Monday Update: Winter Bike Day, Andersen St, Transpo Commission

Phew, that was more snow than expected! I only went on a short ride earlier on Sunday, and on the fat bike it was slow-but-fun. Be prepared for possibly challenging conditions on Monday, especially on side streets. Once again, I'm really happy that the City has allocated funds to clear the paths on weekends. Our Facebook Community group is a good place to get and discuss the latest info on path conditions.

Last Week

On Monday I had the opportunity to meet with the Wisconsin Bike Fed's new executive director, Kirsten Finn. We had a good talk about the Bike Feds priorities and how the Bike Fed and Madison Bikes can work together to make biking better for everyone. Stay tuned: We may be hosting a joint event later this spring.

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board approved a resolution that would prohibit personal delivery devices (a.k.a. delivery robots) from operating on city sidewalks except where specifically approved. You may have seen these devices on the UW campus, making food deliveries to residence halls. State law allows the operation of the devices but gives cities the ability to restrict them on sidewalks or bike paths. The ordinance approved at the TPPB meeting only addressed sidewalks.

The TPPB also got the ball rolling on possibly reforming the city's bike/ped enhancement and the neighborhood traffic management programs. These are pots of money that can be used for smaller infrastructure improvements for people walking and biking, such as speed humps or pavement markings. The current process for deciding which projects are and aren't funded, and out of which pot of money could probably use some improvement, and the board will work on that for the next couple of months.

News also broke last week that the Judge Doyle Square project -- and with that the new Bike Center there -- will be delayed by several months. Instead of March, June is now the projected opening date. Big bummer for Freewheel Collective who will be operating the center.

And finally, Madison got a new bike shop: Black Saddle Bikes had their soft opening. They're located on the north side at 601 N Sherman Ave. Congrats to Black Saddle owner Mitch, who has been around the Madison bike scene for a long time.

This Week

Start your Tuesday with Bike Fitchburg's Winter Commuter Station. Friday is International Winter Bike to Work Day, and Bike Fitchburg is joining the celebration early. Between 7 and 9 am, come to the bike roundabout at the intersection of the Cannonball, Southwest Path, and Cap City Trail for bagels and coffee.

On Tuesday evening a public input meeting about Anderson St between Wright St and Stoughton Rd is taking place. The project includes sewer work and resurfacing the street, but also a new sidewalk and bike facilities on the south side of the street. This is great news, as currently this is a gap in our low-stress bike network between the Starkweather Creek Path and the Reindahl Path. 6 PM at East Madison Community Center, 8 Straubel Court.

The Transportation Commission is meeting on Wednesday. The agenda is focused mostly on transit matters, such as proposed Metro service changes and a study that will look into how we can reorganize our whole transit system from the ground up. 5 pm, Madison Municipal Building Rm 215. Full agenda here.

As mentioned above, Friday is International Winter Bike to Work Day. Madison Bikes like to emphasize that trips to work are only a small part of all trips that can be done by bike, and so we'll be celebrating Winter Bike Anywhere Day. Join us at two bike stations from 7 to 9 am: At Law Park near Machinery Row we'll be serving coffee from Just Coffee and baked goods from Madison Sourdough; and on the west side we'll be at HotelRED for coffee and sweet treats.

You can also sign up and pledge to ride on Friday on the International Winter Bike to Work Day website. Let's put Madison on the map!

On Saturday, you head out to the west side Trek Store for a chili cook-off. "Just bring a crockpot of your finest chili into the shop by 1pm, and we’ll all do a taste test and vote for our favorite. The winner will be announced at 2pm. All chili chefs will get a $20 coupon, and the all-time winner will get a $100 Trek gift card."

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Monday Update: Commission meetings and a fat bike race

Lots of traffic on the SW Path

Last Week

Sunday’s unseasonably warm and sunny weather seems to have gotten people out on their bikes as evidenced by an uptick in bike traffic recorded by the bike counters. The counter on the Southwest Path showed 405 people biked over it, up from the previous week’s weekday high of 403, and the counter on the Capital City Path soared to 649 people on bikes over the surprisingly consistent weekday numbers between 478 and 505. It is typical this time of year for weekend counts to be lower than weekday counts since there are more people commuting by bike in the winter than people riding recreationally on the weekends. It is important to note, however, that a percentage of weekend bike traffic consists of commuters who work on weekends.

