Weekly Update

Plans, Paths, and funding

map of Howard Temin Lakeshore Path study area on UW campus

Other than the blazing hot weather we’ve been experiencing, making biking a soggy and exhausting affair, things have been pretty quiet this last week. 

I had a friend visiting, and he wanted to go to the Fete de Marquette while I had an appointment. “Will there be bike parking?” he asked, since he’s bike touring. Well, there’s good news and bad news on that front. I assured him there was lots of bike parking, but finding an empty spot was like a game of “Where’s Waldo.” He took my suggestion and parked a few blocks away to find a relatively safe and clear spot for his Surly. 

Even after spending a few days cruising around Madison and seeing everyone on bikes, and knowing our reputation for being bike-friendly, I think he was taken aback by the shear volume of bikes parked at Fete.

The week ahead

In big and small ways, we are starting to see resistance to planning, funding and building bike and pedestrians infrastructure. In addition, with the looming budget deficit and possible referendum, a few folks have decided that even matching funds for federal grants are ill-advised, if the grant would improve walking and biking.

Take a look at the items coming up this week, and make sure to let your elected officials know if you think these are good investments in our community.


At the Council

Two city plans starting final review process

At the Council, both the Northeast Plan and the West Area Plan formal adoption process are beginning. These plans are the first of 12 that will be adopted over the next few years, and each area plan has transportation components as well as land use and zoning elements. 

The controversial proposal to build both a north-south and east-west paths through the Sauk Creek Greenway was one of the transportation recommendations in the West Area Plan. After neighborhood objections, the north-south path was removed by city staff from the West Area Plan. 

These two plans will  move through various committees over the next several months, and each committee can make final recommendations for what should be included in the plans. Then they come back to the Council for final adoption. The two plans will be at the Transportation Commission on July 31. 

Northside bike/ped facility grant application

City is applying for a federal grant to develop a plan and design for an all-ages-and-abilities facility from the north side. One comment was received saying that the city shouldn’t apply because local matching funds would be required. 

Curb management grant application

The writer of the above-mentioned objection to the federal money also objects to another item on the agenda that would apply to the Wisconsin DOT Carbon Reduction Program to begin a study of curb management. In this case, the local match would be paid from the Parking Utility funds, which are completely separate from the city general fund, so the matching funds wouldn’t affect the deficit one way or another.

Curb management is studying and laying out policies for the entire curb area based on surrounding land use and the needs identified. The curb area is most often used for car parking, but could also be used for street cafes, bike sharing kiosks, bike lanes, loading/drop-off zones (for deliveries or taxi/Uber/Lyft), street amenities like benches and trees, bus-priority lanes, or even additional personal vehicle movement. 

Many cities have studied curb management and developed policies that use this precious space efficiently and equitably. A study of needs and best use of the this limited resource in various areas of the city is the first step in developing a curb management policy that serves all in the community.

UW Lakeshore Trail survey and meeting

If you ride the UW Lakeshore Trail from Willow Creek east to the Limnology Building, you know that parts of it are unpaved and unlit. The unpaved areas can be wet, muddy, and/or icy, depending on the season and recent weather. And with no lighting, it’s hard to see the ice, puddles, and ruts during the long winter nights. (This was my commute to my UW campus job, and I had to find a new winter route, because I didn’t trust the surface when I got off work after dark. Even in the daytime, the trail was often very rutted and slippery.)

Now, the UW is considering paving and lighting the path. They will hold a meeting on Tuesday, July 16, from 5-8 p.m. at the Memorial Union. They also have a survey available online and a map where you can comment about specific locations of concern. 


Transportation Commission

The Transportation Commission will meet on Wednesday, but the agenda is fairly short. The one item of interest to bicyclists might be a report on the first year of the city Transportation Demand Management program and suggested modifications. The city TDM program requires that any new, or substantially-changed land use, as well as any request to increase parking, take measures to offset demands for driving and parking. It will be interesting to hear how the program is going after a year.

TDM aims to both increase transportation options and decrease [motor] vehicle miles traveled. The requirements of the program are reviewed as part of the standard land use approvals. Applicants are assigned a certain number of points to offset parking and driving and can earn these points by reducing or limiting parking, providing incentives to use transportation options other than driving, and educational efforts on transportation options for residents and commercial tenants. Examples in the bicycle realm might be classes on finding a comfortable bike route or how to be comfortable riding in traffic, providing BCycle memberships, bike parking and amenities above and beyond minimum requirements, providing showers and lockers, etc.

Community events and rides this week

Monday: Madison Bikes board meets at the Central Library at 6:00 pm. All are welcome

Friday: Lunch brunch e-bike ride leaves from Machinery Row at noon for a casual social ride to a lunch spot. All types of bikes welcome.

Sunday: Century Training Club leaves from Machinery Row at 8:00 am with two pace groups.

For more details on community events, including contacts for questions, see the Madison Bikes Community Calendar.

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.

Weekly Update

New Arb & LYRT Paths Open

Looking southerly up Seminole Hwy at the new Arboretum access trail (photo: Ben Sandee)

I have to say, it’s pretty refreshing to be in a period of “relatively normal” rain after many weeks of “terribly excessive.” Enjoy while you can! It’s a pretty slow time of year because everyone’s out loving their biking, so some of this stuff is on repeat.

This Week

Bike Rides

On Wednesday at 6 PM, consider joining the Madison Queer Bike Ride at Law Park.

On Friday at 12 PM, join the Lunch Bunch E-Bike Rides leaving from Machinery Row Bicycles and enjoy lunch along the way with fellow riders.

Check out @machineryrowbikes on IG or FB for the route each week or contact to join the email list.

On Sunday at 8 AM, join one of the Century Training Club rides leaving from Machinery Row Bicycles (same contact info as above).

Path Updates

The short-length-but-vital path connecting Manitou Way and McCaffrey Dr (paralleling Seminole Hwy) is open and although it’s not 100% complete, all that remains is a few landscaping touch-ups and finishing up the new improved crosswalk across Seminole Hwy.

Enjoy a more relaxed Arboretum Loop and skip a sketchy, exposed left-turn across traffic. This was a long time coming!

Credit: Ben Sandee

According to Dane County Parks and our own field research, the medium-length-but-vital path connecting Fish Camp County Park to Lake Kegonsa State Park opened on July 3! Part of the longer Lower Yahara River Trail, this path dramatically improves bicycle connections between McFarland and Stoughton by cutting out some busier stretches of rural roads. This was a long time coming!

Credit: Harald Kliems

Looking Ahead

Save the date for our July Community Event “Paddle and Pedal.” On Monday, July 22, join us at the Central Library for this great talk:

Going for a bike ride doesn’t have to be a loop around the lakes or farmland out in the countryside. Wisconsin has oodles of dedicated trails throughout the state — most of which cross over or even run alongside beautiful rivers. You’ve probably seen some of them, but have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually be on them? Local author and silent sports disciple Timothy Bauer will offer a fun and informative presentation on combining pedaling and paddling, along with helpful basics, tricks, and considerations to get things started. All are welcome, no experience necessary. We’ll have some drink and snacks available.

No RSVP required, but if you’re on Facebook, you can do so there to help us plan the snack situation.

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.