Monday Update: University Ave updates, Jan 4 Family Ride

With the holidays upon us, our calendar is pretty empty. That provides a great opportunity for a recap from last week's University Ave public input meeting.

Before we get to that, a quick reminder that early in the new year, our Holiday Fantasy in Lights Family Ride is happening. Join us at Lakeside Coffee House on January 4 for free coffee and hot chocolate and the ride over to the holiday lights in Olin Park. More information on Facebook.

Now let's get back to University Ave. A reminder that this project runs from Campus Dr/Farley/University Bay Dr to Shorewood Blvd. The construction has been pushed to 2022; it was previously planned for 2021. If you want to see any of the materials and presentations from the meeting, you can find them here. You can also find contact information for key project staff and alders as well as a way to sign up for future updates on the project.

I know this is another long blog post, but there is a lot going on with this project. I won’t go over all the things that haven’t changed from the first meeting. You can read about in my Dec 16 blog post. At that time, I didn’t have the materials for this meeting, so below are the things that have changed.

First things first. I want to thank everyone who attended, wrote an email, called city staff, and otherwise contributed to making this a better project. As you will see below, several elements have been added to make the project more friendly to a multimodal future. (It’s still going to be a very large, busy road, but sometimes you have to take the victories when they come, because otherwise all looks bleak.) Your comments and advocacy on this project truly made a difference, so I want to acknowledge that.

The tl;dr bullet points are:

  • Wider sidewalk on the south side should help all non-motorized users
  • No right turn on red from side streets will hopefully improve safety for and yielding to anyone in the crosswalk.
  • Countdown walk signals and continental crosswalks at all intersections
  • Sidewalk on the north side of street will go all the way from University Bay Dr to Shorewood Blvd
  • Lots of changes to transit stops and pullouts for buses in anticipation of BRT
  • Change in speed limit on both University Ave and Campus Dr.

More details and other changes below.

The city is accepting comments on this meeting until Jan 1, so let them know if you have any ideas, comments, gripes, or compliments. (See project page for contacts in the materials, but the main contact is the project engineer, Glen Yeoger.)

Now the longer version.

My pet peeve—that there were no bike facilities on the south side of the road, leading many people to take to the sidewalk on their bikes—has been heard, if not fixed in the most optimal way. Instead of a standard five-foot sidewalk, there will be a sidewalk measuring 7-8 feet along the length of the project. This is still too narrow to call it a “path,” and I anticipate continued conflict between people biking, walking, and waiting for the bus for the bus, but it does give everyone more space.

This wider sidewalk was achieved mostly through narrowing the travel lanes on the road. These narrower lanes should also help slow traffic a bit. And that’s another piece of good news. The city is planning on lowering the speed limit on this part of University Ave to 30 mph (currently 35 mph), and Campus Dr will become a 35 mph road (currently 40 mph.) Lower speed limits are always good for people trying to cross the street, and for those traveling along the road as well, because it gives drivers more time to react to situations.

Source: Tefft, B.C. (2011). Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

In another safety improvement for people biking and walking, the city plans to prohibit right turns on read on all the streets coming in from the south. This will significantly improve conditions for those who are biking on the sidewalk as well as all who use the sidewalk. Not being able to turn right on the red will discourage motorists from inching out into the crosswalk and assure that they won’t just surge through as they are looking left to find a gap in traffic. One reason riding on the sidewalk “against” the adjacent traffic on the road is that motorists turning right are only looking left; they rarely look right to see pedestrians and bicyclists approaching from the right or coming up to the right of their car, either on the street or on the sidewalk parallel to them.

Current conditions on University Bay Dr: People walking either have to walk in the bike lane or take the goat trail visible on the right. Source: Google StreetView

Also on the sidewalk front, there will be a full sidewalk on the east side of University Bay Dr all the up to the Children's Hospital. This will be an improvement over what is there now, which only goes as far as the driveway to the VA Hospital.

And another improvement on the bike end of things is that the 2600 block of University Ave—which now looks more like an off ramp from the larger portion of University Ave eastbound to “old” University Ave—will have an actual bike lane. Not only is an on-street lane here a good idea to encourage people to not ride on the sidewalk, but it will visually narrow the road to slow drivers as they enter the neighborhood.

For people trying to cross University Ave, there will be continental crosswalks and countdown timers at all intersections. These crosswalks are more visible, so hopefully that will increase yielding by turning motorists. (We’ll see.)

Continental crosswalk standards for Madison. Source: City of Madison Engineering

Many people in my neighborhood would have liked to have seen the removal of the right-turn lane from southbound University Bay Dr to westbound University Ave. There is far too little yielding by motorists, regardless of whether they are facing a red or green light. And pedestrians—including transit users getting off at the University Bay Dr stop—have to get to the “refuge island” in order to then cross University Ave itself. The city is not getting rid of that slip lane, but they are proposing to add a table top crosswalk, which would both elevate pedestrians for better visibility and slow drivers.