This Week

Monday, February 3,

At 5:00 PM Madison’s Transportation Policy & Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting in Room 215 of the City County Building at 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This meeting the TPPB will look at creating a subcommittee to look at Pedestrian/Bicycle Enhancement and Traffic Calming. The TPPB will also discuss BRT updates, and a 2020 work plan which includes the Wilson Street Corridor Study and the Madison Ordinance Analysis of Parking Strategies (MOAPS). Read the full agenda here.


Tuesday, February 4,

Tuesday is Transit/Transportation Equity Day, which is on Rosa Parks’ birthday to recognize and honor the civil rights champion. The Sierra Club is organizing two rallies at the State Capitol in support of funding 11 transit project proposals in Wisconsin, one of the being a Madison Metro one. The first rally is from 7:30 to 10 AM, and the second is from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. You can learn more about these events and RSVP on the Transit Equity Day page on Sierra Club’s website.


Wednesday, February 5,

The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) is meeting at 6:30 PM in Rooms A&B at the Madison Water Utility Building located at 119 E. Olin Ave., which can be accessed by bike from the Wingra Creek Path. The MATPB will be amending the 2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Plan to include Madison’s east-west BRT line. They are also going to look at designating a section of US-151 as an Alternative Fuels Corridor. Read the full agenda here.

Saturday, February 8

The 5th race in the Hugh Jass Fat Bike Race Series will be taking place at  Blackhawk Trails located at 10118 Blackhawk Rd. in Madison. The theme for this race is TOGA PARTY, and participants will be awarded points for racing in a toga. Having flannel/plaid on your body/bike will also earn points. Registration for the event starts at 9:00 AM and the race starts at 11. Registration is $40, or $30 for youths under 16. Learn more about this event and register at their website or on their Facebook Events page.


As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Monday Update: Job Postings and More

Man bikes in shorts in the snow

The week ahead



Madison Bikes Community Meeting will meet 6pm tonight at Bendyworks (106 E Doty St #200). This month we will be focusing on our advocacy priorities for 2020. 


From 6:15 to 8:00pm tonight Greenbush Neighborhood Meeting will discuss Vilas Park Master Plan input at Arboretum Cohousing (1137 Erin St) more information is available here:


Also tonight is the Bike Fitchburg monthly meeting 6:30 – 8:30pm at Fitchburg Public Library (5530 Lacy Rd, Fitchburg)



University Bicycle Resource Center will host  Bike Traffic Skills 101 from 12:00 – 1:00pm at University Bicycle Resource Center (600 N. Park Street) Class taught by UW Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator Chuck Strawser. Learn the basics of vehicular cycling and keep yourself safe and comfortable while riding in traffic. Free Planet Bike blinky light set to the first five (5) attendees. Bring a brown bag lunch! 

All events are free and are held at the University Bicycle Resource Center in the Helen C. White Garage (Lot 6) at 600 N. Park Street, unless otherwise noted. There is no registration required. Classes are first come, first served (limit 20 people per event).


Rockstream Drive Public Information Meeting is from 6:30 to  8:30pm The public is encouraged to attend the upcoming public information meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Jan. 29 at Chavez Elementary School, 3502 Maple Grove Drive, Madison. 

The project includes the street extension of Rockstream Drive to Maple Grove Drive and Ambleside Drive to Rockstream Drive. The new portion of the street will include sanitary sewer, storm sewer and multiple culverts crossing the storm water drainage area. The west side of Rockstream Drive will include a 10’ multi-use path and east side a 5’ sidewalk. Ambleside Drive will have sidewalk extend and connect to Rockstream Drive. The Chavez Elementary School driveways will be connected to Rockstream Drive. Rockstream Drive varies 32 feet – 38 feet and Ambleside is 32 feet from face of curb to face of curb and it will be built through the City competitive bidding process.

Manchester Road will extend to Rockstream Drive and Fairhaven Road will extend to Manchester Road. These street extensions will be constructed separately by a private developer in the summer of 2020 and not through the City competitive bidding process.

