Not much to report from last week, but there are some interesting happenings in the week ahead.
On Tuesday, get yourself to your polling place (if you haven’t already). Madison B-Cycle is offering free rides on election day, so there’s no excuse.
If you’re looking for one meeting to attend this week, I’d suggest Thursday’s East Johnson Street Reconstruction Meeting. Engineering will unveil their updated plan based on feedback from their first public meeting earlier this year. This will be a critical connector between Baldwin and First Street and will also include some potentially big alterations to First Street as well. Come see the plans and share your thoughts with city staff.
This is a guest post by Jacob Musha, sharing his advice for riding all throughout winter in relative comfort. As you'll see at the upcoming Bike Winter Fashion Show, everyone's approach to this is a little different, and a lot of it depends on where and how far you're riding. If you want to share your tips, you can do so in the comments below or write your own guest blog post! Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Kierstin Kloeckner
I’ve been bike commuting daily in Wisconsin winters for eight years. The response I get from nearly everyone, even fair-weather cyclists, is “you’re crazy,” followed by, “I don’t know how you do it.” The truth is that you don’t need to be a polar bear to bike in the winter. I’m so averse to cold that I shiver in swimming pools when the water temperature is below 80F... The key is to dress correctly.
On Monday, Robbie and I had a nice chat with Brian Standing on WORT’s 8 O’Clock Buzz. Check it out here or on the WORT FM website. As a reminder, you can find all past news coverage of Madison Bikes here.
Tuesday’s Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission meeting had a full agenda including a first look at a number of upcoming cross sections and a review of a new Request for Proposal for the Downtown Bike Center that will be built at Judge Doyle Square. I raised a number of questions and concerns about the RFP, referencing details found in this 2012 Report. While I’m very supportive of the bike center in concept, I think there’s a good chance of it failing if it’s not implemented and operated effectively. What could be worse publicity than a $1M bike investment in the heart of downtown that goes underutilized? As always, PBMVC meetings are available to watch online for anyone interested in tuning in live or watching the recordings.
On Wednesday, the Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee continued its work on reimagining and rewriting Madison’s transportation ordinance. It seems like the group has settled on the concept of creating a new Transportation Planning and Policy Board and is looking at potentially combining all of the other transportation commissions into a new single Transportation Commission. While there is certainly value in connecting the dots between the various elements of our transportation system, the new commission is currently drafted to have only seven seats with no requirement for representatives from any of the transportation modes that we are trying to strengthen (ped, bike, transit). This is really important and fundamental work, so please stay tuned and be ready to advocate to keep cycling’s seat at the table.
There are two opportunities to get involved directly with Madison Bikes this week. On Tuesday, join the Communications Committee at Cafe Hollander and, Wednesday, meet up with the Advocacy Committee at Cargo Coffee. Check the calendar for details and feel free to stop in and check it out.
And, on Friday, you have an opportunity to support the Bike Fed and statewide bike advocacy by attending the 2016 Saris Gala.
What?? It’s time for the 6th Annual Madison Bike Winter Fashion Show!!
When?? Saturday, November 19th, 11:30a-2:30p at the High Noon Saloon
Do you love to ride your bike in winter? Have you discovered the secret to staying warm and dry?
New sharrows on Jenifer Street
Last week, Madison Bikes joined City of Madison Traffic Engineering for a webinar and discussion on "Safer Intersections for Peds & Cyclists." The focus of the webinar was on protected bike lanes, and examples were shown from Vancouver and the Netherlands. Protected intersections are ultimately an extension of protected bike lanes, so we’ll need to work on getting a few protected lanes installed before we can take advantage of the designs shared here. City staff said that there are currently no plans for a protected bike lane in the city...
In other news, buses will be returning to a newly reconstructed Jenifer Street, which has also received bike sharrows. The new cross section is 2’ narrower than it was before reconstruction and also features some bump outs for improved pedestrian crossing. Time will tell how these small adjustments will affect bike travel on Jenny.
The Madison in Motion Oversight Committee talked some more about performance measures and will start sending the draft plan around to city committees with hopes of council adoption in early 2017.
And the Madison Bikes Events Committee continued its planning for the Winter Bike Fashion Show slated for Saturday, November 19 at High Noon Saloon.
