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Weekly Update

Weekly update: Why so slow?

Alicia Ashman repair warning sign. Photo credit: Harald Kliems

Not a lot on the calendar this week, which is surprising, since it’s summer and all. See the bottom of this blog post to find out how to make sure your event or meeting is included in the Madison Bikes weekly update.

If you use the Alicia Ashman bridge to cross Campus Dr, it’s closed for repair from June 23 – July 9. If you aren’t sure where this is, the north side is just west of the Stock Pavilion, and the south side is the 1700 block of old University Ave. 

Common Council approves buffered bike lanes on Whitney Way

At their Tuesday meeting, the Madison Common Council unanimously approved buffered bike lanes on Whitney Way, together with a slew of safety improvements around the city. Despite the unanimous vote, several alders appeared to be skeptical of project, raising questions about whether there had been sufficient opportunity for public input (there had been three public meetings, in addition to the Transportation Commission meeting). The district’s alder, Arvina Martin, did a great job describing the engagement process and the purpose of the project:

“The accidents that had been happening on Whitney Way last summer — a motorcyclist was actually killed during one of our meetings because he was speeding.-The number of complaints that we get from people who try to cross Whitney Way and have trouble with that because of the speeding. This was a way that Traffic Engineering thought would not only provide better and safer access for more modes of transportation besides single rider vehicles. But this also was going to help with speed control. […] I mean people in this neighborhood — and this is my neighborhood! I live here — it’s referred to as the “Whitney Way Racetrack”. And these are some of the ways we can slow down traffic and make it safer not only for cars but make space for the BRT to take cars off this street, but also to provide space for bikes and bike traffic as well as making it safer for pedestrians that walk down there all the time. You know, we have a lot of people from my neighborhood that walk across on South Hill and walk to Garner Park. It’s a huge park and it gets used quite a bit by neighbors. And a lot of people — there are people who will drive across because they don’t want to cross that street [on foot]. So this is a whole big package of ways to make Whitney Way safer as well as bring it into alignment with Complete Streets and Vision Zero.

When Alder Wehelie asked whether Martin’s constituents supported the project, she responded:

“Like with any project, we get mixed results. There are a lot of people that like it, there are a lot of people that don’t. Not surprisingly, the folks that don’t like it are the ones that either live on Whitney Way or within a block in that section. The further you get out, the more support there is for this project. And I very much understand the concerns of losing parking in front of one’s home. I live next to a school, and there is a no-parking zone in front of my house. So I understand: it can be difficult. But at the same time, being an Alder means taking into consideration not only my constituents and their concerns but the needs and the impact that this decision has city-wide. And due to the support that I got from many other constituents and understanding that those that don’t want it are the ones that unfortunately are directly affected. But I felt in my decision to help move this forward was that this is something the city is going to need as we gain more residents and as we will need more transportation options other than people just taking their cars to work. That’s why I’m supporting this.”

Thanks, Alder Martin, and thanks to everyone in the community who expressed their support for this key piece in our city’s low-stress bike network!

From our Facebook Community: In May, one of our wonderful friends started a Google map to track construction projects that might affect those going out for a ride. The map extends far outside the city of Madison, so it’s really useful if you plan to stretch your legs farther afield. Pea gravel, new asphalt, and unexpected construction projects really can kill your rhythm when you go for a ride, so check out the map and help keep it updated here.  

Also, Wisconsin Public Radio ran a nice piece on how much a bike meant to a local guy when he was a kid and how biking with his daughter now has kept them close. I think we all remember the feeling of a bike as a kid: freedom to explore the world. Hopefully we all still have that feeling now. 

And the big question for the Facebook Community this week seems to be, “Why are the redwing black birds so aggressive recently, and does the color of your helmet make a difference?”

The week ahead

Tuesday

The Women Cycling Club will have their weekly women’s social ride from Black Saddle Bike Shop at 6:00 pm. This is a great ride for those who are just getting into cycling, getting their strength back, or just want a casual/social ride for all ages, body types, and styles of riding. The ride typically goes about 12 miles. They also have a longer, hillier ride leaving at the same time. First Tuesday of the month they do a Taco Tuesday ride that starts in a different location. (I showed up at the wrong place on June 1, but found them at the taco location.) More info and Facebook sign up for more news can be found here

Wednesday

Also Wednesday, the city Transportation Commission will meet at 5:00 pm (virtually.) There aren’t any burning issues on the agenda, but there will be the annual BCycle update to the city as well as updates from the Traffic Calming subcommittee. If you want to tune in or look at the transit items on the agenda — mostly accepting federal grants — you can find all the details here.

Saturday

MB board member Marybeth McGinnis will host an advocacy meet-up. I’ve copied her announcement below.

Madison Bikes will host a biking advocacy meet up Saturday June 26 at 10:30 am – noon at Memorial Terrace (with yours truly facilitating). This is meant to be welcoming to those new to biking advocacy – for the seasoned veterans, you are more than welcome to join us, just please keep in mind that this is a relaxed space where all levels of knowledge are expected. We’re intending to create a space that is as productive as it is focused on community-building. We also already had great ideas for discussion, including tactical urbanism; bike parking in residential areas; safety; bike shares; removing the trick riding ordinance; and more.

Please register in advance (please also feel free to register to mark your interest in the future, even if you can’t make that date). Registration helps me plan facilitation, coffee purchasing, and grabbing tables and chairs more easily. 

Our community meeting at 6 pm on June 28th will be something of a follow up to this event, so plan to hear more about that.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.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.