Categories
Weekly Update

Community meeting – meet us and maybe run for board

Monday

Probably most important this week is the Madison Bikes monthly Community Meeting, Monday from 6:00-7:00 pm at Brittingham Park shelter. (In case of bad weather, we will move to Union South, so we’d appreciate an RSVP to keep you up to date.) This meeting will give you a chance to meet the current board and decide if you want to run for our board of directors. As an all-volunteer organization, the board does most of the work, although we love our super volunteers that help us out!

You can be one of those people that both runs the organization and helps decide what work we take on. Not sure if you want to be on the board? Want to know more about us and what being on the board means? Not sure if you’d be an asset to us? (Yes, we want you!) Come by to chat. 

Also on Monday Bike Fitchburg has their monthly meeting from 7:00 – 8:30 pm at the Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd. 

Wednesday

Transportation Commission meets at 5:00 pm online. One item that might be of interest is the list of roadway projects that will be discussed in 2023. The biggest one is the rebuilding of John Nolen Drive from North Shore Dr to Olin Ave. This project won’t be built until 2026, but it will come before the TC next year.

Other projects are smaller, but it’s interesting to see what is coming up.

What are we discussing on the Facebook Community?

  • An article by Wisconsin Watch explains why it’s so hard to make some large roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians in cities: They are also state highways, and WisDOT prioritizes motor vehicle traffic flow over pedestrian and bicyclist safety and comfort. 
  • A hit and run crash involving a bicyclist at the Seminole Hwy entrance to the Arboretum. Why is there no sidewalk or bike path connecting the Arb Dr to Manitou Way? There is a clear desire line worn by pedestrians and bicyclists avoiding busy traffic on Seminole Hwy. 
  • Bicyclists are being refused service at “drive-throughs” despite Madison ordinance requiring businesses to serve bicyclists via exterior service windows. 

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.

Categories
Guest post In Depth

Advocacy in action: Report from a Vision Zero workshop

This post was written by Mary Pustejovsky. Mary is passionate about safer streets in Madison. She has lived in Madison since 2020, and has lived in San Jose, Providence, Boston, Chicago, and most recently, Austin, Texas. She’s excited to put down roots and make Madison the best biking city in America. She has two cargo bikes (a Tern GSD and an Urban Arrow), bikes everywhere with 3 kids, and nothing makes her happier than getting more families on bikes.

What is it like to attend a neighborhood meeting about traffic safety? What are some strategies you can use to advocate for biking and safer streets?

I recently attended a Vision Zero workshop session hosted by Alder Tischler (District 11) at Sequoya Library. This was not an officially city-sponsored event, as there had been a previous session with city staff. This meeting was to get people together to discuss specific ideas for calming traffic in our community. The meeting specifically focused on Westmoreland, Hill Farms, and Midvale Heights neighborhoods.

Overall, many people are concerned about safety in our community, and have noticed a lot of speeding and crashes. However, different people have different ideas about how best to address these issues. At my table, there was one man (I will call him stop sign guy, SSG) who kept bringing up the fact that cyclists run stop signs. While that may be true, I pointed out that many drivers run red lights and speed constantly as well. I was glad to have a fellow cyclist at my table who bikes everywhere with his family. 

Intersection of Segoe, Laub, and Berwyn: A lot of pavement and long crossings for people walking.

We were tasked with coming up with ideas and then presenting our top 3 ideas. SSG brings up that there are a lot of crashes at Mineral Point and Segoe. He suggests widening the intersection to have a dedicated turn lane. We write it down, but I am skeptical: Wider intersections, especially two blocks from an elementary school and a middle school, are not safer for people walking and biking. I suggest that the intersection at Laub/Segoe is unnecessary. Two streets intersecting with Segoe here is unnecessary, and removing one of them would make space for a rain garden to help with stormwater runoff. People seem interested. Other ideas that got a lot of support were raised, or tabletop crossings for the SW Commuter Path at Odana as well as Glenway. Raised crossings mean that the path is kept at grade and people driving on the street need to dip up and down to cross it, rather than making path users drop down to the level of the road. These crossings already have a median, with one lane in each direction, and the raised crossing would reinforce the message that drivers should be cautious. People at my table seemed supportive of this as well. 

