Action Alert: Winnebago Street, Again...

Winnebago Street is back at the Common Council, and we need your support.

A very brief reminder of what happened so far: In early May, the Common Council voted in favor of reconstructing Winnebago Street between 2nd St and Bashford with buffered bike lanes ("Option 2"). Mayor Soglin then vetoed the Council's decision. At a later Common Council meeting, there weren't enough votes to overturn the veto. Therefore the project was put on hold. This presented an opportunity for re-thinking the project in a larger context, all the way from the Yahara River to Union Corners.

What happens when your bike lanes are narrow and without protection...

Instead, Engineering brought back a new iteration of Option 1--the one that squeezes people on bikes into an unbuffered lane, with parked cars on one side and cars and buses on the other. And the one that the Council did not approve. The changes that Engineering made are merely cosmetic. The plan still forces people to bike in the door zone. They do not make the street safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.

Image credit: Bob Moore

Please write to the Common Council before the meeting on Tuesday and ask them to vote against this proposal. You can email the council at allalders@cityofmadison.com, and you can find your district's alder here. This is what I'm going to write:

Dear Alders:

I'm writing about the proposed plan to reconstruct Winnebago Street between 2nd St and Bashford Ave (agenda item 52086). I greatly appreciate that when the plan was in front of the Common Council in May, a majority of you voted for a cross-section that would have created buffered bike lanes. This would have created a Winnebago Street that is safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. The plans that are in front of you now fail to achieve this. People riding their bikes on Winnebago would be squeezed between a narrow parking lane on one side and motor vehicles on the other. The changes that have been made do not change that basic fact. Please do not approve the proposed design.

Thank you for you consideration.


Monday Update: Happy July 4th!

Last Week

It was the end of an era: The Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) met for one last time. Going forward, Madison now has a Director of Transportation, and PBMVC and many other transportation-related committees have been replaced by a Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB), and a Transportation Commission (TC). Time to get used to new acronyms and a new political process...

One important agenda item from the last PBMVC meeting was the return of the undead Winnebago Street Option 1 proposal. A few weeks back, the Common Council had voted for Option 2, which had buffered bike lanes and was supported by Madison Bikes. Mayor Soglin then vetoed the Council's decision, and at a subsequent Council meeting, there was no majority for any of the other options. Instead of going back to the drawing board and coming up with a comprehensive proposal for the whole corridor, Engineering made minor modifications to the failed Option 1 design and brought it back. "Option 1B," as it is now called, suffers the same flaws for people on bikes: In order to preserve as much free on-street parking as possible, people biking on Winnebago would be squeezed in between a narrow travel lane on one side and a narrow parking lane on the other. The proposal will be back at the Common Council on July 10, and it will be important to voice your opposition to Option 1B. Stay tuned for an action alert.

On a more positive note: The plans for reconstructing Atwood Avenue between Fair Oaks and Cottage Grove Road also were before PBMVC because the schedule for the project has been moved up. While not perfect, this project will greatly improve conditions for people on bikes and walking.

This week

Because of the holiday, things are quiet this week.

On Friday, Revolution Cycles Cycling Club has their kick-off party for the season. "Come meet the crew, learn about the club, try on some kit from Verge Sport, and enjoy yummy snacks from our sponsors, Banzo." 7pm at Revolution Cycles.

And on Saturday, the BiciClub Latino de Madison is organizing a 24-hour ride in support of immigrants and refugees. How does it work? "You can join this ride in two ways:

- Ride with Baltazar 30 minutes, one, two, three, or 24 hours.

- Ride anywhere 30 minutes, one, two, three, or 24 hours and post your pictures to this page's event. Ride solo or in teams

Only requirement: Use a white piece of fabric, or paper and write the following words: RIDING IN SUPPORT OF IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES and pin it to the back of shirt or jersey."

Also on Saturday is the Fitchburg Festival of Speed, which includes a sanctioned bike race as well as more relaxed riding options. More details on their website.


Dispatch from the Netherland, part 3: Innovation vs. Complacency

This is the third and final part of Jonathan Mertzig's series on biking and biking infrasctructure in the Netherlands. You can read part 1, about wayfinding and complete streets and networks here, and part 2 about multimodal transit and bike parking here.

While I was thoroughly impressed by the state of cycling in the Netherlands on my first visit, I think what has impressed me even more over the years is seeing the constant tweaks and innovations that continue to improve the biking experience.  The Dutch have established many great standards in areas like wayfinding and street design, but even these tried-and-true systems are constantly fine-tuned, like with a total refresh of wayfinding typography and various experiments in paving with eco-friendly materials and even glow-in-the-dark surfaces

In Tilburg, the city is trying out new “smart” traffic lights that use a cell phone app to track when cyclists are near. The lights can be changed in cyclists’ favor if a large group is approaching. A much broader rollout of a similar system is underway in nearby Den Bosch.

