Madison MPO Policy Board will meet virtually and discuss a wide variety of items including a bit about the University Avenue reconstruction, changes to their project scoring metrics and new board member nominations. For registration to watch the online stream or other access, check the linked agenda.
On Thursday at 5:00pm, join our friend Pepe Barros (City of Madison’s Pedestrian Bicycle Outreach Coordinator) for a virtual event hosted by Dreambank titled “THINK & EXPLORE: Smart Cities and the Biking Economy”. Registration is required!
Also on Saturday, between 12pm and 4pm, Free Bikes for Kidz is looking for some volunteer muscle to help relocate some bikes between two east and north-side sites. If you’ve kept up with your strength-training regime all winter, this is your chance to put it to good use! U-Haul trailer will be provided but it may take a dozen or so bikes to pull it. Check the event link for more information and a signup form for all of the ongoing FB4K opportunities.
From the Bike Madison newsletter on Friday, we learned that Ride the Drive 2021 will be happening on Sunday, June 6 with a few significant changes to the format due to COVID-19. Expect to hear a lot more from the City of Madison and us on this classic event!