Raised crossing on the Cap City Trail at Russell Street

We then discussed the amount of people speeding on Midvale, especially near Cherokee Middle School. SSG seems to believe “there is nothing we can do” or “we need more education and enforcement.” Unfortunately he must have missed the Vision Zero presentation where officers from the Madison Police Department pointed out that they don’t have the staff to sit and write tickets all day. Engineering changes to the street are more effective, and they slow drivers at all times, not just when there is a cop with a radar gun. There were other suggestions too: Flashing beacons as well as speed feedback signs on Midvale to alert drivers to how fast they are going. I’m not convinced of their efficacy, but we put it down as another idea. Our final summary of ideas to the larger group included rain gardens, tabletop crossings for the SW Path, and protected bike lanes on Midvale.

Other groups had good suggestions about where to put roundabouts etc. This information was collected by my alder to share with city staff.

Overall, I recommend attending these types of meetings with a buddy if possible, as it can give you more confidence in supporting treatments that make a difference. There are always naysayers like SSG, but they are in the minority. Most people want safer streets. People want to bike but don’t feel safe doing so. Show up, and don’t worry about arguing with the negative folks. Just keep the focus on the positive changes needed. Acknowledge their opinion but redirect the conversation back to problem solving, instead of ranting or complaining. You are unlikely to change their mind, and that’s fine. Keep your focus on specific changes that you’d like to see to make the street safer. 

So reach out to your alder or to city staff (traffic@cityofmadison.com). State a particular problem, and suggest a solution! So instead of “wow it’s hard to cross the street” you could say “I’ve noticed it is hard to cross XYZ street. I think it might be a good candidate for a pedestrian refuge island or curb bump outs, which would slow turning vehicles and provide more visibility for people walking.” 

Speak up, it really does make a difference.

Categories
Weekly Update

Open house, assessments, movie night, border ride, and cyclocross

For our email subscribers: Because of a mistake, you are receiving this email on Tuesday rather than the usual Monday. Apologies for the delay.

Madison Bikes board open house Sep 26

It’s not this week, but I want to make sure this is on our calendar: On Monday, September 26, we are hosting an open house for the Madison Bikes board election! If you’re curious to learn what it means to be on our board or are considering running for election this cycle (lots of open seats!), join us at the Brittingham Park shelter from 6-7pm. (If the weather is really bad, we’ll move to Union South). Please RSVP to info@madisonbikes.org so that we can order an appropriate amount of snacks.

Sidewalk assessment policy

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board only has one big item on their agenda for tonight, and it may sound boring: “Street Assessment Policy Changes.” However, the question how pays for what when a street gets built or reconstructed has important policy implications. Right now, when a street is reconstructed, adjacent property owners generally pay 50% of the cost of the curb and the sidewalk and none of the cost for the driving and parking lanes. One outcome of this policy: Property owners are often opposed to adding sidewalks as part of reconstructions because they’re on the hook for half the cost. Sidewalks are crucial for accessibility and the safety of those walking and rolling. Therefore, the proposed new policy would assess the full cost of 10 feet of pavement instead; the curb and sidewalk cost would be covered by the city. Additionally, property owners would no longer be charged for the sidewalk repair program, which fixes broken and uneven sidewalks.

Slide on the proposed new assessment policy (Screenshot City of Madison)

CORP movie night

Your local mountain bike advocates, Capital City Offroad Pathfinders (CORP) are hosting a movie night at Capital Brewing’s beer garden in Middleton on Wednesday night. On screen: Biketown, ” a movie about the community that is needed to get mountain bike trails built, and the communities that mountain biking builds.” Ticket’s at $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children under 16 are free.