On my most recent trip, to the province of Noord-Brabant, I was pleased to find some cool things I hadn’t encountered before, like traffic signals in Tilburg and Den Bosch that track mobile phones to give clusters of cyclists a quicker green light, and a growing network of bike “superhighways” spreading from the center of Eindhoven (even including grade-separated portions avoiding the busiest roads!).   I’m always amazed at how careful thought and creative solutions are constantly applied to making biking better.

The province of Noord-Brabant is developing a network of “snelfietsweg” routes (basically freeways for bikes!) between major cities, converging on this stretch of spacious grade-separated paths around Eindhoven’s central station. Cyclists can quickly cruise below busy streets on a highway of their own.

Takeaways:  We can copy some really great, proven ideas from the Dutch to make cycling in Madison better, but don’t be afraid to promote some homegrown innovation!  And more importantly, just because we have reason to be proud of relatively great bike infrastructure and culture here in Madison, we should follow the most important lesson the Dutch provide:  Never stop improving!


Monday Update: Changes to city commitees; weekend fun

Last Week

Last week the State Supreme Court ruled that Adams Outdoor Advertising does not have a “right to visibility” and sided with the City of Madison in the lawsuit Adams brought against the City for constructing the Cannonball Bike Path Bridge over the Beltline. Adams was trying to sue the city for what they called an unlawful seizure of property, which they claimed was west-facing visibility of their billboard. You can read the Wisconsin State Journal article about the case here.

Madison's Cannonball Bike Path bridge, the subject of Adams's lawsuit against Madison. Image credit Jim Wilson.

Also, Part 2 of Jonathan Mertzig’s report of bicycle infrastructure in the Netherlands was posted and includes topics including the synergy of biking with mass transit and the quality and quantity of bike parking and support. If you missed it, here’s Part 1.

Some news got posted to the Facebook page. On June 12, Fitchburg’s Common Council approved the construction of four foot shoulders on a portion of Whalen Rd., which is a huge win for the cycling community, so congratulations to Bike Fitchburg, the advocates who called and emailed about it, and the alders who made the approval happen. Also posted was an update to the construction of the Sub-Zero Parkway along the Badger State Trail. The city of Fitchburg has closed the Badger State Trail at Marketplace Drive to permanently remove the intersection. The new detour around the construction is to take McKee Rd east, head south on Seminole Hwy, and then back to the trail on the newly opened Sub-Zero Parkway.

This week

On Monday, June 25, Bike Fitchburg has its monthly meeting. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 6:30 PM at the Fitchburg Public Library.

As the new Director of Transportation has officially started his job today, Monday, June 25, Tuesday, June 26 will be the final meeting of the Pedestrian Bicycle Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC). The short agenda includes an approval of the geometry for the Atwood Avenue reconstruction, and an ask that Engineering add to the transportation improvement program the Capital City Trail crossings at Ohio St. and Brearly St. so they may be raised and improved. Brearly St. was recently reconfigured to stop motor vehicle traffic and allow bicycle traffic through unimpeded. The crossing at Ohio St. is infamous for its bone-rattling bumps while traveling along the path. Read the full agenda here. The committees set to replace the PBMVC and a few others are the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) and the Transportation Commission (TC).

On Wednesday, June 27, Part 3 of Jonathan Mertzig’s report from the Netherlands will be posted, so be sure to check back then to read it!

On Thursday, June 28, there will be a public input meeting regarding the reconstruction of Pleasant View Road between US-14 and Mineral Point Road. The meeting begins at 6:00 PM at the Middleton City Hall Council Chambers. Read the press release about the meeting here.

On Saturday, June 30, there are two big biking events that are worth your attention. First is a Family Bike Camping trip to Lake Farm County Park hosted by The Cargo Bike Shop. This family friendly overnighter will leave from The Cargo Bike Shop on Williamson Street at noon. The ride is roughly 7 miles long and will include dinner at the park’s group, s’mores and a campfire, and on Sunday morning, coffee from Cafe Domestique and a selection of pastries. Vegetarian options will be available. Cost to join the ride is $30 to help pay for camping registration fees, food, and logistics. This is the first of two planned family bike camping trips planned by The Cargo Bike Shop this year.

Cranes on the bike path through Lake Farm County Park. Image credit Jim Wilson.

