We're creeping into spring

Photo credit: Linda Larsen

If you were out over the weekend, you saw lots more bicyclists out and about. Not everyone ventures out by bike in the winter, but it seems that everyone is eager to get back on as the weather warms and the snow melts. And that also means that there will probably be more events on our calendar as we get into later spring and the summer. Remember, you can find all the events and meetings that we know about by checking out our Community Calendar. You can also drop us a line if you have something to add. 

What happened last week?

Freewheel is starting a fundraising drive for their new bike center

On Saturday, Freewheel Bike Collective hosted a community meeting. Freewheel has been around in Madison for over 15 years, giving away free bikes to the community and teaching people how to build and repair bikes. Now a big expansion is on the horizon. As we have reported earlier, Freewheel was chosen by the city as the operator for the Judge Doyle Bicycle Center. The center, slated to open late this year, will provide secure bike parking, showers, a bike wash station, and space to repair bikes and teach bike repair classes. To make this expansion happen and raise money, Freewheel has started a big membership drive. You can check out the different membership options here. Stay tuned for a separate blog post about Freewheel and the Bicycle Center in the next few weeks.

Madison Bikes board and volunteers help out FB4K

Hard to believe, but not all the board members are good mechanics. Some of us just love bikes and want to help others get a bike and enoy the freedom we feel when we ride. So while some more experienced board and volunteers helped fix up bikes at Free Bikes for Kidz, the rest of us either cleaned the bikes or put training wheels on the smaller ones. We had a great time, and FB4K is a fantastic program. They always need help, so if you’d like to help, contact them. No experience needed!

Bike counter on John Nolen Path is working again!

Despite not displaying the numbers for passing bicyclists, the bike counter has been working all along. But some people worried that their cold-weather rides weren’t being recorded. Now you can once again see each and every rider be counted on the path. And if you are interested in seeing weather, day of week, or  monthly trends, you can also see the statistics for the counters at both the John Nolen Dr Path and the Southwest Path -- as well as some pedestrian counters on State St that you probably didn’t know existed -- on this page.


What’s up this week?


The Madison Bikes board will meet at the Central Library at 6:00 pm. Everyone is always welcome. We’ll be talking about plans for Bike Week in early June as well as updates from all our committees.

Just upstairs from our board meeting at the Central will be a mayoral debate starting at 7:00 pm. Satya Rhodes-Conway will face Paul Soglin on April 2 to determine who will be our mayor for the next four years. Your vote is very important, so please make sure to make your voice heard. You can vote absentee—aka early vote—at any public library starting March 18. City offices and locations on the UW campus, Madison College, and Edgewood are also available. You can find all the locations and hours here.


Women’s “Get to know your bike clinic” will be held at the Trek store on the east side— 1706 Eagan Rd--from 6:00-7:00 pm. Join Trek Bicycle Madison East for a clinic led by our women's advocate, Kelsey Walsh. We will discuss the anatomy of your bike and how to keep it well, clean and happy. Please bring your questions and your willingness to learn. This is FREE and open to the public. All attendees will receive 10% off maintenance supplies!


The Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200. This is the committee that helps push for better conditions in the city. So if you want to help our, we’d love to have you.


Neff Cycle Service is having a grand reopening after moving locations. (But not too far, just to a different space in the same building.) Enjoy food, drink, door prizes and lots of cool bikes and people! If the weather permits we will have a group ride in the morning before opening up the shop. 1:00-5:00 pm at 1490 Martin St, Madison.

Capital Goldsprints Series #1 GoldSprint Series returns for a THIRD season of BIKES, BEER, MUSIC and FUN! Hosted at Motorless Motion Bikes by MoMo Riders Club. Spin your fastest for great prizes or glory against your friends or fiercest rivals. This is a come-as-you-are event and all equipment is provided. No experience necessary, just come prepared to have fun. 7:00pm – 11:55pm at Motorless Motion Bicycles, 640 W Washington Ave.


What have we been talking about?

Over on the recently-renamed Madison Bikes Community Facebook group, here are a few posts from the last week that generated some discussion:

What paths are still icy? Or are they flooded now?

A student is compiling a list of all the bike-only traffic signals in the city.

Streetsblog had a little film about the craziest excuses against bike lanes, and local commenters added their own stories.

And people are talking about the mayoral election.