There will also be improvements to the crosswalk on the east side of University Ave/Farley. Up until about 15 years ago, there was NO crosswalk there (!) Now the city wants to make that the preferred crossing from people headed north. The eastbound buses and future BRT will be stopping in a new pullout lane on the east side of the intersection, so transit users will already be on that side of the street. I think a lot of northbound pedestrians from the neighborhood prefer this side anyway, because you are facing all the left-turning traffic and can see if someone isn’t paying attention. (I personally hate crossing with my back to the left-turning folks. I just don’t trust them, and I want to see if I’m going to have to jump out of the way. Seriously.)

The diagonal crossing at Ridge should be easier to handle, as the city is planning on retiming the walk lights to reduce delay in the two-stage crossing. Right now, it feels like a long time standing in the median as car rush by on both sides.

There’s more information in the presentation materials, including a few changes I didn’t list here. But I think I covered all the really big ones that are new for this meeting.

Thanks again to everyone who weighed in. Your voice has made a difference, but University Ave will still be a big road, and the intersection with University Bay Dr/Farley will still be a huge intersection with a lot of turning vehicles. It’s better, but still a pretty car-oriented corridor.




University Ave reconstruction meeting Wednesday

Short version

This Wednesday, Dec 18 at 6:00 pm at the Best Western InnTowner, 2424 University Ave (intersection with Highland), the city will be holding the second public information meeting (PIM) about the upcoming University Ave reconstruction. This project -- running from Shorewood Blvd to Campus Dr and currently scheduled for 2021 -- will be a real test to see if we can rebuild a major corridor that will safely and comfortably serve all modes of travel -- a Complete Street. If you live, work, or shop nearby, or if you travel through by any mode of transportation, I urge you to attend the meeting. If you can’t make the meeting, but have a comment, you can contact the project engineer, Glen Yoerger. You can also include Traffic Engineer Yang Tao and/or alder for that area Shiva Bidar.

I wrote about this project and the many current safety problems before the first meeting [presentations at the bottom of project website]. I will go into some additional details for each of the points below, but just in case you just want bullet points, the tl;dr is:

  • At the first public information meeting in June, the modifications that the city presented made some minor improvements for the many safety problems present for bicyclists and pedestrians -- and transit users who are pedestrians when they get off the bus -- but not at the expense of keeping motor vehicle traffic moving,  
  • There are no bicycle facilities on the south (city of Madison) side of the street, and none are planned (unless something has been added since June.)
  • Because of the lack of appropriate facilities on the south side, people on bikes use the sidewalk, which is dangerous for themselves and causes conflicts with pedestrians and the large number of transit users waiting at the very busy bus stops.
  • It is already very dangerous and intimidating to cross the street, and the city is planning on removing one of the current unsignalized crosswalks, at Franklin Ave. Even where there is a signal, turning vehicles and red light running mean that the crossings are uncomfortable and feel dangerous. 
  • The intersection of University Ave and University Bay Dr/Farley, has a very bad history of crashes resulting in injury. The city rates it fourth overall in the whole city.   
  • This corridor will be one of the first links in the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, so there will be even more transit users waiting on the sidewalk and crossing the street in the future.   

Source: Vision Zero presentation to the Transportation Policy and Planning Board, Dec 12.

I was hoping that there would be information available before I wrote this post, but so far (as of Monday afternoon, Dec 16) nothing has been added or updated on the City Engineering website for the project. The Transportation Commission was supposed to get an update this past week, but referred it until their January meeting. 

The longer version, with more details

Left turns

At the last meeting, we were shown plans for modifications of the corridor. They show a double left turn lane from eastbound University Ave to northbound University Bay Dr. This is meant to move the many commuters through the intersection as they drive to and from the UW, VA, and Children’s Hospitals and other parts of the far west campus. This is also a major entry point for people driving to the eastern part of Shorewood Hills, since there are limited locations to enter the village.

Left turns are a major movement at this intersection -- also including left turns from both southbound University Bay Dr and northbound Farley (same street, different name of the other side of the road) to eastbound Campus Dr and westbound University Ave respectively, and these left turns are the bane of pedestrians and bicyclists crossing University Ave at the same intersection. Many people who live in the neighborhoods across University Ave work at the hospitals or use the bus or path on the north side, meaning they cross this road multiple times every day. It is also a critical connection for bicyclists coming from anywhere south or southwest of the hospitals or campus. I have come close to being hit myself when crossing from the bus stop of the north side of the road, and while waiting for the bus on the south side, I witnessed a pedestrian hit by a person driving a car right in front of my eyes. Both involved left turning vehicles. 

