On Monday from 6:00-7:30 PM, Madison Bikes is hosting a virtual community meeting to discuss gaps in Madison’s low-stress bike network and how to fix them. Fixing these gaps is an essential step towards making Madison a place where anyone living in any area of the city can safely get around without a vehicle. After a deadly year for Madison’s pedestrians and bicyclists, momentum is building at the city level to close these gaps. Community participation is essential to keeping that momentum going. Zoom link here, Facebook event page here.
Transportation Commission updates:
TC recommended Option 1 for Atwood Ave. reconstruction around Olbrich park, with Option 3 as the preferred alternative! This is great news, as these two options are the safest for bike riders of all ages and abilities – kudos to everyone who responded to our messages to vote! Parks will announce their final decision soon. For now, the survey is still open if you haven’t yet voted.
Madison BCycle presented expansion plans, including utilizing federal Transportation Alternatives funding to reach underserved areas of the city. A large expansion of their e-bike share stations is planned for this year.
Buffered bike lanes were approved on Tokay Blvd. between Whitney Way and Segoe Rd.
Ride the Drive cancelled for 2022. We are sad to hear that parks superintendent Eric Knapp notified the city last week that Ride the Drive is being cancelled for 2022, as Parks prioritizes other city projects due to staffing shortages. Blog post here. We will keep you updated with other kickoff event plans for Bike Week!
Bike jobs! DreamBikes is hiring a bicycle technician. DreamBikes is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that works with local youth organizations to provide hands-on paid job training in the bike industry to Madison-area teens. Job posting here.
Madison’s Transportation Commission meets this Wednesday at 5:00 PM, and there’s a fair number of agenda items related to Madison Bike’s goals. The biggest of these agenda items relates to the Atwood Avenue project, with Madison Bikes working towards getting an all-ages and abilities facility for the entire length of the project, and ensuring the lake loop route is accessible all year round.
The Atwood Avenue project has two components that are under discussion this Wednesday. The first is how to route a potential path through/around the park in order to fill a substantial gap in the Lake Monona Loop trail, including enabling year-round access to the route. The second is a proposed modification to the plan on the east end to continue the side path to Cottage Grove Rd, creating an all ages and abilities connection along the entire eastern portion of this project. With respect to the first component, there are now four options being considered for the routing from Lakeland to the path along Atwood. Madison Bikes has endorsed Option 1 and Option 3 for this segment. These options both create a safe, all ages and abilities access to and through the park, and provide a more direct, year-round route for commuters. Option 2 would continue the route largely as it exists today, which means it would not be able to be plowed for year-round use, as the park is a popular sledding hill, and the path would be left snow-covered to act as a run-out for the sledding hill. Option 4 would completely bypass the park, and require people following the lake loop to climb up a larger hill than they are currently being asked to, which makes it a worse option when considering all ages and abilities connections.
With respect to the second component of the Atwood Avenue project, there is a proposal to modify the east end of the project to continue an off-street path to the project’s eastern terminus at Cottage Grove Rd. The existing proposal has the off-street facilities ending at Dennett Drive, with buffered bike lanes continuing to the project’s eastern terminus. While buffered bike lanes are a major improvement over the current nothing that exists today, they are not an all ages and abilities facility. This proposed change would create an all ages and abilities facility to Cottage Grove Rd, which is more in line with Madison Bike’s mission to promote a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place year round.
Can you believe that just seven days ago we were digging out from a wet messy snow storm? What a difference a week makes!
In addition to great bicycling weather, warmer temperatures mean that the street sweepers can get their brush on at night. Spring street sweeping keeps a lot of sand and salt out of the storm sewers (and the lakes!) and of course makes for safer and cleaner bicycling. According to the street sweeping site, shared-use paths are cleared using lighter equipment several times per year, so expect to see those vehicles out as well and if there are any major problem areas, use Report A Problem to let the city know.
On Monday at 5pm, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board will meet (agenda) and it looks like you’ll be able to enjoy a presentation about the Transportation Improvement Program, which discusses a whole cargo bike-full of bicycling improvements from 2023-2028.
On Tuesday, BCycle season officially kicks off. This year you’ll find a bunch of new stations (eight announced to be available at launch with more to come) and 75 new bikes in the system. The prices are increasing slightly, but until March 15 you can still lock-in last year’s annual rate and save yourself $15. I’m not sure if that includes tomorrow, March 15, or not, so best do it ASAP using the code BACKTOBCYCLE.
Design option #1 routes closer to the lake than the existing route.