Project Page:

Bombay Bicycle Club is hosting a special one-time screening of the film Bikes of Wrath on January 29th at AMC Madison 6 from 6:30 to  8:00pm

Unlike a traditional movie showing, my Demand Film screening requires that 75 more tickets be reserved ahead of time in order for the screening to occur. (Edit 1/28: Enough tickets have been sold already and the movie screening will definitely happen. Tickets are actually running low!) Tickets can be bought at

Five Australians attempt to cycle 2600 kms. from Oklahoma to California in honor of the westward migration undertaken by 'The Grapes of Wrath's' Joad family. Through chance encounters with everyday Americans, the cyclists expand on the novel’s core themes of migration, inequality and the perceived land of opportunity. The group explores whether America has progressed since the book was written, discussing the wealth gap, immigration and the American Dream. The fascinating people they meet along the way reveal the enduring strength of human spirit despite the inequality and disenfranchisement which runs as deep today, as it did in Steinbeck’s seminal novel. The Bikes of Wrath is a unique, funny and insightful documentary filled with adventure, literature, music, and human connection.

Job Postings


The Cargo Bike Shop is hiring. They have openings in sales, operations, and service, full and part-time, year-round and seasonal. No bike shop experience necessary. Please send a resume to or swing by the shop Tues - Sat and ask for Amber.
Facebook post:


Slow Roll is hiring a full time Head Mechanic / Service Manager. The main part they need is a full-time head mechanic that knows a lot about bicycles and how to fix them, certifications are nice to have. A desire to learn suspension is a must, which we will provide in-house and outside training. Sound like something you want to be a part of? Send a resume or work experience to

Facebook post:


As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Happy MLK Day and clear path weekend!



Monday being a holiday, everyone can enjoy the newly-cleared paths across the city due to the additional money in the city budget. This our first test of having paths cleared on the weekend and holidays, and Friday’s snowstorm was the perfect test. Can you imagine waiting until Tuesday to have tour paths cleared? Two TV stations also covered this new service, after the city issued a press release, but we’ve all been very excited to have the paths treated as well as local streets.

The Greenbush Neighborhood Association has a survey on traffic issues along Vilas Park Drive as part of the master plan for the park. We were specifically asked to share it with bicyclists, since this is an important route for a lot of people. You can access the survey here. Although originally planned to run through the end of the month, they will probably extend that deadline. Feel free to pass it on to your networks and other groups.


The week ahead

There’s not too much happening in city meetings, but there are some great classes and community events this week. It looks like everything is happening on Wednesday.


The city will hold two sessions of their bicycle-friendly driver training. When this came out, I called John Rider -- who is teaching the class -- and asked who he saw as the intended audience. They are targeting small businesses who have fleet drivers or delivery services, but anyone is welcome to sign up. This is the first time the city has taught this class, and the registration deadline was Friday, but more sessions will be available in the future.

In the evening, the Transportation Commission will be meeting at 5:00 pm in Room 215 of the Municipal Bldg. Earlier this month the Transportation Planning and Policy Board had a presentation on the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (aka traffic calming.) At this meeting, the TC will also receive a presentation. So you can watch the meeting streaming or check out the PPt.

Trek will hold a handle bar taping class at their west store off Mineral Point Rd at 6:00 pm . This is a great way to spruce up your bike, and if you aren’t sure how to put new tape on your handle bars, bring your bike along and learn by doing. Registration required.

Another community class is being offered by Slow Roll bike shop in Monona. This one is a level 2 suspension learning class. You do  not have to have attended the 101 class to attend this one.


What have we been talking about on Facebook?

Besides the usual discussions about bad intersections/roadways and insufficiently-cleared lanes and curb cuts, there was a lively discussion of the best neighborhoods to buy in if one is going to bike to the UW. Someone from Austin posted that she and her family are looking to buy a house, and they wanted a bicycle-friendly real estate agent. The good news is that we all decided that there are many good neighborhoods with safe, easy biking to downtown and campus, and so therefore the agent one works with is less important. (But people had lots of agent recommendations too.)

Someone also posted a link to a study finding Madison the third most sustainable metro area for transportation, principally due to our high use of biking, walking, and transit. Nice job.