Also on Saturday, join the BiciClub Latino de Madison for the first of their longer group rides. While still organizing the Tour de la Familia Latina, the club now also hosts this ride for more experienced riders. 30 miles, no drop, meet at 8am at Cafe Maya on Odana. From the announcement: "Sabemos que hay ciclistas más experimentados que han preguntado por rodadas más largas, así que las hemos creado. Este evento está diseñado para ciclistas que ya conocen sus capacidades y quieren recorrer mayores distancias fuera de la ciudad de Madison. Esta primera rodada será de 30 millas y a diferencia del Tour de la Familia Latina, no tendremos bicicletas de préstamo, ni apoyo mecánico al inicio del evento. Pedimos que los ciclistas que nos acompañen, traigan su kit de reparaciones básicas, botella de agua y lo que sepan será de utilidad durante el recorrido."

Saturday also will have a fundraiser for the Blackhawk, Verona, and Madison West Middle and High School mountain bike teams. The fundraiser is called the Crank-A-Thon and will be located at Deaths Door Distillery at 2220 Eagle Drive in Middleton. Read event details here.


Dispatch from the Netherlands, part 2: Transit and Parking

This is the second part of Jonathan Mertzig's series on biking and biking infrasctructure in the Netherlands. You can read part 1, about wayfinding and complete streets and networks here. The final installment of the series will be published next Wednesday.

Bike-friendly Public Transit and Mixed-Mode Journeys

You can take your bike on most trains for a small supplemental fee outside of peak hours. Here on a new Sprinter train, they even explain the rules in English.

While long-distance, intercity journeys are quite possible with the Dutch cycling network, you might find taking a train or bus to be a bit more efficient, and many public transport options in the Netherlands make it easy to take your bike with you.  Nearly all classes of service on the Dutch railways support transport of cycles for a small supplemental fee (with some reasonable rush hour restrictions).  Over the last decade the Dutch railways actually have been phasing out racks in trains because mounting bikes on them was deemed too cumbersome and inconvenient, and instead have shifted toward favoring spacious standing areas for cyclists to encourage quick and easy loading of bikes. Trams and long-distance buses also often have space that can accommodate cyclists.  Notably, most cycle accommodation in Dutch public transport also serves as a good example of “universal design”—the same roll-on/roll-off compartments that provide space for cyclists can also accommodate wheelchair users, families with baby carriages, or tourists hauling luggage. (More info on taking bikes—or a few other wheeled things—on the train).

Entrance to the bicycle center beneath the rail station in Hilversum. The facility offers secure bike parking, a repair facility, and bike rentals.

Apart from the possibility of taking your bike along for the ride, Dutch transport hubs also tend to provide excellent facilities for cyclists, with large amounts of secure bike parking and on-site facilities for repair and rental of cycles.  The national public transit card system (OV-Chipkaart) even integrates with a  nationwide bike share scheme, the OV-fiets, which lets you hire a bike at most stations.  And if you were wondering, yes, it’s possible to even bike to the airport—bike paths can take you all the way to the terminal at Schiphol.

A pair of OV-Fiets bikes on the street in Maastricht. The OV-fiets is a nationwide bike rental scheme connected to the national transit chip card (OV-Chipkaart) that allows you to bike up a bike at most major railway stations.

Takeaways:   Encourage the installation of quality bike parking at major transit nodes and emphasize the need for simple roll-on/roll-off bike transport on new transit vehicles.  A few cumbersome racks on the front of buses don’t truly make a transit system “bike-friendly.”

Madison’s most recent chance at having intercity rail service was unfortunately squandered, but while the plans were still on track—no pun intended—multi-modality incorporating cycling was a key part of the designs… some of the initial reasoning for choosing  Judge Doyle Square as a location for a bike center was the synergy with a potential future train station.  When opportunities for planning intercity connections arise, let’s make sure those rail- (bus-, hyperloop-) to-bike connections remain a key part of the discussion.

A bike shop at Maastricht central station, one of two facilities offering bike rentals and repairs at the station.

 

Parking and Support Facilities

Bike parking is quite plentiful in Dutch cities, but it seems they can still never build quite enough. Perhaps the most extreme example of demand for bike parking is around Amsterdam Centraal station, where several huge parking areas, including a few multi-level garages, are often overflowing with bikes.

If there’s one glaring problem with cycling in Netherlands, it’s parking… they just can’t build enough!  But from an American cyclist’s perspective, the parking situation in most Dutch cities seems downright luxurious.  Most major destinations like stores, schools, and offices have large bike parking areas with quality racks and many include lockers available for rental to long-term users.  In city centers or at transit hubs, centralized parking garages provide a place to stow your bike before exploring a neighborhood on foot or taking a journey on mass transit. 

A large bike parking garage serving Den Haag Centraal station and surrounding office buildings

The best types of these facilities, known as a bewaakte fietsenstalling, combine a large number of lockers or locking racks with video surveillance and on-site attendants to provide a highly secure place to stow your bike. And as a bonus in the often-rainy Netherlands, many also shelter your bike from the elements.  In the past, parking in such facilities was typically was a paid service, but in recent years I’ve noticed an increasing tendency to provide such facilities for free. The preference towards providing free centralized parking helps maintain a less crowded streetscape with reduced need for on-street parking—and less of an excuse for illegal parking—and helps cut down on bike theft and vandalism.  Many of these parking complexes also provide bike maintenance shops, self-service repair areas, and rental facilities.