Monday: Robbie and Grant will talk Madison Bikes on WORT 8 O’Clock Buzz, and at 5:30 pm city staff give a complete streets presentation in the Lake Edge neighborhood in response to some neighbors’ concerns about adding sidewalks and bike lanes on an upcoming project.
Tuesday: The Pedestrian, Bike, and Motor Vehicle Commission includes a review of an Request for Proposals for a Bike Center operator in the new Judge Doyle Square project downtown. At 6:00 pm at Hotel Red there’s a Regent Street Visioning Open House.
Wednesday: Work continues on rewriting the city’s transportation ordinance including an updated transportation committee structure at this month’s Transportation Ordinance Review Committee meeting.
Thursday: City staff will present a new proposed cross section at the Monroe Street Cross Section Open House at Edgewood College at 6:00 pm. This is the last planned public meeting before the design moves through city committees and the council.
Editor's note: This guest post is crossposted from Kierstin Kloeckner's blog. Kierstin is a cyclist and bike advocate who lives and works in Middleton. Last week she she organized the Middleton Bike Infrastructure Ride to highlight the significant gaps in cycling infrastructure in Middleton, especially when it comes to accommodating people commuting and kids getting to and from school. And some concrete results have already started to materialize.
Once in awhile, an experience is presented to us when something really bad can be turned into something possibly good. It's usually a split second decision that will tip it in one direction or another. This past week, I was given a chance to prove, not to anyone else but myself, that this can sometimes happen.Read more
The week started out with an event in Middleton: Local cyclist and bike advocate Kierstin, who the week before had been forced off the road by a person driving aggressively, organized a Middleton Bike Infrastructure Ride on Monday evening. The ride showcased some of the significant gaps in the bike network in Middleton and brought together both local advocates and supporters from Madison (and Madison Bikes...). Kierstin will publish a guest post about her the ride and her efforts on the Madison Bikes blog later this week.
It turns out all the traffic at Warner Park on Thursday was actually there to watch the Mallards play and not to carry in hundreds of participants for the Regional Transportation Plan 2050 Public Involvement Meeting. In fact, I’m not sure if there was anyone in attendance who wasn’t a staff person, transportation committee member or reporter. I didn’t stay for the whole slide deck, but I did look at all of the maps that depicted current and future bike routes. I think there’s a lot of work needed on these maps to make them meaningful sources of information. On the pedestrian side, there are clearly marked Tier 1 and Tier 2 priority gaps that are prioritized for improvements. On the bike side, there’s no way at all to tell where the most important gaps are currently or how we should go about prioritizing. Until we start clearly identifying our current All Ages and Abilities/Low Stress bike network and the missing links, we’re going to continue to struggle to make any real headway. These maps aren’t up yet, but should be available online soon.
Protected intersection design in Chicago (Source: John Greenfield (https://www.flickr.com/photos/24858199@N00/26125689470)
Monday: The Madison Bikes Events Committee meets to continue planning for the Winter Bike Fashion Show slated for Saturday, November 19 at the High Noon Saloon.
Wednesday: On Wednesday, City of Madison Traffic Engineering is hosting a Webinar & Chat: Safer Intersections for Peds & Cyclists at the Madison Municipal Building at 2:00pm. The event is open to anyone, but please RSVP on the linked Facebook page.
At 5:00, the Transit & Parking Commission meeting begins and will include an informational presentation on a potential bus route move from Jenifer to Williamson Street.
Also at 5:00 will also be another chance to see the Regional Transportation Plan 2050 presentation, this time at Middleton’s city hall.
Thursday: Madison in Motion Oversight Committee meets for the first time since June. They’ll be reviewing the public input received to date and discussing next steps.
Also on Thursday will be your last chance to catch the Regional Transportation Plan 2050 presentation, this time in Fitchburg.
It was a quiet week last week that gave Madison Bikes Board and Events Committee members time to meet. Things are starting to come together for the Winter Bike Fashion Show slated for Saturday, November 19th.
Monday: Help highlight the need for improved bike facilities in Middleton by joining Kierstin on her Middleton Ride for Safety.