As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Monday Update: MB Board Meeting, LYRT Phase 2, Suspension and Wheel Building Classes

Last Week

Initial reports are that the Free Bikes 4 Kids collection went well with hundreds of bikes collected.

Also last week saw some discussion of the poor quality of bike rack options at the Alliant Energy Center campus at the Bike Swap on the Madison Bikes Community Facebook Page. You can read the thread here.

Packed fence racks at Alliant Energy Center Saturday. Fence racks do not meet City of Madison standards for bike racks.

Image: Packed fence racks at Alliant Energy Center Saturday. Fence racks do not meet City of Madison standards for bike racks. Photo credit: Robbie Webber.

This Week

Monday, January 13,

The monthly Madison Bikes Board Meeting is taking place at Madison’s Central Library and starts at 6:00 PM.

Wednesday, January 15,

At 6:45 PM one of Madison’s newest bike shops—Slow Roll Cycles—is continuing its Suspension Learning classes with the Suspension Learning Session 202 Level. This is the second level of their bicycle suspension learning sessions. It is not required to have attended the 101 class as long as you understand the basics of suspension and how it works, but if you want to take part in the hands-on service session you must have sat in on the 101 or 201 level sessions. You can read more about this session here on the event’s Facebook page.

At 7:00 PM there are two events to choose from. The first I will mention is the Lower Yahara River Trail (LYRT) Phase 2 Public Meeting. This meeting will take place at the Pleasant Springs Town Hall located at 2354 CTH N in Stoughton. Phase 2 of the LYRT will see a trail built between Fish Camp County Park and Lake Kegonsa State Park along the north side of Lake Kegonsa. You can read more about it on Dane County Parks web page or on the Facebook Events page.

Early proposed alignment for the Lower Yahara River Trail. Phase 2 would be constructed between Fish Camp County Park and Lake Kegonsa State Park.

Image: Early proposed alignment for the Lower Yahara River Trail. Phase 2 would be constructed between Fish Camp County Park and Lake Kegonsa State Park. Source: Dane County Parks Presentation from February 27, 2014.

The other 7:00 PM event is a Capitol Times talk called Madison’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This talk will be at the High Noon Saloon located at 701 East Washington Ave. Doors open at 6 PM and the talk starts at 7 and is a free event. You can read more about it on High Noon’s website or at the Facebook Events page.

Thursday, January 16,

The Cargo Bike Shop is hosting a Wheel Building Session starting at 6:00 PM. The event will be $25 and will cover a spoke wrench, snacks, and possibly a beverage. Not included in the costs will be the components for your wheelset, but the Cargo Bike Shop does have on hand great hubs, rims, spokes, and nipples and will work with you to help design your ideal wheelset. The session will start with a review of wheel components and theory and then move into lacing, tensioning, and trueing. You can learn more about the event and buy tickets at the Facebook Events page.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Monday Update: Two City meetings, bike swap, Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Happy New Year! 2020 is off to a great start for Madison Bikes: Last Saturday about 75 people of all ages met up at Lakeside Street Coffee House just before sunset. After some coffee and hot chocolate, we rolled over to Olin Park for the final day of Holiday Fantasy in Lights and did two loops before returning to the coffee shop. It was great to see many new faces and a lot of families with kids! Thanks to everyone who joined us. For more great pictures by Mark Renner, go here. And Channel 27 covered the event as well.

This Week

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting on Monday. The mayor will speak at the meeting about the Metro Forward Initiative, a plan to improve and expand our transit system. Bus Rapid Transit is one component of Metro Forward, but it will probably also include dedicated bus lanes and a reorganization of existing routes and stops. Another agenda item is a review of the Neighborhood Traffic Management & Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program. This program sets the process for how citizens or neighborhood groups can request traffic calming features. The way the program works has led to inequitable outcomes, where similar streets end up with very different levels of traffic calming, and there is no systematic process for prioritizing requests. The full agenda is available here. 5pm, Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room 215. If you want to provide written comment, email the chair Tom Wilson:

The capacity of a single 10-foot lane (or equivalent width) by mode at peak conditions with normal operations. (Source: NACTO)

On Wednesday, the Transportation Commission is meeting at 5pm. On the agenda:

