Newsletter Weekly Update

West Area Plan, MPO and FB4K Slow Roll Celebration

Cyclists Crossing the (temporarily closed) Alicia Ashman Bridge (h/t Cyclists of Madison)

We’ll start with a big random, sloppy shout-out to the city’s Bike Madison mailing list subscription, which is essential reading for any cyclist in Madison. This shouldn’t be confused with our Madison Bikes update, which is the one you’re reading now! There’s often a bit of overlap, but we certainly don’t try to cover all of the minutia of road closures and path detours for the upcoming week like they do. Get on it!

This Week

Through next weekend, the Shorewood Hills path will be closed west of the new bridge over University Bay Drive. A detour on Marshall Ct will still take you to/from the bridge.

On Tuesday the Alicia Ashman bridge @ Campus Drive reopens ?. If you received last Friday’s update from Bike Madison, you’d already know that the bridge in the hero image above is closed for repairs until August 1. Of course, nearly every other route through campus is already suffering from some sort of detour right now, so good luck ?. Let’s hope it’s all cleared up in time for the return of the students.

On Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM the city is hosting an in-person discussion and presentation of the West Area Plan at the Rennebohm park shelter. “Development, transportation, and parks and open space and other elements for the area will be included.” Oh, and food carts, probably, so it’s sort of a party! If the weather is trending poorly, they always reserve the right to not show, but the rest of the event happens rain or shine under the shelter.

West Area Plan Limits Map (h/t City of Madison)

Also on Wednesday from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, the Greater Madison MPO is meeting at the Water Utility-Engineering building (119 E Olin Ave) with meeting notes that would make any European used to an August vacation season recoil. Some fascinating tidbits if you dig into it.

Browsing through the meeting packet, one item that caught my eye is #8 (p. 17). It describes a bunch of funding requests/project plans with DRAFT plastered all over them, up to 2024-2028 that are probably all relevant to cyclists. “Glacial Drumlin Path”, “Rimrock Rd”, “West Towne Path”, “Connect Mid Town Road and Raymond Road on New Alignment” are all words that you will read, and so many more!

Did you know that the “M” in MPO stands for Metropolitan? (fyi, the rest is Planning and Organization) This means it’s more than just Madison; there are items for Sun Prairie and the Villages of Deforest and Windsor too. People deep in the transpo weeds have been hearing/discussing these for some time, but it can be interesting to watch them as they work through the various committees at different levels of government. If your interest is piqued and you want to know more about the MPO “how’s” and “why’s”, check out item #10 (p. 32) which has a review of their operating rules and procedures.

Also on our calendar for Friday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM @ Law Park is one of the twice bi-weekly Bike Ride for Trans Rights. While we don’t always highlight every event of the week, here’s a reminder that you can get a recurring event on our calendar, if you like. See the footer of this post for how to do that.

Finally, on Saturday at 2:00 PM, Free Bikes 4 Kidz is hosting “its first annual bike ride, the South Side Slow Roll“: a three mile SAG (Support And Gear, ya’ll) ride with pre- and after- parties. Free registration is required but it’s really just an online waiver and takes mere seconds to fill out. To sweeten the deal, all registrants will receive a voucher for food from one of four food cart vendors at the afterparty. It all starts at the FB4K workshop on Coyier Lane @ 2:00 PM with Wheels for Winners doing bike checks. The ride starts at 3:00 PM. I could go on, but really, just hit up their site for details. It’ll be a great event with great organizations and individuals involved to make it fun for everyone.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at 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.

Newsletter Weekly Update

West Area Plan, Sheboygan/Segoe, Monona Waterfront update, State Street mall

From my recent travels to Germany: The Stuttgart cog railway with its bike trailer.

On Monday at Monona Terrace, you’ll have the opportunity to get an update on the Lake Monona Waterfront Master Plan. Architecture firm Sasaki will present on progress that has been made since they’ve been announced the winners of the master plan design process. “The evening includes a half-hour presentation by the team starting at 6:30pm followed by a Q&A session and an open house to meet team members and Parks staff.”

Also on Monday is the monthly Bike Fitchburg meeting. I haven’t seen a location announced yet, and so maybe confirm that the meeting is taking place.