Overpass for Campus Dr Path

With the bike path completed on the north side, many more bicyclists are crossing University Bay Dr. Although the plans are to build an overpass of University Bay Dr to provide a safer crossing, there are many questions about whether that will be possible. Until that happens, a double left from University Ave will make the crossing even more dangerous. With the improvements to the Blackhawk Path this year, bike traffic at this intersection will probably continue to increase.

Traffic light at Overlook Terrace/Marshall Court and University Bay Dr to serve new VA parking ramp

In addition to the proposed overpass, the VA Hospital is planning on building another parking ramp just off U Bay Dr. This will generate more car traffic, most of which will be turning left onto U Bay Dr, the VA wants a new traffic light at the intersection of Marshall Ct (where EVP Coffee is), Overlook Terrace (the driveway to the VA), and U Bay Dr. This would pack the following into basically one city block: new traffic light at Marshall Ct/Overlook Terr, the Campus Dr path, railroad tracks and gates, then another traffic light at University Ave. Huh? 

The city essentially has no control over what the VA does, because it is a federal agency. They can’t force them to do manage their traffic demand, e.g. by increasing the cost of car parking, or to not build the new ramp. And the city needs a tiny sliver of land from the VA to build the new overpass for the path. The price for that land: the new traffic light to make getting out of the new ramp easier.

One crosswalk being removed

The intersection of University Ave at Franklin Ave, one block west of Farley/U Bay Dr, doesn't have traffic signals. The proposal is to remove the crosswalk. It's not a great way to cross the road on foot, but this is just one more barrier to getting across University Ave. It means that people will have to walk a block in either direction to cross the road. Right now, there aren't really any destinations on the north side across from Franklin, but that could change.  

No bike facilities on the south side

Now we come to my personal beef: There are no planned bicycle facilities on the south side. When I ask why we are doing a major road reconstruction with no bike facilities on one side, I’m told, “There isn’t space.” This is a SIX lane road with turn pockets at every intersection. New sidewalks are proposed on the north side and an extra left turn lane at one intersection, but there is no space for bike facilities? Currently there are unprotected bike lanes from Segoe Rd to Shorewood Blvd, as well as all of University Ave west of Whitney Way, so this is a big gap. City Engineering and Traffic Engineering seem to think that people can just cross to the north side and use the nice new path through Shorewood Hills. Or the bike boulevard on Kendall. But neither of these serve the needs or people going to and from origins and destinations on the SOUTH side of the road. There are stores and restaurants as well as new apartments on the south side. I expect the area to be further redeveloped as BRT comes in. Crossing to the north side to go a couple of blocks and then recrossing again, especially if one is headed to old University Ave, just is not realistic. Crossing that portion of University Ave even once is tough, but no one is going to do it twice when they aren’t headed somewhere on the north side. 

Consequently people ride on the sidewalk. I see them every day when I take the bus. It’s dangerous for the bicyclists because motorists aren’t looking for people riding on the sidewalk as they inch out at Ridge and Farley to make a right on red. It’s not safe for the pedestrians sharing the very narrow sidewalk on this stretch. And it’s not safe for the people trying to catch the bus -- they also aren’t expecting anyone going 10-12 mph on the sidewalk as they check to see if the bus is coming. And that bus stop is going to get a lot more crowded with BRT.

What about the Kendall/Bluff bike boulevard? Well, at the intersection of Shorewood Blvd and Hill St -- where the bike lanes on University end and this project starts -- the bike boulevard is up a steep hill and on the other side of Quarry Park, so it’s really not practical. If you do get up the steep hill that is...Hill St… you can take Harvey for a little while and then duck through an alley for another block. But that ends at Franklin, still a block short of getting you to old University Ave. 

Some good news on facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists

Besides the proposed overpass for the path, the other good news is that the plans call for a full sidewalk on the north side of the road from U Bay Dr to Marshall Court (where it exits the strip mall across from Ridge.) 

One other nice addition has already been added. If you cross University Ave at University Bay Dr/Farley, you may have noticed that there is now a leading pedestrian interval for the walk light. That means that the WALK light comes on a couple of seconds before the drivers get a parallel green. This gives people walking across the intersection a little head start to get our into the intersection, making them more visible to turning drivers. 


Monday Update: Public Meetings for University Ave and Garver Path

This past weekend, BCycle went into hibernation for the winter. 