  • The service road connecting the Olbrich Gardens parking lot and Garver Feed Mill will get gates to keep errant cars out. The road is open only to people walking and biking, as well as Olbrich service vehicles, but apparently people in cars have been using it as a shortcut. The proposed gates will have an opening in the middle to let bikes through.
  • The commission will receive an update on the University Ave reconstruction plans. Our board member Robbie has published two deep dives into the project, but from an active transportation perspective the main thing about the current plans is: There won't be bus lanes; there won't be bike lanes on this stretch of University Ave. If you have opinions on this, let the Commission know.
  • Full agenda here.
  • To provide written comment, email 

Need a new-to-you bike? Or want to get rid of one? Saturday provides you with opportunities for both:

The big annual Brazen Dropouts bike swap is happening at the Alliant Center's New Holland Pavilion from 9am to 2pm. It looks like you can still sign up for a vendor spot. Madison Bikes will have a table to talk bike advocacy in Madison -- make sure to say hi! The swap is a great opportunity to buy a used bike or bike components and accessories.

If you want to get rid of bikes: Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison (FB4K) is having their big bike collection day. FB4K is a non-profit that collect unwanted bikes, refurbishes them, and then provides them for free to kids and families in our community. From 9am to 1pm you can drop off bikes at Unity Point Meriter clinic locations all around Madison. If you want to volunteer at the pick-up event or later, sign up here.


As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Madison Bike(s) Highlights 2019

By the time many of you will get to read this, it will already be 2020. On behalf of our board, I wish you a Happy New Year! And what better start into a new year than to reflect on what has happened in 2019. Here are my personal reflections on everything Madison, bikes, and Madison Bikes.


One may think that January is a quiet month for biking in Madison. But in 2019, it started out with a big Madison Bikes event: We had a visitor from Berlin (Germany), Dirk von Schneidemesser. Dirk grew up in Madison but moved to Europe and was one of the key people involved in Berlin’s bike referendum. In our event at HotelRED, “From Madison to Berlin and Back: Civic Activism for a More Livable City,” Dirk described how the non-profit Changing Cities was able to mobilize for a referendum that would have binding rules for safe and comfortable bike infrastructure, collecting over 100,000 signatures in less than a month! You can read a recap of the event here. I can only speak for myself, but I was really inspired by the Berlin story and have kept thinking about whether and how similar advances would be possible in Madison. 

January also marked a significant change for the leadership of Madison Bikes. Grant Foster, the very person who instigated Madison Bikes and had been the organization’s president from the beginning, decided to step down and instead focus on running for the District 15 seat on the Common Council instead. I can’t say enough about how important Grant was for Madison Bikes, and I’m glad that he continues to be on our board! The new leadership of Madison Bikes: Yours truly, with Heather Pape as vice president. 


Local elections were on many people’s minds in February, and Madison Bikes took part in education and informing voters about the mayoral race. (As a 501(c)(3) organization we are not endorsing or advocating for candidates.) In January we co-sponsored a candidate forum, and in February we sent out a questionnaire with bike- and transportation-related questions to all candidates for mayor. It was heartening to see that all but two candidates took the time to respond to our questions. In the February primary, Paul Soglin and Satya Rhodes-Conway received the most votes and made the ballot for the general election in April.

Our other main focus for the month was Winter Bike Week. From February 1 to 8, every day we and our partners hosted events to celebrate and promote year-round biking. Unfortunately (but perhaps unsurprisingly), the weather tried its best to sabotage our efforts. Yes, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing -- until you have a week that has everything from freezing rain to days with wind chill temperatures of -25F. Still, we were out there, and some of you were out there too. Kudos to everyone who braved the conditions. This year we’re going to try something a little different to promote winter biking, starting with our Holiday Fantasy in Lights Family Ride on January 4.


Madison Bikes is only piece of the bike ecosystem of Madison. Two other orgs had an eventful March: Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison finished their third season and gave away 1400 free bikes. Our board and volunteers contributed to this in a tiny, tiny way by having a volunteer session to help clean and fix bikes. This year’s FB4K season has just started, and we plan on having another volunteer season in the coming weeks.

