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Weekly Update

Coping in the wake of our deadly streets

Bike on a porch with front wheel removed. A hand in the foreground holds a wheel in front of the bike.
No camping for me, but I did complete a little bike project. It’s been nice to have the porch space to do projects like this during this great summer weather.

I planned to go bike camping this past Friday. Between the rain this summer and a big move to a new neighborhood, I haven’t had the chance to load the bike with gear. My plans were delayed again, this time by a semi-impromptu meeting with a mix of folks discussing how we can respond to the unacceptable deaths on our streets. These deaths aren’t inevitable tragedies, and the City’s commitment to Vision Zero – no deaths or serious injuries on our streets by 2030 – cannot just be a heartwarming resolution. It is unacceptable to approach Vision Zero and safe streets with an unstated asterisk: Vision Zero, unless we need a high vehicle throughput; Vision Zero, unless we know this neighborhood won’t put up a fight at Council and committee meetings; Vision Zero, unless, unless, unless. Our lives, and the lives of those wonderful people who make up our city, are more important than street parking or a few seconds shaved off of commutes. We need real Vision Zero, we need it now, and we cannot tolerate anything less. 

If you find yourself frustrated, sad, angry, and bitter at a city that likes to wield its “Platinum Biking Community” designation like a shield, I can offer two balms. Most important is coming together with other people, outside of social media. There is no greater relief to frustration than organizing with others and resolving to wield whatever collective power you have to make our streets safer. See my note about Tuesday below, and let us know what organizing and advocacy work you’re already doing.

The second balm? Throwing your tent on your bike and pitching it near or far. Hopefully we’ll run into each other on the trail soon.

Monday

At 5 pm, there will be a joint meeting of the Transportation Policy and Planning Board and the Transportation Commission. This is a pretty packed agenda, with a number of items that impact our transportation system. First is a preview of the Metro Transit Redesign. For those who haven’t been following The Discourse, the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit has led to some continuing discussions about the best possible route for the new system, with current focus on the downtown. Due to downtown’s geometry, there are some tradeoffs for locating BRT stops on or off State Street. Receiving less attention is the city’s redesign of the entire bus network. The network is outdated for a number of reasons including limited storage in the bus barn and a transfer point system that leads to enormously inequitable commute times for people of color and lower-income residents. I recommend reading through the presentation here. Your voice does matter

The agenda also includes a substantial report from the Traffic Calming Subcommittee. Additionally, Madison’s larger project of reshaping the size and substance of its many city committees is coming into play with our very own TPPB and TC, which are proposed to combine into a single body, called the Transportation Commission. Finally, there will be a discussion on the budget. If you want to watch the meeting while you cook dinner, the link is here. Sounds like a good one if you’re interested in buses and how decisions around transportation are made in our fair city. 

Tuesday 

Several of us from different organizations met on Friday to discuss our response to the deaths on East Washington Avenue and the need for safe streets in our city. If you want to be involved in planning a response, we will meet Tuesday at 5. Send an email to marybeth@madisonbikes.org to receive the Zoom link. If you want to participate, keep watching this newsletter and our Facebook – we will have more information once we have the details hammered out.

Wednesday

Also related to buses: on Wednesday, Metro staff will have a virtual public meeting to introduce and discuss how to collect fares on buses.

Where are our Slow Streets?

The City decided to implement several of the same Slow Streets as last summer. We’re hearing reports that almost none of them have been implemented other than Atwood, despite plans for barriers to be up for Mifflin, West Shore/South Shore, and Sherman by the end of June. Report back to the Madison Bikes Facebook page if you see barriers implemented, and contact your alder about this.

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.

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