On Wednesday at noon there is a virtual meeting about the West Area Plan. Transportation will be an important part of the plan, and so it’ll be important to speak for safe streets and low stress bike connections. If you can’t make the Wednesday meeting:

  • There is an additional, in-person meeting on August 2, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Rennebohm Park Shelter
  • And you can take a survey
Map of the area encompassed by the West Area Plan

Later on Wednesday, there is a Transportation Commission meeting. There are several items of interest on the agenda:

  • North Stoughton Road: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will present on their plans for North Stoughton Road. Stoughton Road is one of the deadliest corridors in the city, it lacks safe walking and biking facilities, and it cuts neighborhoods in half. Based on previous experience, WisDOT’s primary interest will be to move cars, and so it will take a lot of pressure from the public and the City to get to an acceptable plan. So please sign up and speak for a human-centered road rather than a highway.
  • Another big item will be the proposed pilot to turn the 400-600 blocks of State Street into some kind of pedestrian mall. Now that Metro buses no longer run on this stretch of State Street, there is an opportunity to change the layout of the street. But there are also a number of constraints, such as fire access — and ensuring that bikes continue to be able to use State Street to get through downtown. The first step will be to develop a plan for a pilot project, which will be put in place next year.
  • Good things are in the works for Sheboygan Ave and Segoe Rd. The City proposes lane reductions, improved pedestrian crossings, buffered bike lanes, and in some stretches even concrete curb protected bike lanes! Since these improvements will require the reduction of some of the on-street parking, there probably will be some opposition. You can register in support and sign up to speak at the meeting here.
Proposed cross-section of Segoe Road with protected bike lanes

Last but not least: On Sunday you can join another “BI-weekly Bike Ride For Trans Rights.” This is a recurring bike ride around Lake Monona in support of trans rights. 9am at the Cap City and Walter St crossing.

Newsletter Weekly Update

Speak up about future plans

Row upon row of full bike racks at dusk at Fete de Marquette. Woman in a green shirt and black pants arrives on a blue bike.
Photo credit: Christo Alexander

One of our board members attended Fete de Marquette, and sent the photo above with the comment, “I haven’t seen this many bikes since Amsterdam!” That’s what we like to hear. 

What happened in the last week?

On Tuesday, the Madison Council approved the geometry of the reconstruction of John Nolen Dr from Lakeside to North Shore Dr. Although it is not in this portion of the project, the Council added a requirement that City Engineering study an underpass of John Nolen between North Shore Dr and Broom. Thanks to all who wrote in and/or testified to show support for this infrastructure. We need to continue to ask for what we want and show that bicycle and pedestrian connections across busy roads are important for the health and future of our community.

Although it is NOT open yet, the overpass of University Bay Dr is getting very close. I actually saw someone biking over the bridge on Sunday. Please wait until it is officially open, especially during the week when work is going on. The city reports that the Campus Dr Path should reopen the morning of July 19, and the overpass will probably be open by the end of the month. (All deadlines are estimates.)

If you would like more information about city construction, detours, etc., the city puts out a bike-specific update each Friday. That will have more information and/or construction news we’ve missed. On the city’s Bike Madison page (not Madison Bikes – very confusing), just look for the link to Bike Madison Updates from the city.

The week ahead

There aren’t any committee meetings this week that directly affect bicycling or transportation in the city. However, there are some planning/transportation meetings and events that might be of interest.


But if you live, work, play, shop, or travel through the west side – from Midvale Blvd to the west Beltline and Lake Mendota to the south Beltline – you may want to attend and comment on the city’s West Side Plan.  The plan will cover land use, transportation, parks and open space, and other elements of the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the next ten years. Two virtual meetings are available: July 18 at 6:30 pm and July 26 at noon. Then there will be an in-person meeting on August 2 in Rennebohm Park from 5:30-7:30 pm — including food as part of the Carts in the Park. You can find out more about the meetings and register on the city’s website. There is also a survey at that link, in case you want to give your thoughts that way.

Also Tuesday, the Lake Monona Waterfront Ad Hoc Committee will meet. This isn’t specifically about the path or any infrastructure, but if you want to see what they are discussing, you can head over to the in-person meeting at 6:00 pm at the new Parks office at 330 E Lakeside – right off the Lake Monona Path. They will be planning a public meeting on the revised plan scheduled for July 24.