Design option #2 is similar to what exists now but would not be a year round bike route because it crosses the bottom of the sledding hill. Parks would not clear the path in the winter, similar to some parts of the Garner Park and Elver Park path systems.
Design option #3 is similar to #2 except that it routes around the bottom of the sledding hill to allow for snow removal.
Design option #4 (submitted by local neighborhood groups) would take the path completely out of the park, making it a longer route and adding elevation and an additional conflict point at the parking lot entrance.
Expect to hear a lot more about this in weeks and months to come. The work is scheduled to be done in 2025 but the city is trying to move it up to next year.
Last week had a stacked Transportation Commission meeting. Here are a couple of the highlights:
The commission unanimously approved the proposed design for Hammersley Road. The rebuild includes a multi-use path on one side, and it greatly improves the crossing of Whitney Way by turning a turn lane into a center island. The project still needs to go through the Board of Public Works and the Common Council. The district’s Alder, Yanette Figueroa Cole, spoke in favor of the project, despite the vocal opposition from some residents. Consider sending the Alder an email thanking her for the support of the project: firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff presented an option that will turn on-street parking into a buffered bike lanes on Tokay Boulevard between Whitney Way and Segoe. The project will come back to the commission again at a later point, but commissioners supported the overall design.
We received a taste of spring this week and the city street sweepers were out clearing the grit off the roads, but it looks like we have at least one more snow in store. It might be time to start getting your bike tuned-up and cleaned for spring, particularly if you’re a winter rider!
Hammersley Road Reconstruction
The current proposal to include a multi-use path along Hammersly Road will be up for discussion again at the Transportation Commission meeting on Wednesday at 5pm – Item #5 (see previous MB blog post for background). The multi-use path could really use a boost of community support to ensure its included in the final design. Please register to voice your support at the TC, particularly if you live in this area and would love to walk or bike on a low-stress path.
Proposal to Add Buffered Bike Lanes to Tokay Blvd
Good news! The proposal to add buffered bike lanes on Tokay Boulevard from Whitney Way to Segoe Road (Item #7) will also be discussed at the Transportation Commission Wednesday at 5pm. View street geometry PDF.
2021 Madison Transportation Operation Report
This twenty page report is a treasure trove of data about the modes of transportation we use and Madison transportation priorities for next year. The report contains a lot of graphics and easily digestible facts comparing usage trends over the past three years. My brief synopsis is that both car, and unfortunately, bike counts are down compared with pre-pandemic levels. A Greater Madison MPO Tele Work survey indicates this trend is likely due to a greater number of people working from home on a full or part time basis. Of course it’s difficult to predict if this trend will continue.
The report also shows traffic crashes and fatalities in Madison have increased significantly since 2019, matching the national trend. Notably, East Washington Ave alone accounted for one third of all Madison traffic fatalities and all victims were vulnerable users (pedestrians and cyclists)! This is very alarming and is a tragic example of why we urgently need to put more resources into to efforts like Vision Zero.
For a second year in a row the city Parking Division reported a budget deficit which required them to pull $3.3M from reserves. The loss was attributed to loss of revenue and weak demand for parking garage spaces. Unlike the majority of this report, which has a progressive vision supporting all modes of transportation (car, bike, walk, bus, etc..), the parking division is hoping for a “stronger recovery and increase in parking demand…”. This statement makes me ponder how the incentives for the “car” Parking Division (to increase car parking demand) is at odds with the transportation departments overall goals and priorities (Vision Zero, Complete Green Streets, BRT, transportation equity, etc…). Do we really want to “increase parking demand”?
Traffic Engineering Accomplishments
The city has a long list of accomplishments from 2021 and most are focused on improving our transportation infrastructure to support all modes of transportation. It’s a respectable list and shows all the hard work accomplished by the city staff and leadership. I think we are moving in the right direction as a city and the rate of improvement has accelerated since 2019. Lots of work remains, but I’m proud of Madison and happy to call this my home. Thank you!
University Avenue Bike Path Detour Ended
The bike path is completely open [..]. All path closures have been removed. Any detour signs that remain will be removed soon. The detour across University Avenue will be required one more time for the final path restoration. The final restoration will take place this spring after the asphalt plants open up in approximately 2 months. [..] Other work in the area will include replacement of a chain link fence between the RR and the path and landscape restoration.
Eric Hjellen – MMSD Project Engineer
Bike Lanes to be Added Under Troy Drive Railroad Bridge
The new bridge proposed would span the entire right of way, allowing for two vehicle lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road. This is a much-needed improvement to facilitate safe travel for all modes of transportation. Read more…