Monday Update: Events Committee, Freewheel Meeting, FB4K Ride

Photo credit: Michael Lemberger

What's happening in Madison this week? Hopefully nicer weather for biking, but it may be more like what you see in the picture above...

Tonight, on Monday, the Madison Bikes Events Committee has their monthly meeting. We will go over our plans for this year and see how we can best use our events to further the Madison Bikes mission. If you want to get involved or have ideas, you're very welcome to attend. 6pm at Rockhound Brewing on Park St.

The Transportation Commission is meeting on Wednesday. Looking at the agenda, there aren't any bike-related issues mentioned. The meeting is at the Madison Municipal Building, Room 207, starting at 5pm.

On Saturday, Freewheel Bike Collective is hosting a community meeting. After being selected to be the operators of the new Judge Doyle Square Bike Center, changes are coming to Freewheel, including a new membership model. "Come and join an informal presentation about what's changing and what's staying the same at Freewheel Bicycle Co, with food and drink provided." 1-4pm at Freewheel, 1804 S Park St, Ste 5.

On Sunday, you can join a fundraising bike ride for Free Bikes for Kidz Madison (FB4K). FB4K Executive Director Andy Quandt and Board Chair Peter Gray are celebrating their birthdays by going on a bike ride of various lengths. You can join them and/or support FB4K with a donation. More info on the Facebook event page.

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.

Monday Update: Spring is here (meteorologically speaking)

View from the Lower Yahara River Trail along Lake Waubesa last Thursday.


As of March 1st, we have entered a period known as “Meteorological spring”. It’s the period of the year that starts on March 1st, and ends on May 31st. Most of us are more familiar with the celestial definition of spring which starts on the vernal equinox (March 20th this year) and ends on the June solstice in the northern hemisphere. So even though the weather this week will still feel like winter, warmer weather is officially around the corner.


This Week


Monday, March 4,

The MEAThead Ride will be meeting at Ford’s Gym on Winnebago St. at its usual time of 7 PM.With Daylight Savings Time around the corner, this is actually the last official ride of the season.

At 5 PM, Madison’s Transportation Policy and Planning Board will meet to approve an amendment to the city’s Street Use Permits law, to discuss the Bassett Street Corridor Plan, and more. Read the full agenda here.


Tuesday, March 5

Madison Bikes Communications Committee meets at 6 PM instead of the usual 5:30, and will be meeting in the Sunset Lounge of the Memorial Union. The Communications Committee oversees Madison Bikes public communications, including the Facebook Discussion page, the weekly update blogs, and other communication efforts. The agenda can be found here.

The Madison Common Council will also be meeting at 6:30 in the Common Council Chambers at the City County Building. One of the agenda items will be approving the geometry for the Gammon Road project which will include an extension of the West Towne Path, currently ending at the Struck Street underpass west to just past Gammon Road, including a new underpass of Gammon. You can read the full agenda here.


Wednesday, February 6

The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) will be meeting at 6:30 PM in Rooms A-B of the Madison Water Utility building at 119 E. Olin Ave. Read the full agenda here.


Thursday, February 7

The County Board is meeting at 7 PM in the Council Chambers at the City County Building. Among other agenda items, the Board will be approving a land purchase that will help get the Lower Yahara River Trail built along the north end of Lake Kegonsa. Read the full agenda here.

Friday to Saturday

If you're in the market for a new bike, you can head to the annual Bike-O-Rama show at the Alliant Center, starting at noon on Friday and going until Sunday afternoon.


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.

Development Committee Returns!


This Week



Development committee is back! Join us tonight at 6 pm at Barriques on West Wash (127 W Washington Ave). After a hiatus, this committee returns. We will be reviewing previously set goals, as well as discussing what we hope to accomplish in 2019. Volunteers are encouraged to attend to help get this committee going again. 


Bike Fitchburg’s Monthly meeting will take place at Fitchburg Public Library starting at 6:30 pm.


MeatHEAD Ride, this ride starts every Monday at 7:00 PM November through March regardless of the weather. The ride starts at Ford’s Gym, 2114 Winnebago St in Madison. Read more about the group on their Facebook page.




The Transportation Commission will meet at 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd Room 206, Madison Municipal Building. On the agenda is the new diagonal crossing at Blount and Willy as part of their signal priority list. This intersection has the potential to be a great alternative to the hairball intersection. 