Freewheel Bicycle Collective had a big March as well: They were selected as the operator for the future Judge Doyle Square Bicycle Center. The center, which will likely open later in 2020, will feature secure bike parking, showers, repair space, and a new, more central location for Freewheel to host its classes.

And this very blog you’re reading also had an exciting moment in March: Our new board member Steph published her first “Biking with Steph” column!

And while all these things were happening in the open, behind the scenes maybe the most important thing for Madison Bikes in 2019 happened: After hosting Madison Bike Week for many years, the Bike Fed asked us whether we wanted to take over the event. Knowing how much went into organizing a week-long event and given that we had less than three months to pull it all off, it wasn’t an easy decision. But because Madison Bike Week is such an important part of biking in Madison, we said “yes”! More on Madison Bike Week below.


Did everything change in April? Probably not. But from the perspective of a bike advocate, certainly a lot of things did change in Madison on April 2, 2019. Madison elected a new mayor, and 9 out of the 20 seats on the Common Council were filled by new Alders -- one of them being our board member Grant, representing District 15. I was cautiously optimistic back then that new leadership would be a good thing for active transportation in Madison, and I continue to be optimistic. Of course, we still have a long way to go to move away from car-focused planning, and we still need advocates to push, push, and push. But I think April was a start into the right direction.

Maybe one example from April that exemplifies how things are moving the right way but aren’t quite there yet is the Wilson Street corridor study. Wilson Street, which is a crucial downtown gap in our low-stress bike network, was a major advocacy focus for us in 2018. While we didn’t succeed in getting the city to commit to adding protected bike facilities on West Wilson, the Common Council tasked the Department of Transportation to conduct a corridor study. That corridor study looked at connections to the Capitol Square from a larger perspective, and in April 2019 the Department of Transportation published their interim recommendations. The recommendations included many improvements for people on bikes. But they also still included many compromises because of a hesitation to remove car parking or tolerate a couple more seconds of delay for people driving through the area. Nothing has been finalized yet and construction won’t start before 2020 or later. So it remains to be seen how far we as a city have come in prioritizing people walking and biking.


In my recollection, all we did in May was rushing to get ready for Madison Bike Week. But of course that’s not quite true. A group of high school students from Oshkosh came on a field trip to Madison. It wasn't an ordinary field trip, though: The students were on bikes, and the theme was bike-friendly communities. Our board members Pete and Jim, Steve Arnold from Bike Fitchburg, and a number of other Madison volunteers took the students around town and showed off our city's bike infrastructure.

Bikes and buses make for a great combination

May was also the month when planning for Madison’s future Bus Rapid Transit system really picked up. This clearly had been one of the big election topic, and with a mayor strongly committed to improving transit in Madison, the city put many resources into making BRT a reality. An integrated transportation system beyond cars is important for everyone, and bus rapid transit can work well in combination with biking and walking. This topic will be with us for years to come, and for 2020 Madison Bikes is going to make a push to drive a conversation about how BRT can best work together with biking. 


What can I say? June was Bike Week, and it was great. Some of my personal highlights:

  • Working with all the amazing partners we had. Sponsors who contributed financially, bike station hosts, local non-profits that helped us spread the word or tabled at our events, all the volunteers, and of course Renee Callaway at the City! 
  • Producing Madison Bike Week TV with Liz: All we had was an idea: Wouldn’t it be nice to have short videos about what is happening each day of Madison Bike Week? No script, no rehearsal, no experience, all shot in one afternoon in Liz’s backyard.
  • Speaking in front of the Common Council when they officially pronounced Madison Bike Week in a resolution
  • The Fetch the Keg ride: For our Friday party, one of the beer sponsors was the Hop Garden in Paoli. How would we get the beer from Paoli to Madison? Of course by bike! 
  • Riding with the mayor: To kick off Madison Bike Week, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and several members of the Common Council joined us on a big group ride to city hall for a press conference.

Another June highlight was the launch of an all-electric BCycle bike share system. Madison BCycle replaced its entire fleet with e-assist bikes, and the launch was a big success. Some of our board members joined the launch ride around the Capitol, and our former board member Hank wrote a detailed review of the bikes and system.