This week

Monday

Bike Fitchburg monthly meeting will be tonight, Monday, December 16 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the Fitchburg Public Library 5530 Lacy Rd, Fitchburg

Wednesday

The public is invited to a second public information meeting about the University Avenue reconstruction 6pm, Dec. 18, at the Best Western Inn Towner, 2424 University Avenue, Madison. University Ave is scheduled for reconstruction from Shorewood Boulevard/Hill St to University Bay Drive/Farley Ave.  The City of Madison is jointly participating with the Village of Shorewood Hills on the design and construction. The project includes reconstruction of pavement, curb & gutter, sidewalk as necessary, street lighting, traffic signals, water main, sanitary sewer and storm sewer.  Design alternatives will include analysis to try and improve pedestrian & bicycle connectivity, bus rapid transit initiatives and stormwater drainage. 

Sign up for updates on the project here: 

https://www.cityofmadison.com/engineering/projects/university-avenue 

https://www.facebook.com/events/454492781870928/

Thursday

The public is invited to the second public information meeting for the Garver Path. The meeting is scheduled for 6 pm, Dec. 19 at Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  The City of Madison is proposing the construction of a new 2800-foot long pedestrian shared use path that would connect the existing Capital City Path at Sugar Avenue northward to Milwaukee Street. Three structural elements are proposed as part of the design including a bridge through the northern limits of the project, a bridge replacement at Ivy Street, and a new bridge crossing over Starkweather Creek.

Learn more about the project here: 

https://www.cityofmadison.com/engineering/projects/garver-path

https://www.facebook.com/events/791203121342534/



Save the date

We will be hosting a Holiday Fantasy in Lights Family Bike Ride on January 4th.

Who says cars get all the fun during the season of lights? Join the Madison Bikes Community for a free family bike ride through the Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Olin Park (http://www.fantasyinlights.com/).

We will meet at Lakeside St. Coffee House at 4pm and leave at 4:30pm sharp to Olin Park (route to be announced). We will also return to Lakeside St. Coffee House as a group after. There will be free coffee and hot chocolate before and after the ride!

The Holiday Fantasy in Light organizers have asked participants to please wear light/bright clothing and have functioning lights for your bike. https://www.facebook.com/events/2505957879731034/

 

 

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.


Monday Update: Bike Projects Updates and Fat Bike Demos Galore!

Last Week

Last week saw a number of updates to regional bike infrastructure projects. One major update came in the form of a Feasibility Study for the Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge at the southern end of the Great Sauk Trail in Sauk City. The bridge will connect the Great Sauk Trail to Dane County and is part of a planned trail network to connect Madison to the ‘400’ State Trail in Reedsburg. You can see the general routing of the trail connections here. The bridge will feature numerous lookouts and fishing piers, and the proposed design was guided by numerous public outreach efforts. You can view the presentation here. You can also follow the progress of the Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge at their Facebook page.

Rendering of the Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge (Photo Credit: Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge Feasibility Study)

Rendering of the Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge
(Photo Credit: Wisconsin River Recreation Bridge Feasibility Study)

Another project we were updated on last week was the Cannonball Trail Phase 6 extension to the Wingra Creek Path on Madison’s south side. Two options were presented at a meeting on Wednesday, both with their advantages and disadvantages. One option would remove an on-street bike lane to make room for a multi-use path on the same side of the street. The other option would be a new off-street path through Bowman Park. You can see a general image of the options here. You can also find the presentation slides and follow project updates at the City Engineering’s page for the Cannonball Path Phase 6.

Last week also saw the release of The League of American BicyclistsBicycle Friendly State Rankings. Wisconsin scored below average in its ranking at 29th place in the nation. When the list was first released in 2008 Wisconsin was #2 on the list and has dropped in ranking precipitously since, ranking #9 in 2015 and #26 in 2017 according to the LAB’s Historical Rankings Chart. In order to learn why Wisconsin is doing so poorly on the Bicycle Friendly State Rankings you can read the LAB’s 2019 Report Card for Wisconsin.

This Week

Wednesday, December 11

The Transportation Commission is meeting at 5:00 PM in Room 215 of the Madison Municipal Building at 215 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. There will be a number of bike-related informational updates at this meeting so this will be a good one to watch online or in-person. First up will be a presentation on City Engineering’s 2020 Projects, including the 2020 Bikeways Projects. The Bikeways Projects are usually minor resurfacing projects that don’t involve a major reconstruction. One path scheduled for resurfacing is the Southwest Path continuing west from the 2017 resurfacing to Glenway Street. After that there will be an update to the Blair Street project that will include reconstructing part of the path by Machinery Row and adding stop lights to Blair Street’s intersection with Main Street--a major Bike Boulevard connecting to Madison’s downtown. Then, the Commission will be updated on the Cannonball Path Extension options discussed earlier. Finally, there will be an update to the University Avenue Project. You can read the full agenda to learn more about any of the projects and to see what else will be before the Commission.