July 20, WisDOT is holding its first public involvement meeting for the US 51 (Stoughton Road) South Study on July 20, 5:00-6:30 pm at St Dennis Church on Dempsey Rd. This is an open house, so you can drop in at any time to hear about the study’s purpose and need, existing issues and tour exhibits. If you want to be able to travel easily and safely along and across Stoughton Rd, this will be an important meeting. More information can be found here


Biweekly Ride to Support Trans Rights. Friday ride leaves at 6 pm from the Walter St entrance to Olbrich Park. The two-hour ride is a casual social loop of Lake Monona. All are welcome. 

Madison Bikes supports trans rights

If you don’t follow our Facebook Community Group, you may have missed some unfortunate nasty business this last week. Someone, or a group of people, have been posting anti-trans stickers and graffiti on area paths, and when a member tried to organize rides to support trans rights, several people ganged up to report the posts, and Facebook automatically removed them. (Automatic deletion of posts by Facebook is a side effect of tightening up security to keep spam and bots out of the group.) 

The posts have been restored, some changes in the deletion policy implemented, and the rides now appear on our weekly calendar. The rides will be held every other Sunday at 9 am and every other Friday at 6 pm. 

The Madison Bikes board issued a statement in support of trans rights:

We, the Board of Madison Bikes, have witnessed an escalating campaign of anti-trans graffiti in our city, including on our paths. Trans cyclists are valued members of our community, we affirm the right of trans people to bike in Madison (and everywhere), and we stand in solidarity with trans people asserting the right to enjoy biking.

The mission of Madison Bikes is to create a place where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably year round.

To be comfortable, one must first be free from harm. The disgusting stickers and graffiti harassing the trans community stand in direct contrast to our mission statement, and are an attempt to create an environment of fear and distrust within our community. We will not tolerate bigotry in this or any other form.

We, the Board of Madison Bikes, will work to ensure that our social media platforms, our events, and our paths and roads are safe and welcoming spaces for everybody, including trans people.

To the trans members of our community, you are welcome and you are wanted the way you are. We pledge to work with and beside you to achieve a better, more inclusive bike culture in Madison.

With respect and love,

The Board of Madison Bikes

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at 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.

Newsletter Weekly Update

WisDOT plans and survey

Orange child's bike at bike rack

What’s happened in the last week?

The photo above was taken Saturday evening at Memorial Union. I love that kids are riding their own bikes with their parents to destinations, not just on recreational rides. When I see families biking to events, or a child’s bike locked up to a rack, I know the city is on the right track.


Detours continue in the campus area. Besides the continuing detour on the Campus Dr Path, the Alicia Ashman Overpass of Campus Drive is closed for repairs until August 1. Although this project appears on a map of construction projects on campus, I couldn’t find any mention of it on the city’s website, despite the fact that the city is doing the work. 

A closure of Shorewood Blvd at University Ave started on Friday, July 7 and will last until Tuesday morning. You won’t be able to cross University Ave or make a turn from/to Shorewood Blvd, but this does not affect the Locust bike route or access to the path east of Shorewood Blvd. So if you are just riding parallel to University Ave there is no impact.

A few days ago, a fallen tree cause a blockage of the Cannonball Path near Post Rd, but it was cleared by 9 am the same day as it was reported – within 3 hours. Pretty good response. 


According to the Wisconsin State Journal and the Cap Times, Destination Madison (formerly the Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau) has launched Madison By Bike, a website to encourage bicycle tourism. It features four rides: Cap City Trail, Cannonball, SW Path and Lakeshore Path. Visitors can download a pass that suggests stops along the way and shows businesses with discounts. It also gives you a discount on BCycle, in case you need a bike.

The week ahead


Transportation Commission will get a first look at opportunities for the city to improve connections across and along Hwy 151 and Interstate 90/94/39 where they meet. WisDOT is planning work in this area starting in 2027, and the city might as well get the best connections that it can. WisDOT likely will want to widen the interstate, so let’s get what we want out of this work.

