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Bike News E-Mail Weekly Update

Draft Transit Network Redesign; Hammersley Public Meeting and Winter Bike to Work on the Horizon

Winter riding on streets with juuuust enough ice (Image: Cyclists of Madison)

It’s another quiet week on the Madison cycling news front, but overall it’s been a pretty good stretch to actually get out and ride. The storms last week left a mess in their wake for all road, path and sidewalk users, but temps have warmed enough that the paths and thoroughfares are in pretty good shape.

This Week

On Monday at 5pm the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting virtually — an unusual day of the week for them. The agenda includes a presentation of the Metro Transit Network Redesign Draft Plan. There are several different maps presented, but I’ll include one here as a representative sample.

Metro Transit Network Redesign – Draft Plan (Image: City of Madison)

If this interests you, check out the web site, read through the slides, and maybe listen in on one of these meetings to get a more complete picture.

On Wednesday at 6:30, the Greater Madison MPO Policy Board has their monthly meeting (virtual). Nothing particular important to note on the agenda except for another stab at presenting the Metro Transit Network Redesign Draft Plan along with a BRT update.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison is looking for distribution partners for its spring bike giveaway. The deadline for applications is February 16. In addition they are looking for volunteers to help refurbish their vast stash of bikes. You can come in individually or as part of team and no experience is necessary!

Next Week

You can register for one of the Hammersley Road Resurfacing public meetings scheduled for next Tuesday, February 8 and Wednesday, February 9.

Proposed plan for Hammersley Rd (Image: City of Madison)

In short, the two-year plan removes bicycle lanes and on-street parking and adds a city-maintained multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians. This stretch of the road currently lacks sidewalks, so this is a big improvement for pedestrians. This path will also connect up cleanly to the Southwest Commuter Path at the bridge across the beltline.

Property owners will not be responsible for snow removal and will not pay assessments for the construction of the path, nevertheless I’d expect quite a vocal minority in opposition.

You have until March 2 to respond to the city’s public survey about this project.

Finally, on Friday, February 11, join Madison Bikes and our partners as we celebrate International Winter Bike to/from Work (or anywhere) Day:

International Winter Bike to Work Day is a real thing…and we’re loving it! Join us on your way home from work or school and enjoy a warm beverage, a hot fire and some friendly winter biking conversations. Coffee donated by Lodgic Everyday Community.

In addition to various specials all day around the city, join us between 3pm and 5pm along the Capital City Trail — near the timekeeper between the convention center and the causeway. We’ll have treats, a hot fire, warm beverages and a lot of the enthusiasm!

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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Weekly Update

Winter Bike Event and Lip Balm…

This is a perfect time of year to catch beautiful sunrises over lake Monona along the cap city path at approximately 7:20am. The crisp cold air and clear blue sky’s have made an impressive display, the image above, just about every day last week. This week I am looking forward to a muted ride through the snow dusted landscape. These are joyful surprises which make winter biking worth all the effort.

Lip Balm Trick

Do you struggle to keep your nose and cheeks warm on cold blustery days when the windchill drops below zero? Scarves and neck gators work for a short while but quickly become frosted up. My recommended solution is to apply a thin layer of chap stick or lip balm to your nose and cheeks to keep them warm. Counterintuitively, the lip balm does not insulate your skin from the cold instead this trick works by creating a wind barrier. The lip balm wind barrier decreases the windchill factor and thus helps keep your face warmer. This is particularly important for cyclist because biking effectively increases the windchill.

Friday Feb. 11th – International Winter Bike Day

Join us in a few week for the International Winter Bike to Work Day! This year Madison Bikes is partnering with local businesses to encourage people to brave the cold by offering discounts to winter cyclists. In addition, we will also have some refreshments and fire pit setup at the John Nolan Dr. bike path counter starting at 3pm. Check the link below for details and to follow the event on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1NSqx5Wah

WisDOT Non-Driving Population Map

This is an interesting tool created by the Wisconsin DOT showing the estimated number of non-driving people throughout the state. I was surprised to see many estimates greater than 40% in both rural and urban areas. WiscDOT estimates Madison has between 30-40% non-driving population. This provides some food for thought and will hopefully be used to more equitably allocate public space and tax dollars for future transportation projects. https://wisdot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5a275fcc732f48be98cb9913102ae07f

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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Weekly Update

Slow season for biking

Winter cyclist in Crazylegs Plaza

With the chilly temperatures and no big city meetings this week, it’s a little slow for the Monday update. So most of this is a recap or the past week and some posts from our Facebook discussions.

The past week in review:

Several projects came before the Transportation Commission last week. We received a briefing on the results of surveys and meetings with community groups about a future reconstruction of John Nolen Dr from Olin Ave to North Shore Dr (the city portion of that road.) There was strong support for improvements to the path, with near unanimous support for more space for non-motorized traffic and separation of pedestrians and bicyclists. Improved crossings, a slower speed limit, and more green space were also widely supported.