Remember, if you have an event for our Madison Bikes Community Calendar, send it to us so others can find it. And all the details about all the events are up on, or linked from that same calendar, so make sure to visit often.

Meet our new board members and officers!

We're already well under way into another year for Madison Bikes, and 2019 comes with a number of new faces on our board or directors!  In addition, we have a new president and vice-president. But let me start by introducing our new board members: Jake Foley, Elysha Jones, Steph Shelton, Peter Taglia, and Jim Wilson.

Jake Foley

Jake Foley moved to Madison with his family in 2015, and lives on the North side with his wife, daughter and soon to be new baby. Relocating to Madison to design bikes for Trek Bicycle, Jake has enjoyed planting roots in the community. Using his background in art and design Jake is thrilled to be involved with Madison Bikes, where he hopes to contribute in efforts to improve the infrastructure of our great city. Having traveled all over the world for Trek, Jake is inspired and excited to bring some influences to Madison to help make it the number one cycling city in the world. In his spare time he enjoys commuting by bike, trail running, playing basketball, racing cyclocross, mountain biking, paddle boarding, and water skiing. 

Elysha Jones

Elysha Jones grew up in St. Louis, MO. The bicycle infrastructure there was lacking, especially if you wanted to bicycle with children, so her and her family looked for a more bike friendly city. Madison fit the bill beautifully and they have called it home now for the last 7 years. Elysha is a stay at home mom who does most of her errands by bike, that includes picking her two daughters, aged 5 and 9 up from school along with another neighbor girl who hitches a ride everyday in Elysha's bakfiet. She is a year round cyclist and strives to be as "car lite" as she can be.

Steph Shelton

Steph was born and raised in Racine, WI. After living in other states and serving in the Peace Corps, she returned to Wisconsin and has been living in Madison for five years. As a year-round bike commuter and a dedicated cyclocross biker, Steph believes that safe biking can and should be accessible for all Madison residents. As such, she hopes to make an impact on making year-round biking a choice for all. Steph currently holds an MS degree in Population Health and works as a Cancer Data Specialist at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Peter Taglia

Peter began to see the potential for bicycles as a healthy and sustainable form of transportation while attending college in Missoula Montana. After moving to Madison in the late 1990s to attend graduate school and start a family, Peter began to advocate for bicycles as a student representative to the UW-Madison Transportation Committee. He continued to volunteer for bicycle infrastructure and policies while towing his two children in a beloved bike trailer while his career as an environmental geologist exposed him to details of the energy and water impacts of various sectors of the economy. 
Peter's work experience includes environmental investigations, remediation, and permitting at an engineering firm (2001 - 2005), environmental policy, research and advocacy as the staff scientist for Clean Wisconsin (2005 - 2011) and continued environmental work as an independent consultant for clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He has served as a board member for the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute at UW-Madison and the Bayview Foundation, a low-income housing provider in his neighborhood, and on local, state and regional commissions and task forces. Peter lives in a 102 year old home in downtown Madison where he also hosts guests as a licensed short term rooming house.

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

Jim has lived and bicycled in the Madison area his whole life. Finding his bicycle to be a more reliable, more affordable, and healthier form of transportation, he ditched the car lifestyle in late 2013 and has been car-free since. Around the same time, he began actively learning about the issues surrounding bike advocacy in order to help make Madison a place where anybody can bike anywhere conveniently and comfortably year-round. Jim first learned of Madison Bikes at the 2017 Brazen Dropouts Bike Swap, and became active with the Advocacy Committee a few months later. Having graduated from the UW-Madison’s College of Engineering in December 2018, he hopes to put his knowledge to work in a bicycle-related field and help promote biking everywhere, but most importantly in his home city of Madison.

New President and Vice-President

Grant Foster has been the one who got Madison Bikes started. Back in 2015, he invited us to his house, and gathered around the dining room table we made plans for founding what would eventually become Madison Bikes. Since our incorporation as a non-profit, Grant has been our President. While Grant remains on the board and has no intention of moving away from bike advocacy,  he stepped down as president of Madison Bikes to focus on his run for Common Council in District 15. Without any exaggeration I can say: Without Grant, Madison Bikes would not exist and be what it is now.

