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Weekly Update

Another Death on East Washington, Odana Restriping

New Odana bike lanes paired with reduced car travel lanes. Photo: Harald Kliems

Another week, another death on East Washington Ave, one of the busiest roads in Madison. This time, a driver struck and killed a 57-year old cyclist who was crossing in a crosswalk at Pawling St. Needless to say, there’s a lot of sadness, frustration, and anger at the escalating situation on E. Washington Ave.

In fact, while recently it’s been in the spotlight, E. Washington Ave has been a problem for decades. For example, two of Madison’s four high schools are next to major arteries (E. Washington Ave and Mineral Point Rd) and both schools have lost students to these roads and drivers over the past thirty years. The city’s Vision Zero initiative is intended to reduce these sorts of deaths, but exactly how effective it will be or whether recent changes (such as reduced speed limits) will make any meaningful difference remains to be seen. Both of these roads are also part of the proposed BRT route, so there is at least some medium-term chance of changes to traffic patterns along these corridors driven by that project. Expect to see more coverage of this issue from us as we process these tragedies and try to figure out what we do next.

In brighter news, Odana Rd between Whitney Way and Gammon Rd has been restriped to add a mix of buffered and unbuffered bike lanes, a single travel lane each direction for cars and a center left turn lane.

Eastern segment of Odana Rd showing new bike lane and center left turn lane + new pavement. Photo: Harald Kliems

This change has been long-rumored and is certainly long-overdue, as it reverses an infamous 1980’s era “midnight restripe” where bike lanes were quietly removed overnight (and apparently in direct opposition to the intention of the City Council!), in favor of two travel lanes in each direction. We were first tipped off to the imminent change by Jerry Schippa, who might just have an inside track on these things; he’s a Traffic Engineer for the City of Madison. In addition, these changes are paired with brand new smooooooth pavement extending from Research Park Blvd to Whitney Way.

Four cyclists/two bikes taking advantage of the Smart Toyota parking lot connector to the Beltline bike path. Photo: Harald Kliems

More good news, albeit temporary: the Atwood protected bike lane in front of Olbrich Park is back for the season. Get your (clockwise) Lake Loop on and maybe stop off and enjoy the biergarten.

Not much in the way of calendar updates this week, which is sort of expected as it’s a short holiday week for some.

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.