We also heard about plans for reconstruction of Lake Mendota Dr within the city and Hammersly Rd both east and west of Whitney Way. And on a bright note, there was strong support for improved walking and bicycling infrastructure, even if that means loss of parking or adding curb and gutter where there are none now. 

As a long-time watcher of and participant in city meetings, this is a real change from past years, when any discussion of losing parking on a residential street would rile neighbors, even in areas where houses have ample driveway parking. In past years adding curb and gutter also seemed controversial because residents claimed it would, “change the character of the neighborhood.” In truth, many worry about the assessments that come with adding sidewalks and the responsibility of shoveling them in the winter. 

However, the project on Hammersley Rd will feature an 8-10 foot wide multi-use path on the north side of the road, but no sidewalk on the south side. The multi-use path was warmly supported by residents who said they needed a place to walk and bike, especially with children. The fact that the city will pay to construct and maintain the path surely helped ease concerns about cost and maintenance. 

The week ahead

There aren’t any city meetings affecting bicycle interests this week, so no need to prepare comments for anything. And we have nothing on the Madison Bikes calendar for the week as well. But this might be a good time to remind people that any events you’d like to see on the calendar can be sent to Info@MadisonBikes.org with the subject like “Madison Bikes Calendar.” 

What we’re talking about

A few items from other groups and what we are talking about on our Madison Bikes Community Facebook group:

Bicycle mechanics are sick of seeing bikes come in that are made to fail and cannot be repaired. We’ve all seen sad “bicycle shaped objects” that look like transportation, fun, or recreation, but are just cheap junk that will break a child’s (or novice adult’s) heart and steal their money. Vice and Bicycle Retailer, as well as other outlets ran stories. 

Wisconsin Bike Fed sends a reminder that you can be included in their annual Ride Guide if you get your submission in by February 7. Rides, fundraisers, club events, races, classes, and other events are listed for free. Advocacy groups, businesses, clubs, and other organizations can also request a listing.

On Facebook community members engaged in a debate about, “What’s up with the flashing red light that means it’s “safe” for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross Highland on the Campus Dr Path?” (And is it actually safe to cross when that light is flashing?)

And a national economic media site suggests Baraboo for a letter writer who asks, “Can you suggest some walkable small towns (3,000-10,000 population) that are county seats and/or college towns, politically liberal, and have easy access to rivers and bike trails?” 

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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Weekly Update

New paths at TC; bike swap

Have you been riding outdoors lately? I admit, the cold has made me hide inside for several days in a row. But prompted by someone’s question about trail conditions on our Facebook group, I decided to do a Capital City Trail loop on Sunday. Was it cold? Yes. Was it enjoyable? Also yes! There’s just something to riding on a crisp, sunny winter day.

Be prepared for icy patches on the trails

The Transportation Commission meets on Wednesday and has several bike projects on the agenda. Let’s go through them one by one.

Odana Road Cycletrack

Last year, we saw Odana Road west of Midvale getting a mix of buffered and unbuffered bike lanes. East of Midvale, Odana already has bike lanes, but now they might see a big upgrade along the golf course: The proposal calls for a two-way cycletrack, separated from the general travel lane by delineators, on the side of the golf course and a buffered bike lane on the other side of the street. Because Odana Road is so wide on this stretch, this does not even require the removal of car parking.

Odana Road proposal with cycletrack on the south and buffered bike lane on the north side

Hammersley Road

Hammersley Road is an important east-west connection, which currently lacks sidewalks. East of Whitney Way the street has painted bike lanes; west of Whitney Way there is no bike infrastructure at all. Over the next two years, Hammersley will be reconstructed between the SW Path crossing and Brookwood Road. The designs presented to the Transportation Commission include several options, one of which would include an 8-10-foot-wide shared use path on one side:

Design option for Hammersley west of Whitney Way

Alternative options would install sidewalks on both street and not include bike infrastructure.

Lake Mendota Drive

Lake Mendota Drive is a scenic, low traffic route along the shore. But if you have ridden there recently, you probably needed to focus on the bumps and potholes on the road rather than enjoying the scenery. In addition to the bad road surface, the street also lacks sidewalks. The city plans to rebuild the street over the next few years, starting with the stretch farthest to the west in 2022. No specific design is proposed yet, but some ideas include traffic calming features and installation of a sidewalk on at least one side of the street.

If you want to provide input on any of these projects, you can email your comments to TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com or sign up to speak at the meeting here: https://www.cityofmadison.com/MeetingRegistration

Brazen Dropouts Bike Swap

The bike corral a the Brazen Dropouts swap offers all types of bikes

On Saturday, Brazen Dropouts are hosting their annual bike swap at the Alliant Center. The swap is a great opportunity to buy used bike parts and accessories as well as complete bikes. General admission is $5; $10 for early birds, and free after noon.

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.