Grant's successor as president is -- well, me, Harald. I'm very excited to work with our board, with our awesome volunteers, and with the larger Madison Bikes community to pursue the Madison Bikes vision. I strongly believe in a bottom-up approach to bike advocacy, as we have pursued it up to now. I want to keep Madison Bikes an organization that is anchored in its community and that runs an effective, lean operation. We're 100% run by volunteers, and so we always have to be mindful of how we can best put to use our board's and our volunteers' capacity to achieve our goals.

Taking over as vice-president is Heather Pape. Heather joined Madison Bikes in 2016 and has been our Communications Committee chair since then. I'm very happy to team up with Heather to keep Madison Bikes rolling along! Our to-do list is long, and we're eager to get to work on it.

Finally, I want to say thanks to the board members who stepped down last year: Hank Weiss, India Viola, Michael Lemberger, Kevin Mulcahy, and Becky Jollay. Please stay involved with Madison Bikes, and thanks for your contributions over the years!

To a successful 2019!

Monday Update: Wilson St, Primaries, Middleton

Are you tired of the snow yet? I sure am, but nonetheless I made the best of it today: Snowshoes on the back of my fat bike, I rode the Southwest Path and Military Ridge to the Quarry Ridge trails. It was a bit of a slog on the way, but the snowshoeing was great. And on the way back I was very happy to see that the city had already brushed clear much of the SW Path! In the past, snow clearing on the weekend has always been an issue, but it seems like things are getting better. Thanks to the city staff who were out there on the trail today!

Before we get started with the events for the week, a quick reminder that we have a survey about Winter Bike Week out there. If you haven't taken it already, we'd appreciate your response. Your feedback will help us plan for future events and make improvements. Survey link.

This week

Monday starts with a public input meeting on the Wilson St corridor study. This meeting was originally scheduled during the worst of the polar vortex and had to be rescheduled. Making Wilson Street a bike-friendly place, with protected infrastructure that works for people of all ages and abilities, has been a key advocacy priority for Madison Bikes. Please consider coming to the meeting to see what the city has on offer. Madison Municipal Building, Room 215, 7pm.

On Tuesday, it's election day. Primaries are taking place for Madison mayor and for several common council and school board seats. If you want to know what the mayoral candidates have to say about biking and transportation, read their answers to our candidate questionnaire. Information on how and where to vote is on the City Clerk's website: https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/elections-voting

On Wednesday evening, the Madison Bikes advocacy committee is scheduled to meet. We're having to meet at a different location this month, and so if you're interested in attending, please send an email to harald@madisonbikes.org.

On Thursday, Middleton's Pedestrian, Bike, and Transit Committee is meeting. The most exciting on the agenda is an update on the Northeast Mendota Trail, slated to provide a safe alternative to Century Ave. An engineering firm has created preliminary plans, and Middleton City Planner Mark Opitz will provide updates on this. Middleton Council Chambers, 6:30pm.

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.

Monday Update: Winter Bike Week is over; winter is not

Phew, what a week! Winter Bike Week this year had a total of 29 different events -- and what felt like 29 different kinds of challenging winter weather. Thanks to everyone who participated anyway, and of course a big thanks to all Madison Bikes board members and volunteers, and to our partners in making this happen. We'd appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes and complete our Winter Bike Week survey.

This week

With Winter Bike Week over, the Madison Bikes events committee is meeting on Monday to plan our the rest of the year. If you're interested in being involved, join us at Rockhound Brewing Company on Park Street at 6pm.

The primary elections for mayor and common council in Madison are on February 19, and early voting has started already. Young, Gifted and Black are hosting the "People's Mayoral Forum: Getting Past the Politics" at the Central Library at 6:30pm on Monday. As a reminder, you can also learn more about the candidates' positions on transportation and biking through the Madison Bikes candidate questionnaire.

And of course winter and Monday means that the MEATHead ride is happening. Meet at 7pm at Ford's Gym for a social loop around Lake Monona.

Bassett Street proposal for protected bike lanes

On Wednesday, the city's Transportation Commission will meet. The most exciting item on the agenda: The approval of plans for Bassett Street between Dayton St and West Washington Ave. Bassett Street is one of the few locations where we have built a physically protected bike lane in the past few years. However, it only extends for a very short stretch for now. As far as we know, the proposal in front of the commission now extends the protected lane for another two blocks. The meeting is at the Madison Municipal Building and starts at 5pm.