At 5:30 PM, there will be an Arts, Crafts, and Cocktails event hosted by Trek Madison West, located at 8108 Mineral Point Road on Madison’s west side. Trek will provide the wheels, decorating supplies, and craft cocktails from Gib’s Bar. You bring any extra ribbons, ornaments, or lights that you want to make your wreath unique.The event is capped at 30 people. Learn more about it their Facebook Events Page.

At 6:45 PM Slow Roll Cycles at 4118 Monona Drive, near the intersection with Buckeye Road, will be hosting a Suspension 101 class. The class will cover basic suspension theory and basic set up and maintenance. You can read more about this class on their Facebook Events Page.

Saturday, December 14

Trek HQ will be hosting Race #2 in their Hugh Jass Fat Bike Race Series. Event registration will start at 9:00 AM at Trek Headquarters, 801 W Madison St, Waterloo, WI. The race will start at 11:00 AM, and at 1:00 PM there will be a party and awards given to the winners. Learn more about the event and get tickets at their website http://www.hughjass.bike/ or on their Facebook Events Page.

Revolution Cycles will be hosting a free Surly Fat Bike Demo at Camrock Park out of Cam Rock 3 Shelter. From 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon WOMEN (Women, Trans, Femme) will have priority, and from 12:00 to 3:00 the demo will open up to EVERYONE. Be sure to bring a helmet and a driver’s license to check out a bike. After 3 PM they will do a lap or two of the Camrock Trails. The bikes being demoed are the Surly Ice Cream Truck and the Surly Wednesday. Read more about it on the Facebook Events Page.

At 11:00 AM, Fitchburg Cycles, located at 2970 Cahill Main in Fitchburg, will be hosting their own Fat Bike Demo. Fat bikes from Giant and Borealis will be available. A photo ID, or a credit or debit card will be needed for a test ride. Beer and snacks will be provided and anyone who checks out a bike will be entered in a raffle to win one of a number of prizes from their vendors. Read more about this Fat Bike Demo at their Facebook Events Page.

Finally, Saturday is the Madison Santa Rampage. The Wisconsin Bike Fed is partnering with numerous local organizations to host the event. Rides from the west, north, east, and south will depart at 11:00 AM and convene at Library Mall where at noon they will ride up State Street Mall and around the Capitol Square. Learn more about the event from the Wisconsin Bike Fed page or the Facebook Events Page. Registration is $10 and goes to support a grant-match for Equity-based programs in Madison.


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.


Monday Update: Cannonball, Winter Biking, Global Fat Bike Day

We hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Weekend! Yours truly stayed in town, ate Tofurkey, and on Sunday braved the horrible weather to go for a bike ride. While I certainly prefer riding in nicer weather, being outside always makes me feel better, even in sleet and rain and snow. Speaking of, many of this week's bike events are about winter riding.

On Wednesday at noon, the UW's University Bicycle Resource center offers a Ride Through Winter workshop: "Tips on biking through the winter including lessons learned from a winter bicycling veteran. Suggestions for clothing and other gear plus basic winter maintenance tips and available resources. Class taught by UW Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator Chuck Strawser. Free Planet Bike blinky light set to the first five (5) attendees. Bring a brown bag lunch! All events are free and are held at the University Bicycle Resource Center in the Helen C. White Garage (Lot 6) at 600 N. Park Street, unless otherwise noted. There is no registration required. Classes are first come, first served (limit 20 people per event)." If you missed the Winter Bike Fashion Show, this is a great opportunity to make up for it. Starts at noon.

Later on Wednesday, a public input meeting on the next (and possibly final) phase of the Cannonball Path will take place. The path currently ends at Fish Hatchery Road, with no low-stress connection from there to the Wingra Creek Path. Initial plans to continue the path along the railroad line have faced a number of hurdles, and the City is now seeking input on how to close this gap. One proposed option is to build a multi-use path along Fish Hatchery Road; the other is to further pursue the railroad alignment. 6 pm at Wright Middle School, Library Media Center, 1717 Fish Hatchery Road. More info on the project page.

On Friday evening, the MTB advocates from Capital City Offroad Pathfinders (CORP) are having their annual meeting at Slow Roll Cycles on the east side. After a short business part, there will be "food and drink to show our appreciation for our members and volunteers, a review of 2019's highlights and plans for 2020, and the awarding of the coveted Volunteer of the Year Award." Starts at 5:30pm, 4118 Monona Dr.

On Saturday it's Global Fat Bike Day. You can join CORP and Bell Joy Ride for some fat bike fun at the Camrock trails in Cambridge if (and that's a big if!) the trails are dry or frozen. Make sure to check the event page right before you head out there.