Den Haag provides an example of the move towards free centralized parking in many cities. To help eliminate clutter from chaotic bike parking on busy shopping streets, the city expanded their secure parking garages and made them available for free.

Apart from the ample provision of parking and repair facilities, supplies for simple repairs and bike accessories are widely available at locations beyond specialized cycling retailers.  Most variety stores and convenience shops carry at least a basic selection of supplies like tubes, patch kits, and accessories like bells, locks, lights, and reflective gear (notably, a trip to the Netherlands is a fantastic opportunity to stock up on affordable cycling kit!). So if you find yourself with a flat tire, a quick fix is usually a short walk away.

Basic bike supplies are easy to find—here at a HEMA store (sort of like the Dutch equivalent of Target), you can find a variety of parts and accessories.

Outdoor markets are not only a place to buy fresh veggies and other edible delights… you can often find bike supply vendors and repair stands at many markets. Here at the Woensel Weekmarkt in Eindhoven, you can find two Dutch staples right next to each other: fresh herring and bike tires!

Takeaways:  The Judge Doyle Square bike center could be a great pilot of this sort of concept, but there are many other destinations around town where quality indoor parking could be a huge perk to encourage cycling. Many major employers and institutions like the UW have good connectivity to our bike routes but perhaps not the best opportunities for parking. We should encourage high-quality indoor bike parking to be a part of development plans.  And maybe with that parking, include a nice bike repair stand!  And while we’re at it, let’s nudge our neighborhood retailers to carry at least a modest selection of basic bike repair supplies.

Beneath the 18.September Plein square in Eindhoven, between the central station and the central business district, there is a huge ‘bewaakte fietsenstalling’ with free parking. The architecture seems to match the nearby building known as “The Blob.”

 


Monday Update: Flash flood, art ride, John Nolen

Last Week

We had some memorable rain events last week, leading to flooding, downed trees, and other complications for pretty much everyone. Saturday morning I woke up to a large tree branch in the middle of the street. As we all experienced, and as the pictures submitted to MB’s Facebook page, bike paths suffered downed trees and flooding as a result of these storms. I know that in the moment we just deal with the obstacles before us and can forget to let the city know so the mess can be cleaned up. As a reminder, the City’s “report a problem” site provides a way to let the city know about these issues and hopefully address them quickly!

“Path down from Odana golf course, about 100 ft from SW Commuter Path.” Photo by Don Thornton.

 

“Green Prairie/Dunn’s Marsh storm flooding.” Photo by Scott Sauer.

As if all this rain wasn’t challenging enough, the record high temperatures have not been for the faint of heart. Undeterred, the Tour de la Familia Latino rode this past Saturday. I have not heard how many folks attended. We’re hoping someone from the BiciClub Latino de Madison can let us know!

This week

The Madison Bikes Board meets at 6:00pm–8:00pm on Monday, June 18 at the Madison Public Library, 201 W Mifflin St, Madison, WI 53703. Please attend and learn what we are doing and how you can help!

On Tuesday, June 19 the Madison Common Council meets at 6:30 at the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Room 201, Madison, WI.. The agenda looks packed but about half-way through they will discuss the much maligned “hairball” intersection of John Nolen/Williamson/Blair/Wilson streets. The full agenda for the meeting is here.

Chris Rickert from the Wisconsin State Journal discusses the differing opinions on if the proposed redesign is satisfactory in this article. While it looks like the Council is likely to move forward with accepting the report on the redesign, it is definitely not too late to ask for changes that would further improve the bike/walk environment at this stressful intersection.

Also on Tuesday, Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet from 6:00 pm – 7:30pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200, Madison, WI.

Don’t forget to check Madison Bikes blog on Wednesday, June 20th for the second installment in a three-part series by Jonathan Mertzig. Jonathan lived in the Netherlands and shares his experience biking and walking in that country, where planning, engineering and policy has made biking the preferred mode of transportation in urban areas.

On Thursday, a new BCycle station will open at and in partnership with the Goodman Community Center. Center participants can get a free membership, and there will various family-friendly festivities, 4:30-6pm.