On Saturday, you'll have the opportunity to test ride some Surly mountain bikes at "The Farm," a trail system west of town. And in the evening you have the chance to attend another mayoral candidate forum, at the First Unitarian Society starting at 6pm

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 our work, consider donating to Madison Bikes.


What do Madison's mayoral candidates think about biking?

Early voting for the primary elections for Madison mayor has already started. To help voters inform their decisions, we have sent all candidates four questions related to biking and transportation:

  1. Concerns about car parking have been a major obstacle when it comes to a shift in our transportation system. Removing on-street parking is often necessary to build dedicated bus lanes, protected bike lanes, or safer pedestrian crossings. As mayor, what would your policy be toward trading on-street parking for safer and better active transportation options?
  2. As many other cities, Madison has many inequities when it comes to transportation. Poorer neighborhoods and neighborhoods with a higher proportion of people of color often lack access to good transit, safe walking and biking, or to green space. On the other hand, these are often the neighborhoods were people are least able to afford a car. How are you going to address these inequities in transportation access?
  3. Forty years ago, over sixty percent of school children in the US walked or rode a bicycle to school. Today, that figure is less than ten percent. This decline in bicycling and walking and physical activity in general) has been mirrored by dramatic increases in negative health impacts for kids. What would you do to reverse this trend?
  4. The percentage of people biking in Madison has been stagnating at around five percent for the past ten years. Where would you like that number to be in 2025 and how are you going to get us there? How many miles of protected bike lanes will the city have built by the end of your first term?

Read the candidates' answers on our website: https://www.madisonbikes.org/candidate_questionnaires

Madison Bikes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and does not endorse or oppose any candidate for political office.

Monday Update: Winter Bike Week is here (and more)

We made it through the cold snap! The weather this week looks to return to more normal winter conditions, which is perfect because this week is Winter Bike Week! Madison Bikes is organizing Winter Bike Week as an event to encourage and celebrate riding throughout the winter. Events include group rides, bike stations for winter riders, bike maintenance/skills classes, a winter bike photo contest, bike happy hours and more! Since there are so many Winter Bike Week events going on this week, I will not be covering them all in this post but mention a few highlights. For up-to-date and complete information regarding winter bike week events, please refer to the Madison Bikes Winter Bike Week web page: https://www.madisonbikes.org/winterbikeweek

Mayoral Candidate Questionnaires

As Madison’s mayoral primary is coming up fast, we’ve sent out a questionnaire to each candidate asking about a variety of bike-related topics. You can expect the responses to be published Tuesday morning.


Last Week

Madison saw a new record low temperature for January 31st Thursday morning at -26°F, but even the cold weather did not keep people from biking. Unfortunately, due to lake conditions, the Frozen Assets Bike Race and Sled Pull were canceled, but Winter Bike Week is just beginning, so there are lots more events to attend.

The Wilson Street Public Input Meeting #3 that was scheduled for this past Thursday was rescheduled due to the cold weather to Monday February 18. We feel improving this street is crucial to our mission to make Madison a city where anyone can bike conveniently and comfortably to anyplace year round. You can read the action alert that was sent out before the meeting to familiarize yourself with this important gap in Madison’s bike network.

This Week

It’s Winter Bike Week! As mentioned earlier, I will not be covering all of the events here. You can find out what’s happening over at the Winter Bike Week web page: https://www.madisonbikes.org/winterbikeweek

All week long there will be a photo contest where you can participate at the following Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/791108974555609/ The theme is: Show us how you Winter Bike!

Today, Monday, February 4, kick off Winter Bike Week with Madison Bikes at the Law Park Bike Station from 7-9 AM which will be near Machinery Row. There will be coffee by EVP and treats from the Willy Street Co-op.

Also today there will be a meeting of Madison’s Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) at 5:00 PM in room 201 of the City County Building. There are a few important bicycle-related agenda items worth mentioning. First, there will be a discussion about bicycle facility planning, which will help guide transportation engineering on best practice treatments when constructing bicycle facilities that will allow people to feel safer biking on our bike network. Improving our bike network to improve the feeling of safety is a crucial step to encouraging the “interested but concerned” segment of the population, over half, to start biking more. Another important agenda item is the Wilson Street Corridor Study and the Bassett Street Corridor Study. These corridor studies will guide the long-term development of these crucial corridors here in Madison, both of which need significant improvements to make more bike friendly. Finally, there will be a discussion of next steps to take regarding Madison’s winter bikeway maintenance policies. This ongoing discussion is focused on crafting and adopting best practices for winter bikeway maintenance, which includes path and bike lane clearing. Here is the full agenda for this meeting.