Finally, if you missed the Winter Bike Fashion Show and Wednesday winter biking workshop at UW, there's one more opportunity to learn about winter riding. Freewheel Bicycle Collective is hosting a "Winter Biking Workshop with Eric" on Saturday. Eric? Yeah, that Eric, one of our Fashion Show models:

Photo: Dan Stout

Workshop starts at noon, more info here. 1804 S Park Street, #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.


On Thanksgiving, thanks for supporting us!

Cranksgiving at the Capitol

 

As many of us gather with family and reflect on the things for which we give thanks, we want to take a moment to thank YOU for supporting us. We are an all-volunteer organization, so we depend on your members and friends to do the work we do: contact elected officials, write blog posts and on Facebook, help us with events, show up at meetings, and yes, donate to us as well. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

The past week

The Cap City Trail is back open after some upgrades and repair work. Flooding took a toll on the trail, especially where it crosses streams and passes through storm water areas. You will notice some dramatic changes in a couple of places, but the trail should hold up better in the future. 

The Cranksgiving ride collected tons of food to donate the Goodman Community Center for the Thanksgiving baskets they make for families that can’t afford a good dinner. I ran into the ride up at the Capitol, and I was very proud of our dedicated bike community. But the Goodman Center is still taking additional donations through  Monday, so it you can help, I’m sure they would be grateful.  

The BCycles have gone into hibernation for the winter. They will be back March 15.

Correction: BCycles will still be around until December 14. They will then return March 15. Apologies for the mistake.

E-bikes are officially legal in Wisconsin, although municipalities can ban them from paths. If you have strong feelings, feel free to contact your alder.

 

This week

There isn’t much going on this week, given Thanksgiving on Thursday and all. We had a little reprieve from our early winter this past week, and lots of people were out biking. But true winter is on the way, and while we still don't know what the predicted winter storm will bring, but it looks like it will be messy and nasty. If you are biking to a yummy dinner (or driving, walking, or taking the bus), be careful out there.

Monday

The Madison Bikes Community Meeting will meet at 6:00 pm at Bendy Works, 106 E Doty St, 2nd floor. This is the meeting where we invite all our volunteers, or those who are just interested in helping, to meet with us and discuss upcoming projects. We will be talking about what types of activities we want to hold this winter and various advocacy issues.

Also on Monday, Bike Fitchburg hold its monthly meeting, 6:30 pm at the Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd.

You can learn more about Madison Freewheel on the WORT Access Hour at 7:00 pm. Tune in to the Access Hour in the Madison area on 89.9 FM, or livestream anywhere in the world via http://www.wortfm.org. Learn more about the Madison Bike Center soon to open in the Judge Doyle Square Building downtown. You can also learn about Freewheel's charitable work and how to use their facilities and support their mission of free bike access for everyone.  

Saturday

Celebrate the release of the Trek Midwest Beer. Joy the fun with a 24 mile bike ride around Madison to celebrate the great Cross season. Bring your friends! Ride will LEAVE Cafe Domestique at 9 am, ending at Working Draft for the tapping of Trek Midwest Beer. Route: https://www.strava.com/routes/22276945 (Seminole Trails will not happen if the trails are closed). Cafe Domestique will graciously be providing pre-ride coffee and doughnuts!

 

 


Monday Update: Bike Elevator Down, Transpo Commission, Cyclocross, and more!

Path Clearing under Verona Road. (Photo by City of Madison Engineering.)

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, the Council adopted an Operating Budget that funds snow and ice clearing for Madison’s arterial shared use paths within 12 hours of a winter weather event! Previously there were only funds to keep the paths cleared on weekdays and non-holidays. This is a major victory for biking and walking in Madison. It will prevent some of the major issues with clearing paths on Monday after a Friday snow where a weekend’s worth of walking and biking compacts snow and creates dangerous, icy patches that cannot easily be removed. This will also help keep the paths clear for commuters whose job schedules don’t revolve around a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday schedule.

Also in the budget: $350K towards the implementation of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety. Introduced as an amendment by Alder Grant Foster, all council members signed on as co-sponsors and the amendment passed unanimously. The money will be available to do safety enhancements to some of our city's most dangerous intersections and corridors in the coming year. Vision Zero, which aims to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries, will be a larger process, but it's great that we have some money available to kickstart it.

Thanks to everyone who emailed their alder in support of this vital path maintenance!

The Monona Terrace Bike Elevator is down! @MononaTerrace reported on Tuesday that the Bike Elevator has suffered a breakdown. At this time it is believed the bike elevator will be operational some time this week after substantial repairs are made.

This Week

 Monday, November 18,

The monthly Madison Bikes Board Meeting will be held at 6:00 PM in the first floor conference room of Madison’s Central Library.