Pick Me Up at the Border

Bike Fitchburg also will have a fundraiser this week. But rather than watching a movie it involves riding your bike to the Illinois border (or points in between), during the night. Pick Me Up at the Border starts at RaceDay Events in Fitchburg on Friday at 6:30pm. Registration is $15.

‘Cross in Waterloo

Cyclocross season is well under way. This weekend’s race takes place in Waterloo on Saturday. The “Battle of Waterloo” has free registration for juniors (ages 9-18) and first-time riders. Racing starts at 9 am.

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.

Categories
Weekly Update

Complete Streets, Social Rides

A Madison rider sporting a u-lock and cable lock, allowing extra security when locking up outside. Source: Cyclists of Madison Twitter

Last Week

Rain: Wet weather made for an excellent and very muddy kickoff race for Wisconsin’s cyclocross series on Sunday, and made the bike section for Ironman Wisconsin 2022 quite a slog. Sadly it was much too wet for BikEquity’s family-friendly community ride & free bike repair event, which was cancelled. We will keep an eye out for rain dates on their social media.

This Week

Social Rides: It may dry out enough by Monday evening for a quality Monday 40 social ride. Tuesday evening is looking great for the Madison Women’s Cycling Club Taco Ride, or the Slow Roll Ride. Wednesday evening features the Madison Queer Bike Ride, reach out to their instagram page for details. Saturday is looking nice for Brazen Dropouts’ morning Row Ride. Finally, you can still register day-of for Bike The Barns on Sunday!

Monday: Madison Bikes has its monthly board meeting from 6-8pm. We will keep you posted on relevant happenings, and we will be discussing the board application process. Please read about becoming a board member, and apply if you meet the criteria listed!

Thursday: MPO Complete Streets Lunch & Learn Webinar The Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization is hosting a webinar from 12-1pm defining Complete Streets, discussing how they help ensure the safety of people on bikes or on foot, and discussing how to overcome barriers that make building them a challenge for cities. While primarily aimed at local planners, transportation staff, and local officials, this webinar will surely provide great material for those interested in advocating to their local, state, and national elected officials in support of safety.

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.

Categories
Weekly Update

Bike Path Dance Festival, Greater Madison MPO

Last Week

Image of the wire strung across the bike path, found Wednesday morning.

A dangerous wire was found strung across the Southwest Path bike bridge over the bike roundabout multiple times last week. The last known time a wire appeared was Wednesday morning, August 31. No word yet on if the perpetrator was caught.

A railroad contractor’s detour sending cyclists against traffic on a one-way street.

An unplanned change to a railroad replacement project caused the railroad’s contractor to route a bike detour the wrong way down a one-way street. While this was not a city project, use of the city’s Report a Problem tool helped improve the situation. The city will construct a path along Broom St, and part of the W Wilson St cycletrack that Madison Bikes has long advocated for, next year. The railroad has been instructed to hold off any projects that would close North Shore Dr until that project is complete.

Madison Bikes is looking for people to join the board! Want to become more involved in local bicycle advocacy? Consider joining the Madison Bikes board of directors. Applications are due October 7. Read more about it on this post published last week.

This Week

Today (Monday), the Isthmus Dance Collective brings back the Shifting Gears Bike Path Dance Festival from 12-6 PM. Temporary performance spaces will be set up in four city parks nearby bike paths. The parks are Wirth Court Park, McPike Park, the Olin Park Vantage, and new this year; Brittingham Park.

On Wednesday, the Greater Madison MPO will have a regularly scheduled meeting starting at 6:30 PM.  The MPO is responsible for comprehensive planning and decision making to build agreement on transportation investments that balance roadway, public transit, bicycle, pedestrian and other transportation needs to achieve an exceptional quality of life for all within the region. At Wednesday’s meeting, they will be discussing the 2023-2027 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is a 5-year planning document that is intended to help lawmakers decide what projects to fund and when. Here is the Meeting Agenda, and here is the proposed 2023-2027 TIP. Action on the TIP will be taken at next month’s meeting on October 5.

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.