At 6:30 PM, there will be a forum for mayoral candidates on the west side of town at Oakwood Village Center at 6205 Mineral Point Road. This will be a more casual format of mayoral forum and will provide the public an opportunity to talk with the candidates after the forum. See the Facebook event for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/289570018570045/

Tonight is also a MEAThead ride. This ride starts every Monday at 7:00 PM November through March regardless of the weather. The ride starts at Ford’s Gym, 2114 Winnebago St in Madison. Read more about the group on their Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 5, Winter Bike Week continues with Bike Fitchburg hosting a Commuter Station from 7-9 AM at the Velo UnderRound (i.e. the bicycle roundabout where the Capital City Trail, Badger State Trail, Cannonball Trail, and Military Ridge State Trial all meet). They will have hot drinks, bagels, free maps, and (empty) water bottles.

There will also be a Bike Station near Revolution Cycles from 7-9 AM serving coffee and treats. In the afternoon, Machinery Row Cycles will have an Indoor Bike Station from 4-6 PM. Stop by for coffee from Café Domestique and a free bike safety check.

On Tuesday evening, come to Just Bikes and Free Bikes 4 Kids' indoor bike shenanigans, starting at 4:30 pm. Track stand contests, an obstacle course, and much more at the giant Free Bikes 4 Kids space on the west side.

Wednesday, February 6, there will be an Indoor Bike Station from 7-9 AM at both HotelRED and Canteen on the Square. Both locations will feature coffee and treats.

Starting at 6:30 PM there will be a Northside Mayoral Candidate Forum at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center. Before the forum, starting at 6 there will be a meet and greet with the candidates. This is an opportunity for residents of the north side to get to know their mayoral candidates and to discuss north side specific issues. Read more about the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/359133981546598/

Thursday, February 7, there will be an outdoor Bike Station from 7-9 AM hosted by Café Domestique and The Cargo Bike Shop where the Cap City Trail intersects with Dickinson St. There will be free coffee and breakfast sausage corn dogs by Underground Food Collective.

At 6:30 PM, there will be a Madison Common Council District 15 Candidate Forum at Lake Edge UCC on Buckeye Rd. The candidates are Grant Foster, Angela Jenkins, and Justin Williams. Read more about the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1934248313360495/ (Disclosure: Grant Foster is a board member of Madison Bikes. We do not endorse or oppose any candidate for political office.)

Friday, February 8, there will be two Bike Stations from 7-9 AM: One b Taqueria & Tequila Bar on the square where there will be free coffee and churros, and one Outdoor Bike Station hosted by Design Concepts at E Wilson and Ingersoll on the Capital City Path with coffee and breakfast kebabs. At the Design Concepts Outdoor Bike Station you will also have the opportunity to clean and lube your chain, and get your portrait taken.

This is also International Winter Bike to Work Day, so all day we are encouraging folks to “Mob the Bike Counters” by trying to ride past either one of Madison’s two bike counters (on the Southwest Path by Regent and Monroe and on the Capital City Trail along John Nolen near North Shore Drive). Although the display at the Capital City Trail counter is not working, it is still picking up data that is provided publicly here: http://www.eco-public.com/ParcPublic/?id=4336

Finally, there will be an End-of-Week Happy Hour Celebration hosted by Madison Bikes at the Nutty Bar/Bandung (600 Williamson St) from 5-7 PM. Here we will have the results of the Winter Bike Week Photo Contest and door prizes to give away provided by Planet Bike.

Saturday, February 9, there will be a Up To Snow Good Dual Salom event held at Tyrol Basin. This is a spectator friendly bike race will include costumes, music, rowdy crowds, klunkers and epic wipe-outs because this race is on snow! You can sign up to compete or just come to watch, either way this one sounds like it will be a lot of fun. You can learn more about the event at their website: http://www.uptosnowgood.com/ or on the event’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/273221906596692/

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 our work, consider a donation to Madison Bikes.

Action Alert: Closing the Wilson Street Gap

Action Alert button

UPDATE 1/31: The meeting has been canceled because of the weather. It will be rescheduled at a later time.