On Sunday, June 24 Bike the Art tour happens from 12:00pm – 3:30pm. Meet at Allen Centennial Garden, 620 Babcock Dr, Madison for a free all-ages bike tour of galleries, events and unique art venues across Madison. The tour includes exclusive access to artist talks, workshops, and tours of exhibitions and art spaces. Participants are welcome to join the tour at any stage; please refer to the schedule linkded below for where and when to meet with the group. Additional stops include Working Draft Beer Company and Madison Circus Space. Bike the Art is sponsored by Dane Arts, Madison Arts Commission, Arts + Literature Laboratory, VEA Events, The Bubbler at Madison Public Library, Community Art Discourse Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/167531243939829/


Dispatch from the Netherlands, Part 1: Wayfinding and Complete Streets

Editorial note: This is a three-part guest post by Madison Bikes supporter Jonathan Mertzig. Thanks, Jonathan, for sharing your experience living and cycling in the Netherlands, and what we can learn from the Dutch in improving cycling here in Madison! Part 2 will be published next Wednesday.

In the summer of 2005 I had the privilege of attending a Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union) summer course held in the beautiful town of Zeist, a short bike journey away from the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, Utrecht.  Apart from being an amazing immersive experience in learning the Dutch language, the course also provided plenty of opportunities to experience the Netherlands’ amazing bike culture and infrastructure. 

After class each day, our group of students from around the world could grab our bikes and head off for an adventure, exploring our surroundings without ever even needing to look at a map.  You could pick a destination and follow the signs for a safe route to just about anywhere.  Even the most novice cyclists, many coming from countries with almost no culture of cycling, could in a few days become quite confident riders.

In the years since, I’ve had many opportunities to return to the Netherlands and observe the evolution of bike facilities there.  The Netherlands can seem like a cyclist’s paradise that would be hard to match elsewhere, and indeed, there are some local factors in the popularity of cycling we can’t easily match: compact cities, short distances between towns, relatively flat terrain, and milder winter weather.  But there are plenty of things the Dutch do well that can serve as examples to replicate elsewhere, including American cities like Madison.

 

Wayfinding

A particularly information-dense cycling route wayfinding signpost outside Amsterdam’s city hall. Red signs point to locations of interest (like the Artis zoo, or the central station), major neighborhoods, or even other cities (like in this example, Hilversum and Utrecht). The green signs denote major recreational routes… from here you can even follow the signs to take the Stedenroute (“City Route”) all 340km to Brussels—no guarantee though that the signage will be as good once you cross the Belgian border!

One of the first things that stands out to visitors observing the bike scene in the Netherlands—besides the sheer number of bikes everywhere—is the excellent system of wayfinding signage throughout the country.  The national travel association, ANWB, provides uniform standards for bike and pedestrian wayfinding signage, with signs installed at nearly every intersection or path access point throughout the country.  Signage features directions and distances between cities, highlights major points of interest, and delineates regional and national recreational and long-distance routes. 

In some scenic areas, a lower-profile format of bike wayfinding signage is used, though the design features are otherwise consistent with the rest of the national signage system. Here you can choose your direction through the dunes at Kijkduin.

The signage scheme for cyclists is visually distinct from other types of road signage, color-coded (red for general directions and local points of interest, green for recreational routes) and uses consistent shapes, symbols, and highly-readable typography to provide a universally recognizable scheme for navigation.  The scale and placement of signage also often doubles as a useful reference for those traveling on foot. One can easily navigate within cities or take a long-distance ride without much need to break out your smartphone… just follow the signs.

The green-signed recreational route network ties connects historical town centers and scenic natural areas around the country. Here in Maastricht, the “Maas route” LF3b takes you through cobblestone streets and up the St-Pietersberg, one of the few hills in Dutch territory that actually is referred to as a “mountain.” Contrary to popular belief, the entire country isn’t flat!

Takeaways:  Being able to find your way around without much of a hassle is key to a great cycling experience, especially for beginners and visitors.  We should strive for a system of consistent, high-density signage for cycle-friendly routes. The Dutch standards for signage provide a great example of a well-executed wayfinding system.

Complete Networks, Complete Streets

Cederlaan in Eindhoven is a great example of a Dutch “complete street.” This street, built in a new residential development in a previously industrial district, combines a bus rapid transit way and stations, general traffic lanes, a separated bike path, parking lanes, and sidewalks.

The network of bike routes in the Netherlands is quite comprehensive, with a thoroughly interconnected system of urban bike lanes, separated bike paths, traffic-calmed neighborhood streets, and rural roads and trails suitable for safe cycling.  Bike routes are easily recognized through consistent visual cues, like the aforementioned wayfinding signage, or the use of red pavement to mark lanes and paths reserved for cyclists. Cycling becomes a practical option for commuting, shopping, or even intercity journeys because it is easy to travel by bike without having to contend with riding on unsafe roads or breaks in the network.  It is quite possible to find a safe bike route between most any destination in the Netherlands, whether at neighborhood level or cross-country.

Outside the cities, an extensive network of paths crisscrosses rural and natural areas, making it possible to easily bike between towns while enjoying the scenery. Here is a path that connects Zeist and Amersfoort via the wooded hills of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and heathlands of the Leusderheide.