There are 5 alternatives, all of which have pluses and minuses. But one of the primary stated city goals is to provide a connection to the American Center without needing to cross any freeway interchanges. This would make walking and biking in the area much easier, but also provide drivers a way to make the short trip to all the services in that development without using the freeway portion of Hwy 151.

Another goal is to slow traffic coming off of both the interstate and 151 northeast of E Washington Ave. Because people are coming off freeways, it’s hard to get them to slow down to safe urban speeds, and this part of E Washington has proven especially deadly over the years for pedestrians and bicyclists, with speed being a contributing factor in many of the fatalities. 

This is just the beginning of the discussion about this project, but if you have strong feelings about one of the alternatives, please feel free to comment. 

The TC will also be discussing several topics about the Transit Network Resign and an update on the Complete and Green Streets work. Full agenda and how to watch or comment can be found here

Also on Wednesday is the monthly Queer Bike Ride. The ride is “party pace,” and all bodies welcome. It leaves from Law Park by Machinery Row at 6:00 pm. More information on Instagram.


Move ‘N Grove 4BGC will be held at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, 7 am – 2 pm to support Boys and Girls Club and the new McKenzie Regional Workforce Center. This all-day, family-friendly event will also feature the grand opening of the center. There are bike routes of various lengths and shuttles to be sure everyone gets to tour the new skilled trades and entrepreneurship center. 

Before July 14

Wisconsin DOT is updating their Active Transportation Plan, and they want your opinion. Please take their survey and submit comments. Your voice is important, because WisDOT needs to hear that walking, biking, and other active transportation is important to you and the state in general. Remember when taking the survey that major roads in Madison are also state highways. Examples include South Park St, John Nolen Dr, South Blair St, and East Washington – all Hwy 151. Stoughton Rd is Hwy 51; University Ave west of the Beltline is Hwy 14; etc.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at 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.

Newsletter Weekly Update

Air Quality & Bikes

People biking on the University Path, photo:

Let’s Talk Air Quality & Bikes

The air quality forecast for this week is relatively good as smoke from this year’s record-breaking Canadian wildfire season is clearing from Wisconsin for now. It’s a good time to become familiar with the Air Quality Index and make a plan for outdoor exercise and transportation depending on the AQI number and your individual sensitivity to poor air quality, if you haven’t already done this.

AQI numbers don’t account for all differences in location and time of day. Outside of wildfire smoke, people on bikes grapple with pollution from motor vehicles, especially on busy roadways and intersections. Air quality in these locations can be significantly worse than on bike/walk paths physically separated from roadways. Being in a car does not prevent exposure to roadway pollution, either. There is evidence bike commuters can sometimes experience lower exposure to motor vehicle air pollution than drivers on high-traffic urban roads, as bike riders are less likely to spend significant time sitting in traffic.

Risks from exposure to poor air quality vary based on individual health circumstances, and one’s healthcare provider is the best source of individual advice on these risks. However, existing data support the idea that for most individuals, health benefits from biking outdoors outweigh risks even when air quality is fairly poor, with the exception being days with extremely high pollution levels (such as those associated with advisories to stay indoors) or very long-duration exercise (such as experienced by bike couriers in dense urban environments using no mitigation tools).

There are ways to mitigate exposure to poor air quality when biking. If you must be outside during an air quality alert day, you can use a well-fitted N95, KN95, or better respirator to significantly reduce exposure to harmful particle pollution. These respirators are not designed to handle non-particle pollution including ozone, VOCs, and NOx. N95+ options catering to people biking or running also exist.

Photo: Madison Bikes Board Member Craig Weinhold wears a respirator designed for outdoor activity

Fitchburg Festival Of Speed

It’s technically not in Madison, but if you’re looking for a good time this weekend either participating in a group ride, racing a criterium, or spectating this Saturday, Fitchburg Festival of Speed has something for you. The organizers encourage biking to the event, which you can do from Madison fairly easily on either the SW path or the Cannonball path.

Group Rides

Monday evening you can join the Monday 40 social ride. Tuesday evening is looking great for the Madison Women’s Cycling Club or the Slow Roll Ride. Saturday you can check out Brazen Dropouts’ morning Row Ride.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at 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.