Thursday: There’s something for everyone this Thursday. Head up to Warner Park to take a look at the draft Regional Transportation Plan and provide your feedback. Or stop in at the Old Sugar Distillery for the Love to Ride Finale Party. For those with connections to Sun Prairie, you should head to the Watertower Chop House for the Sun Prairie Bicycling Advocacy Group’s October meeting. Or if none of that catches your interest, ride out to REI for a class on Cold Weather Cycling Basics class.
For details on any of these events, head to the Madison Bikes calendar. If there are events that you think are missing on the calendar, send them in to email@example.com and we’ll get them posted.
I’m far from a biking expert: I have a hard enough time spelling ‘derailleur,’ let alone explaining what one does; I leave flat-fixing and chain-aligning to my husband; and I don't give a grip shift about the range of “gear inches” my bike offers. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the mechanical minutiae, I love to ride my bike and I’m a big believer in the benefits of a bike-centric approach to “getting around.”
I’m aware of the quantifiable advantages of bike versus motor-vehicle travel (gallons saved, emissions prevented, calories burned, etc). But as we’ve grown into a bike-dependent family I’ve also come to appreciate many advantages of biking that are harder to put a number on: the independence, fun, happiness, and sense of accomplishment that comes from “getting around” by bike. Furthermore, biking helps us better manage our pace of life, enjoy each other’s company, celebrate our strengths and encourage each other through struggles. There is time and space to interact with our kids and the world around us on a very tangible level.
How many of your car commutes were noteworthy enough to remember? Invariably, something happens on every bike ride - a new max speed achieved, a new route learned, a flat or two or three - that makes it memorable for one reason or another. We have the luxury of engaging in conversation with our kids that would otherwise be interrupted by the distraction of driving. While we ride, we deliberately work to help teach our kids safe biking practices, the rules of the road, how to be courteous on the bike paths, basic bike maintenance, and safe routes from our home to the places we frequently visit. The necessity of physical effort on everyone’s part provides a sense of accomplishment and teamwork just for getting to our destination and back home. Riding provides us an opportunity to share in an activity that is both healthy for our bodies and the environment and we all get a chance to embody a “can-do and I’ll try” attitude about life.
Although we bike year-round, summer gifts me extra time to go out riding with my kids. I like to call our bike outings “Urban Bike Adventures” because that is just what they are! We make a plan for where we want to go, how we will get there and what we need to bring. Then we hop on our bikes and set out. This summer our Urban Bike Adventures have taken us to Blue Mounds for a camping trip, across town to shop for Legos, to Picnic Point to roast marshmallows, to the library, out to lunch, just to run errands and more.
Urban Bike Adventures with kids can be easy and fun. Here are a few tips to get you past the “I could never do that” barrier and out on your bikes:
- Choose a fun destination. Some of our favorite destinations include the the ice cream shop, the library, a friend’s house, and to our favorite restaurants for breakfast.
- Anticipate delays, detours, impromptu play dates and changes in plans. Remember: It’s an adventure! Being prepared for a change in plans especially on longer rides can mean the difference between a positive experience or a challenging one. Be prepared to go with the flow. Pack snacks and water bottles to avoid hunger and thirst emergencies.
- Plan a route that feels safe before you head out. Use bike paths, bike boulevards, neighborhood streets, and streets with bike lanes. A slightly circuitous route that is quiet and more bike-friendly is worth a few minutes in extra travel time. Know where you are going before you leave.
- Make plenty of stops along the way to take breaks. We like to visit friends and make stops at the park to play if we need to rest.
- Always shout “Woo Hoo” when going down the big hills! Enjoy yourself and make it fun. Get out and ride together-it's so fun!
Do you go on adventure rides with your kids? Share your tips and stories in the comments!
[Grant Foster] said the group was created for people who bike around Madison and noticed opportunities for improvement in the city’s bike infrastructure. Many of those people felt like there was not a good way to organize and work towards fixing the problems that they saw.
“We decided to come together and create a space for that to happen,” Foster said. “Our vision is for a city where anyone can ride to and from any place in the city comfortably.”
Madison Bikes hopes to build out a network in Madison that will make cyclists feel more comfortable riding bicycles on the same roads as cars, Foster said. Many people are interesting in riding, but nervous to intermingling with cars.
“We don’t really envision Madison Bikes being the one that brings change on its own, more so a catalyst,” Foster said. “It really takes individual citizens to speak up, to share their input at city meetings.”