Taking a look at Dutch street design also shows what “complete streets” looks like when proper design and investment is put into the concept. It’s not unusual to find arterial streets that combine safe, separated lanes for bikes, cars, and mass transit, and still have ample space for sidewalks, landscaped medians and terraces, and on-street parking. Smaller neighborhood streets use designs that are appropriate for the context and available space, like traffic calming measures combined with on-street bike lanes, or even intentionally ambiguous zones (you may be familiar with the Dutch term woonerf) where a blending of low-speed traffic actually improves safety and livability for surrounding neighborhoods.  Not all Dutch street designs are perfect and not all are feasible for Madison’s streets, but the overall experience is noticeably better than American design standards.

The intersection along Rotterdam’s Blaak avenue provides a particularly complex example of a Dutch “complete” street. Bike lanes and broad sidewalks on each side flank a busy avenue, the start of a separated busway, and a tramway. Aerial view.

Takeaways:  Find the holes in the network and prioritize these for improvements.  The Madison area has done a good job of this in terms of regional and cross-town routes, but the real gaps are at a more local level. Think about those neighborhoods where you can’t easily use a bike to do errands like getting groceries, take your kids to school, or visit the park, and target those areas for improvement. Make sure proposals for new infrastructure connect up to existing routes in safe and logical ways.

American discussions of measures like traffic calming are often framed as “experiments” or denounced by opponents as “unproven” but Dutch cities are full of working examples of complete streets and safer design paradigms, and these are often implemented in situations where space is quite limited compared to American streets.  And investment in quality bike-friendly infrastructure doesn’t necessarily have to come at a cost detrimental to those who drive—any trip on the superb freeways of the Netherlands quickly demonstrates that the Dutch don’t hate their cars! The Dutch don’t view transportation planning as a zero-sum game where only one mode “wins.” (For more on the state of the overall transportation system in the Netherlands, and how bikes fit into the picture, I recommend this report from Statistics Netherlands: Transport and Mobility 2015).

 

Check back next week for part 2 of the series!

 


What a [Bike] Week! Weekly update for June 11, 2018

 

 

 

We had wonderful weather for Bike Week and all the activities: not too hot, not too cold, and almost no rain! Thanks to all who came by, chatted at the commuter stations, threw a little into the donation box, and signed up to be on the mailing list. We had a great time and met some new people, many of whom didn’t know about Madison Bikes.

This brings me to a reminder to all current Facebook friends and email subscribers: If you know someone who would like to know what’s happening with bicycling in Madison, please send them over to us. They can follow us on Facebook, participate in our group discussions, and/or sign up to get our blogs and weekly updates emailed to them directly.

We are a stronger, more effective organization when more people join and participate. One of our goals is to keep bicyclists up to date with what’s happening on city committees, in your neighborhood, and when plans or votes are coming up that will affect bicycling. Your voice is very important, and you can help us by getting your friends to join as well.

 

On to the weekly update for this week. After all the activities last week, the coming week is pretty slow for meetings and activities.

Monday

Madison Bikes Events Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at Barriques, 127 W Washington. All the Madison Bikes committees are looking for additional volunteers and committee members, so if you are interested in helping plan events, we could really use your help. The Winter Fashion Show, Annual Party/Member Meeting, and Bike Week commuter stations are just some of the events that this committee has planned. Don’t know whether it’s for you? Stop by to say hello and ask a few questions. They’ll be glad to see you!

There will be a special meeting of the Plan Commission, at 5:00 pm in Room 103A of the City/County Building, to approve updates to the Comprehensive Plan. This will guide how the city grows, and where, for the next ten years. It’s been through a lot of work and discussed by almost every committee of the city – including several transportation committees -- and now needs to be passed by the Plan Commission and Council. If you would like to see everyone who’d looked at it and what input they had, you can follow this link and click on the documents.

Tuesday

The Middleton Pedestrian. Bike, Transit Committee will be at 5:30 in the Council Chambers in Middleton City Hall, 7426 Hubbard Avenue. It looks like the city is taking the first steps to build a much-needed path along Century Ave. This has been a missing link in the metro area for quite some time, with none of the existing options – ride in the main lanes with fast-moving traffic or use the sidewalk -- particularly safe or inviting. But it’s just the start of the process, because this is what is listed on the agenda:

The City of Middleton received three responses to its Request for Proposals for consultant engineering services to design a 10 ft. wide path along the north side of Century Avenue, between Old Creek Road and the eastern city limits (near Mendota County Park).

Saturday

There are two rides scheduled for Saturday.

The Clean Lakes Alliance will have its annual Loop the Lake ride and fundraiser, starting at Olbrich Park at 10:00 am. The ride is the familiar ride around Lake Monona (about 13 miles), but you’ll be doing it with a few hundred other people. Although most people will finish in about 75-90 minutes, the course will stay open until 2:00 pm. More information at the link about or at the Facebook event.

