It was quite a week for events involving Madison Bikes. I hope everyone had a chance to attend one or more of them.
Week in review
First up was our Car-Free Holiday Fantasy in Lights on Tuesday (check out the link for a great video from the evening.) The weather couldn’t have been better, and we ended up with about 900 people walking, biking, running, and strolling through. It seems that people spread the word via bike groups and clubs, neighbors, print and TV media, word of mouth, as well as our Facebook group and event. There were tons of families with little kids, a few dogs, friends chatting, bike and running groups going through together, and lots of smiles and laughter.
After our two-hour car-free time slot, we headed over to the Sheraton on John Nolen Dr for socializing, special drinks, and even VIP indoor bike parking. Thanks to everyone who helped out, and to Wonderstate Coffee for hot beverages in Olin Park and the Sheraton for rolling out the red carpet and providing hot chocolate.
Wednesday evening was Be Bright with the UW Police Dept. and the City of Madison on W. Dayton St near Union South. At this event, the UWPD stops bicyclists without lights, but instead of a $150 ticket, they are escorted over to tables where volunteers provide them with a free set of lights and attach the lights to their bikes. Thanks to our volunteers for stepping up at the last minute the day after our big Olin Park event.
Tour of Atwood facilities. I also had an opportunity on Wednesday to join a tour with city staff to the new Atwood path. We learned about some of the innovative path, intersection, and signal treatments that the city has installed. I wish I had recorded the explanations each time we stopped, because there was just too much to remember. But Atwood should be much easier to cross — at least north of Walter Street — as there is only one lane southbound, the intersections are much narrower than before, encouraging slower speeds. Several intersections have green paint to draw drivers’ attention to where pedestrians and bicyclists are likely to be crossing.
Thanks for for inviting me to ride along. It’s great that about a dozen city staff all traveled by bike to learn about how Madison is making this corridor safer and more intuitive for bicyclists.
Thursday I spoke at the World Day of Remembrance press conference at the top of State St. Shoes were painted white and hung up next to the Veterans Museum to honor the 68 people who died in traffic crashes in Madison over the last five years. You can watch the entire press conference online.
Unfortunately, if we have one more fatality in 2023, this will be the deadliest year in the last 15. Traffic fatalities have been up across the country since the COVID shut down. Fewer people may be driving to work, but with emptier streets, speeds are up, which has led to more dangerous roads. Over 46,000 people died as a result of traffic violence last year! In most years, between 30,000 and 40,000 people die on our streets due to motor vehicle crashes. As I’ve said before, any other consumer product with that kind of safety record would be pulled from the market in a week.
City budget. Among all the events last week, the city also passed a budget in one evening, which is highly unusual. Alder Isadore Knox introduced a last minute amendment to cut funding for the important Autumn Ridge Path project that will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to travel from Milwaukee St to Commercial Ave and provide a bridge over Hwy 30 east of Stoughton Rd. Presently, making that journey requires negotiating two roundabouts on Thompson Dr at Hwy 30 that tend to be very high-speed and unfriendly to all not driving. Fortunately, the motion failed. Thanks to those who wrote to support this project that has already received federal funding.
The week ahead
The week ahead will be fairly quiet because of a short week for Thanksgiving.
The Board of Public Works will be discussing the Mineral Point Rd project. Although the Transportation Commission recommended that an 8-10 foot path be built the entire length of the project, the BPW could recommend something else before it goes to Council. It would be great if a few people drop them a note or testify via Zoom about why we need at least an adequate path along Mineral Point Rd. This is already a compromise over what was promised when BRT and changes to Mineral Point Rd was first discussed. The option that was proposed before the Transportation Commission meeting would have narrowed the sidewalk/path to only five feet in sections.
Reminders and announcements
Monday, Nov 27
Bikes and N/S BRT. This is just a save-the-date reminder that we will be hosting a focus group on the north-south BRT line and bicyclists’ needs for the corridor. More information and a registration link can be found here.
Cooperative Carshare Survey
A local group is trying to reduce car dependency in Madison by expanding access to carshare. Their goal is to help others make the leap to being car-free or car-light households, paving the way for the city to become an even more biking- and pedestrian-friendly place to live. They are interested in knowing how people might use car-sharing and what you do/don’t like about this option. You can take their survey and let them know a few things about your driving habits and needs for carshare.
As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.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.