We need your support. This Thursday (1/31) at 7pm, the third public input meeting on the Wilson Street corridor study is going to be held at the Madison Municipal Building (Room 260). We're assuming the meeting is going ahead as planned, despite the weather. After the public input meeting, the project still has to wend its ways through the city's committees, but it will be helpful to have people speak up now.

Please express your support in creating a safe and convenient bike corridor on Wilson Street, from the Cap City path at Machinery Row to the Cap City path at Broom and continuing to the connection with the SW Commuter path. Wilson Street is a major connection to the Capitol Square, and it currently lacks accommodations for people biking. We now have the opportunity to change this and close a major gap in our city's low-stress bike network.

What can you do?

There are two ways to take action:

1. Attend the meeting and speak

You can go to the meeting in person and voice your support for safe and comfortable bike facilities on the Wilson Street corridor. Some tips:

  • Mention why you care about the project -- do you live or work in the area? Do you want to ride to the government offices on Wilson or access the Square to reach businesses or restaurants? Have you tried riding on Wilson and had bad experiences?
  • Ask if what is being proposed at the meeting will allow seniors, kids, or people new to biking to ride on Wilson Street.
  • Ask for protected bike lanes -- even if you personally feel fine riding in an unbuffered bike lane or even sharing the lane with cars.
  • Don't get lost in the details. Details matter when it comes to great bike infrastructure. But at this point we need to focus on the big picture: Bike access on Wilson Street that works for people of all ages and all abilities.

2. Submit your comments by email

If you don't feel comfortable speaking at the meeting or would rather submit written comments, you can send them to the project lead Dave Trowbridge, Director of Transportation Tom Lynch, and Alder Mike Verveer. Also consider cc'ing us <info@madisonbikes.org>

Dave Trowbridge <dtrowbridge@cityofmadison.com>;
Tom Lynch <tlynch@cityofmadison.com>;
Mike Verveer <district4@cityofmadison.com>;

Here is some more background on the project:

Why Wilson Street? Why now?

Wilson Street has long been identified as a significant gap in Madison's bike network. Policy documents and plans such as Madison in Motion, the Downtown Plan, or the Judge Doyle Square Master Plan all have called for improving bike access to the areas east of the Capitol. Most recently, the Common Council adopted a resolution "to develop a plan for a bike friendly corridor on Wilson St, by the time the Judge Doyle Square Project is complete."

Wilson Street provides access to the cultural, political, and economic heart of our city. Over 27,000 jobs are in the area bounded by Bassett, Johnson, Blount, and John Nolen. State and municipal agencies and offices are on and near Wilson Street. The neighborhood also has dozens of retail businesses, restaurants and cultural institutions, and it hosts major cultural events such as Concerts on the Square. And soon Wilson Street will be the main access route for the Judge Doyle Square Bicycle Center.

However, the access that Wilson Street currently provides is mostly limited to those who drive. With no protected bike facilities, only the small group of strong and fearless cyclists is comfortable "sharing the lane" with motor vehicle traffic on Wilson. The much bigger proportion of people who is riding majority of people already biking or potentially biking either avoid the area or are forced onto the sidewalk---where they have to share limited space with people walking. The issue is made worse by the fact that there are no reasonable alternatives to Wilson Street from both the east and the west. Parallel streets are steeper, discontinuous, take people too far out of the way---or they fail to offer safe bike facilities just like Wilson St.

The City and its Department of Transportation have acknowledged these problems and are proactively working on multiple corridor studies in the area, including one on Wilson Street. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close this gap and vastly improve transportation options to and from downtown.

What do we need to close the gap?

The city needs to create a plan for the whole Wilson Street corridor that creates safe and low-stress bike access for people of all ages and abilities, following established guidance on bike facilities such as NACTO. Cross-sections and traffic volumes vary along the different sections of Wilson Street, and therefore the specific treatment may vary as well.

But it is clear that from Blair to Bassett a protected bike lane or cycletrack are the only options for an all-ages, all-abilities facility. The research on the topic is clear: Sharrows, pushing cyclists onto the sidewalk, one-way bike access, or steep and convoluted bike routes don’t work if we want to make biking an option for a significant proportion of the population.

Our city and its downtown are growing, and so it is essential that we create transportation options beyond the car. Doing so will improve population health, sustainability, and the livability of the heart of Madison. Let us act now and create safe and comfortable bike access on Wilson St: Let's close the Wilson Street Gap now.





get updates