Tour de Familia Latina/Latino Family Tour will start at 1:00 pm at Quan Park, hosted by BiciClub Latino de Madison. They are meeting at bit outside downtown Madison to avoid all the other events going on downtown. Quan Park is right next to the Wingra Creek Path and behind the Alliant Center. From there, they will be biking to the Lower Yahara River Path, a beautiful ride. All are welcome, and the ride is geared toward families and riders of all ages and abilities.

 

All these events are also listed on the Madison Bike Community Calendar. If you would like to have an event listed, send it over to us.


Monday Update: Bike Week in full swing

It's June, and it's peak biking season in Madison. Wisconsin Bike Week started on Saturday and will serve a packed calendar of events this week.

We from Madison Bikes had a blast at Ride the Drive yesterday, offering free ABC Quick Checks and chatting with lots of you! If you signed up for our newsletter at Ride the Drive: Thanks for stopping by, and welcome to Madison Bikes! More pictures on our Facebook page.

Monday

On Monday there will be commuter stations at

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Machinery Row
  • Cap City at Law Park
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path
  • Fitchburg: Badger State Trail at Marketplace Dr

In the evening, come to Genna's for a Women's Cycling Happy Hour (open to all women-identified people), starting at 5 pm.

Tuesday

Madison Bikes is joining HotelRED to host a commuter station today! We promise: You won't have to bundle up like we did in this picture from our commuter station during Winter Bike Week!

Tuesday's commuter stations will be at:

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path at HotelRED with Madison Bikes
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Dickinson with bacon cheddar waffles
  • Cap City at Central Park/McPike Park
  • Cap City at Law Park
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path
  • Fitchburg: Velo Underround (where Cap City, Cannonball, SW Paths intersect)

Our friends from Bombay Bicycle Club are hosting a ride and social in the evening, starting at the Hop Garden in Paoli. And north of Madison, join the 1st Annual Pedal For Paws, Creekside Family Bicycle Night in Sun Prairie.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, stop for free morning treats at:

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Brearly
  • Cap City at Machinery Row
  • Cap City at Law Park with Bratcakes
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path
  • Fitchburg: Badger State Trail at Marketplace Dr

Sun Prairie Bicycling Advocacy Group is hosting their Brats, Brews, and Bikes Ride in the evening. Meet at 6 pm at Wetmore Community Park.

Not part of Bike Week: The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board has their regular meeting at 6:30, Water Utility (E Olin Ave).

Thursday

More commuter stations!

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Mifflin Bike Boulevard at Paterson: Celebrate the new diverter!
  • Cap City at Law Park with Bacon on the Bike Path
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path

In the evening you can pick among several social events: Revolution Cycles will have a Hot Pizza and Cool Drinks happy hour on the Cap City Trail behind their shop. On the way there, stop for a root beer kegger on the Cap City between First and Division. If you live in Waunakee, join Bombay for a 25-mile ride, departing 5:30 pm at Prairie Elementary. And in Middleton, you can join community leaders for an 8-to-10-mile ride featuring recent investments in bicycle routes and amenities, and learn about future plans and opportunities.

Friday

It's your last chance to hit one of the commuter stations. Today you can find them at:

  • Cap City Trail and Ohio Ave
  • SW Path and W Wash
  • Cap City at Law Park
  • State St at Johnson (Short Stack Eatery
  • Middleton: Old Middleton Road at Asbury Path

Bike Week doesn't end on Friday, but it is the day for the big bike week celebration at HotelRED from 5-6:30 pm.

Women-identified folks who want to learn about setting up the suspension on mountain bikes can head to Fitchburg Cycles for a "suspension clinic."

Saturday

Bike Week ends with several options for riding your bike: The Trek 100 charity ride takes off from Waterloo. Bombay hosts a women's ride starting at the Glacial Drumlin trailhead in Cottage Grove. And women-identified folks who want to test some MTBs should head to Blackhawk trail system in Middleton. If you prefer a Madison event, head to the UW Campus for an "open house of interactive programs on the UW-Madison’s East Campus Mall and along the Lakeshore Path."

For more details about any of the bike week events, go straight to the Bike Fed's calendar.