Tuesday, November 19,

At 7:00 PM in the Discovery Building on the corner of Randall and University, the Crossroads of Ideas: How Can We Move Forward on Wisconsin Transportation? lecture will discuss the future of transportation in Wisconsin. The lecture will be in the H. F. Deluca Forum. The lecture will be held by several local transportation officials including Madison Bikes Board Member Robbie Webber and City of Madison Traffic Engineer Yang Tao. This event is free to attend, but registration is requested. Learn more about this event on the Facebook Events page.

Wednesday, November 20,

The Transportation Commission is meeting at 5:00 PM in Room 215 of the Madison Municipal Building at 215 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. The Transportation Commission will be reviewing the Third Quarter Traffic Safety Report by Madison Police and the City Engineering’s 2020 Projects among other items. You can read the full agenda here.

At 6:45 PM Slow Roll Cycles at 4118 Monona Drive, near the intersection with Buckeye Road, will be hosting a Suspension 101 class. The class will cover basic suspension theory and basic set up and maintenance. You can read more about this class on their Facebook Events page.

Saturday, November 23,

Join Revolution Cycles and Trek at the Trek HQ in Waterloo at 9:00 AM for the 2019 Wisconsin State Cyclocross Championships! Learn more about the event on their Facebook Events page.

Sunday, November 24,

At 10:00 AM join Bombay Bicycle Club for the Bombay Freezaroo Ride. The ride is 26 miles round trip with a coffee stop at the half-way point in Cross Plains. The ride starts at Garner Park on Madison’s west side. The event has a Facebook Events page you can follow..

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.


Winter Bike Fashion 2019: Photos!

Just before it got really, really cold, the 9th edition of the Winter Bike Fashion Show took place on November 2. With record attendance of 125 people, we had a successful event. An edutainment event in the best sense, twelve people from the community who already bike in the winter, shared their knowledge and showed off their outfits to those who aren't yet riding in the winter. Our awesome photography crew -- Dan Stout and Mark Renner -- produced these great shots of the event. Still to come: video of the Q&A for those who couldn't make it.

Thanks to our models, event volunteers, Natalie Kuehn for designing the flyer, the High Noon Saloon for hosting us, Teddywedgers for feeding us pasties, and the local businesses who donated door prizes: Bloom Bake Shop, Cafe Domestique, The Cargo Bike Shop, EVP Coffee, Fitchburg Cycles, Planet Bike, Slow Roll Cycles, and Saris.

For lots more pictures, check out Dan's or Mark's full albums.

Brittingham Boats and Planet Bike let us borrow their bike racks. Subtle hint to the High Noon Saloon: You need more racks! (Photo: Dan Stout)

Gina, one of our great volunteers at the event (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our board member Baltazar introducing the MC. He had also led a group ride to the Show from Monona Terrace.

Our MC for the night, Luis LuckyVoy Martinez, and our board member Liz (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our first model, Eric, who works at Freewheel Community Bike Shop and will soon hold his own winter biking workshop there. When it's really cold, he resorts to wearing a motorcycle helmet (Photo: Dan Stout)

Terry is in her 60s and has been car-free for many years. She bikes year-round. (Photo: Dan Stout)

We were super excited to have Yang Tao as a model. When he's not on stage as a model, he's Madison City Traffic Engineer. He's been winter-biking in Madison for 16 years! (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our board member Elysha and her daughter Abby are veterans of the Winter Bike Fashion Show. Watch out for them when they ride around all winter in their family cargo bike or on their own single bikes.

Tim--uh, I mean "Yukon Cornelius" riding in on his sled! (Photo: Mark Renner)

Alder Grant Foster (District 15) and our board member Pete informing attendees about a city budget amendment that would expand snow and ice clearing from 5 to 7 days a week. (Photo: Dan Stout)

Our photo booth had great accessories: Snotcicles, ice beard, foggy glasses (Photo: Dan Stout)

Photo: Dan Stout

Beth and her winter commuter bike. She bikes from the east side to her job on the west side, and she "refuses to let weather determine my happiness" (Photo: Dan Stout)

Caleb's secret weapon for winter biking: Electric gloves! (Photo: Dan Stout)

One model, Nick, failed to wear his winter biking outfit! Or did he? No, in his velomobile he is protected from the elements and can get away with just wearing a sweater. (Photo: Dan Stout)

Winter biking can (but doesn't have to be) expensive. Carlton talks about how as a grad student on a limited budget he slowly accumulated and refined his gear over time.

Heather and her three kids (who were slightly distracted by the velomobile...)

When Andy isn't busy running his bike shop in Lake Mills or Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison, he does recreational rides, no matter the season.

Michael has been doing the winter bike thing since the 1990s. Not only does he ride for transportation; he also has participated in exploits like the Triple-D, a 70-mile offroad bike race in Iowa in the depths of winter.

Q&A with the models. I believe the question was how to deal with snot...