Monday Update: Volunteers Needed, Director of Transportation Nominated, Bike Week

Call for Volunteers

Madison Bikes is looking for volunteers for the following events preceding and including Bike Week:

Saturday, June 2, we are looking for volunteers to lead feeder rides to the Olin Park south parking lot for the Ride to the Parks and Trails Unite Festival. There are currently three feeder rides planned. On the east side, there is a feeder ride starting at the Olbrich Park Biergarten that leaves at 11:00 AM. On the west side, a feeder ride is departing from EVP at Shorewood Hills at 10:30. There is also a feeder ride starting from Cafe Domestique on Williamson St. for folks living on the near east side. The feeder rides will collect at Olin Park around 11:30 AM where Bombay Bicycle Club and Madison Bikes are co-hosting a ride to the Parks and Trails Unite Festival which leaves at 11:45 AM. If your neighborhood wasn't listed and you want to lead a slow-rolling feeder ride, drop a comment on the event's Facebook page with a location and a start time to be added to the list of feeder rides. It would be great if we could get feeder rides from all corners of the city!

Sunday, June 3, we are looking for volunteers to help out at the Madison Bikes ABC Quick Check tent. If you can at least identify basic maintenance issues then we could use your help. Sign up for a volunteer shift here. The two shifts are from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Please plan on showing up 10 to 15 minutes prior to your shift.

Tuesday, June 5, we are looking for a few volunteers to help run the Madison Bikes Bike Week booth at HotelRED from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. We primarily need folks to engage commuters in conversation, and we would welcome your help even if you can't stay the full two hours. If you can help in any way please send an email to volunteer@madisonbikes.org.

 

Last Week

This last week we had quite pleasant weather and a week full of events for Bike to Work Week. Hopefully you all got to take advantage of the nice weather and got out on your bikes.

On Tuesday, we saw Tom Lynch nominated as the city's new Director of Transportation. The selection was praised by numerous current and former city council members and other members of the community who have worked with Mr. Lynch on various transportation projects, and we are certain he will make a good Director of Transportation. Another bonus is that Mr. Lynch is a year round commuter cyclist, so he will be able to bring to his position a viewpoint that we are hopeful will greatly improve transportation options here in the City of Madison.

This Week

On Tuesday, at 5:00 PM, the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) meets and will discuss the Blair St. corridor report which includes the two additional intersections of John Nolen Drive on the isthmus, and they are being asked to approve the geometry of the John Nolen/Williamson/Wilson/Blair intersection so Engineering can move forward with bids and construction as quickly as possible. City Engineering will also be present at the meeting to update the commission on projects they are pursuing, including for requests for proposal (RFPs) for two important multi-use path connections: one along Starkweather Creek behind the Garver property called the Garver Bike Path, and one that would create the first low-stress connection to the city's bike network for residents living in the Burke Heights neighborhood called the Autumn Ridge Path.

Proposed route for Phase 1 of the Garver Bike Path

Proposed route for the Autumn Ridge Path

Also on the agenda is the adoption of the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the result of two years of gathering public input through the Imagine Madison website and public meetings to create a guide that should help shape public policy around the future growth of Madison. This plan will also be at Thursday's meeting of the Long Range Transportation Committee. Here is the link to the public PBMVC agenda.

On Wednesday, at 7:00 PM ,there will be a community meeting to discuss the April 27th crash on Midvale Blvd. that killed pedestrian Greg Nametz, and severely injured his wife, Patty. The meeting will be at Queen of Peace Gathering Space. Read more about it on Alder Arvina Martin's web page.

The Long Range Transportation Planning Committee (LRTPC) meets this Thursday, May 31, at 5:00 PM. Adoption of the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan is also at this committee. The LRTPC will also be asked to adopt amendments to the Elderberry, Pioneer, and Junction Neighborhood Development Plans. Here is the link to the public LRTPC agenda.

Saturday is National Trails Day, and to celebrate, Dane County is hosting the Parks and Trails Unite Festival, which starts at 10:00 AM and runs into the night until 7:00 PM. There will be music happening at both ends of the newly completed segment of the Lower Yahara River Trail. The event is free and open to the public. As mentioned earlier, Bombay Bicycle Club and Madison Bikes will be doing a group ride to the festival with feeder rides from around the town. As a reminder, we are still looking for volunteers to lead feeder rides from their neighborhoods, so if you want to lead a feeder ride, leave a comment on the event's Facebook page with the location and time of departure for your ride.

Sunday kicks off the start of Bike Week. The 10th annual Ride the Drive starts at 11:00 AM and lasts until 3:00 PM. The route is along scenic John Nolen Drive and North Shore Blvd. which will be closed to motor vehicle traffic for the public to enjoy. The ride is family-friendly, and there will be entertainment, food, and fun! Join the MadTown Unity Ride starting at 10:30 AM on a ride from the south side of Madison to Ride the Drive. Madison Bikes will have a tent at Ride the Drive that includes a basic maintenance ABC Quick Check. As a reminder, we are still looking for volunteers to help out at this event, so if you are available and can at least identify a basic maintenance issue, please sign up for a spot.

Look for more information on Bike Week events in next weeks blog post. You can also see what events are planned for Madison at the Wisconsin Bike Federation's Bike Week website.



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