Renowned local artists Jenn and Nicole had painted bike-themed winter scenes that helped us raise over $300 in the silent auction.

Let's end with some pics of the audience and more volunteers:

Happy Winter Biking!


Action Alert: Path clearing, Vision Zero

The Common Council is going to finalize the city's operating and capital budgets this week, starting on Tuesday. That means it's time again to make your voice heard for biking, walking, and traffic safety. There are two items below that could use your voice.

1. Thanks in no small part to your response to our previous action alert, a budget amendment to clear our arterial shared use paths such as the Cap City and SW Path clear of ice and snow 7 days a week passed at the Finance Committee. However, now Alders Moreland (District 7) and Tierney (District 16) have proposed an amendment that would eliminate that funding (among other things such as funding for bus rapid transit positions and more staffing at Pinney Library). Please contact your district's Alder and the whole Common Council to oppose cutting the funding for path clearance.

2. In the capital budget, there is an amendment to allocate $350,000 to "advance the implementation of Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate all severe injury and fatal crashes on City streets." Vision Zero is an approach to traffic safety that views every crash as preventable, that looks at the problem from a systemic perspective, and that acknowledges that humans will make errors, but builds a "forgiving" system that means those errors don't lead to people getting killed or injured. Many US cities such as Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York have adopted Vision Zero, and this funding would help us jumpstart Vision Zero in Madison as well.

How to contact your alder? The easiest way is to email to allalders@cityofmadison.com. This will distribute your email to all members of the Council. Alternatively you can use this contact form. If you don't know who your Alder is, you can find out here. We recommend sending your email to all Alders. Please also include your full name and your address so that Alders know you actually live in their district. Please send your email before noon on Tuesday, November 12.

The emails don't have to be long--the alders will thank your for being brief--but it helps to put them in your own words and say why this is important to you. Below is sample language, but we suggest you add a sentence or two of your own.

"I oppose the removal of funding from the operating budget for snow and ice control on arterial shared use paths adopted by Finance Committee amendment #21: $65,000, as proposed as part of operating budget amendment 1b."

"I support the capital budget amendment 19, which would allocate funding "to advance the implementation of Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate all severe injury and fatal crashes on City streets."

 

 


Public Meetings and Winter Bike Fashion Show in the News

Last Week

The Capital City Trail paving wrapped up but the bridge at Longford Terrace is still out. 

Winter Bike Fashion Show was a success! We are very thankful to everyone who helped make it happen, the volunteers, models, and everyone who came to watch. Check out the wonderful coverage we were given by Channel 3. 

This Week

Monday

Blair Street Public Information Meeting - Blair Street is scheduled for reconstruction from John Nolen Drive to East Washington in 2022. The City of Madison is working jointly with the State Department of Transportation on design and construction of the project. The project will include safety improvements at the Wilson Street/Williamson Street intersection as well as pavement replacement of Blair St from Wilson/Williamson to East Washington and E Washington from Blair Street to Blount Street. The public is invited a public information meeting scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m., Nov. 4, Madison Municipal Building Room 153, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Madison. At this meeting, engineers and project managers will talk about the details and plans for the intersection and pavement replacement projects. A more specific timeline of work will also be shared. There will be an opportunity to ask the project managers and engineers questions about the project, and the public is encouraged to attend.

 

Wednesday

Yoga for Cyclists will be at Trek on the West side from 6 pm to 7 pm. If you can pedal, you can Padmasana. Join yoga instructor Hope Henley for an evening focused on cycling-specific stretches and mind/body wellness. There will be a $10 fee to join the class, and they’ll cap the class at 40 people, so be sure to sign up in advance. This class is BYOM, so bring your own mat. Namaste!

 

Madison Area Transportation Planning Board Meeting 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. There will be a discussion of Transportation Alternatives Program Priorities and Downtown BRT Routing Introduction . An overview of the options is available here. The whole agenda can be found here

Saturday
2019 Sun Prairie Cup Cyclocross Race is 8:00am to 4:00pm at Sheehan Park, Sun Prairie - The Brazen Dropouts are excited to host the 2019 Sun Prairie Cup Cyclocross Race! We'll be bringing another fun, fast, and technical course. The Nitty Gritty will be on-site cooking up hot food and a kids race will be held in the middle of the day. More information is available here

Quarry Park Jump Jam hosted by Capital Off Road Pathfinders, Inc. is 11:30am to 2:30pm - It's the annual jump at Quarry Park. Life got busy and we had to push the date back a little later this year but it will be a good time regardless. There will be lots of low key contests for ALL ability and age riders. Don't know how to jump? Come learn! Family friendly, we cannot stress this enough. There is no rain date so if trails are muddy it will be canceled and y'all will have to wait till next year. Meet at the playground jump area. More info is available here

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.



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