It took us a little bit to recover from Bike Week. In July we ran a successful fundraising campaign in support of the new Pinney Library. We think books and bikes go together really well, and the new Pinney Library will be in a very bike-friendly location. For that reason the Madison Public Library Foundation ran a “Rack-Raising” campaign. Instead of the traditional model where you “buy” a brick for a new building, your donation was signified by a personalized bike rack. We were able to raise $1000 for the library -- thanks to everyone who donated! We’ll have some news to share about this in the next week or two. Stay tuned.


August started with a great event that Madison Bikes co-sponsored. Just Bikes!, Madison’s bike equity coalition, invited renowned mobility justice scholar and advocate Dr. Adonia Lugo to Madison. After a bike ride through Madison’s south side, Lugo gave a book talk about “Locating ourselves in Mobility Justice: Planning for multiracial and just future streets.” If you want to learn more about her work, I recommend reading her book “Bicycle/Race.”

Two exciting new bike infrastructure projects came online in August: In Shorewood Hills the Blackhawk Path opened. The path closes a gap of the University Ave/Campus Drive corridor, where previously bikes had to detour through Marshall Court. On the isthmus, the first stage of construction of the John Nolen/Williamson/Blair/Wilson (a.k.a. The Hairball) intersection was completed. While the intersection is still constructed in a way that prioritizes motor vehicle throughput over everything else, the project did bring some nice improvements for people on bikes, such as the much widened bike path in front of Machinery Row and a new protected two-way bike lane on Blount.

Blackhawk path video


I talked about change in the city earlier, and this fall we saw two more indicators of this change: Our board member Baltazar de Anda Santana was appointed to the city’s Transportation Policy and Planning Board, and yours truly was appointed to the Transportation Commission. 

One of the jobs of a local bike advocate is to be critical of the status quo and to often focus on the negative. So it is nice every once in a while to be reminded of the good things we have in our city. In September a delegation from the Wasatch Front Range region in Utah came to town because from their perspective Madison is a biking success story. We were very happy to organize the event and show our visitors around on a bike tour and connect them with local planners, elected officials, and advocates.


The focus of October was the city budget. To paraphrase a well-known quote: What a city truly values is reflected in its budget. Yes, there are many other important levers that we need to pull on to improve active transportation, and most bike infrastructure is ridiculously cheap when compared to, say, expanding the Beltline. But this year’s budget had many important -- and sometimes controversial -- pieces that will help make transportation in Madison better. We contributed to the discussion by writing explainer blog posts about the wheel tax, encouraging you to write in about Vision Zero and 7-day-a-week clearing of our arterial multi-use paths.  


The advocacy efforts of October came to fruition in November. The Common Council passed a budget that from my perspective was overwhelmingly good: Funding for bus rapid transit and a study to reorganize our existing Metro bus network, to improve our most dangerous intersections, and to keep our paths clear of ice and snow seven days a week. The path clearing project had been something that we had been working on for several years, and so it was a great success to see it finally come to fruition! Thanks to everyone who has supported us in this.

Photo: Dan Stout

Speaking of winter, November also saw us host another edition of the Winter Bike Fashion Show, an event to encourage and educate people to try riding in the cold season. We had great models and a record attendance! Lots of pictures in this post.

Another exciting thing in November: A new, parking-protected bike lane opened on Bassett Street. Instead of having parked cars on the curb and a bike lane between the parked cars and the regular travel lane, parked cars and a buffer create a protected bike lane on these two blocks of Bassett. This is the first parking-protected bike lane in Madison, and the city is conducting a year-long test, which hopefully will lead to a wider adoption around the city.


December is a time of reflection. One result of that reflection was that we decided to do a strategic planning exercise next year. Madison Bikes has been around since 2016, and we feel that it’s a good time to check in what we have achieved so far and where we’re going to go in the couple years. How do we prioritize what we work on? Is an all-volunteer model sustainable in the long term? (And if it isn’t: what are the alternatives?) What are some achievable, measurable goals for the next 1, 5, or 10 years for our organization? I’m excited to explore these questions and continue to build on the past four years of great work that we’ve been doing.

December is also the time of our board election. I’m sad to see some of our previous board members leave: A big thanks to Steph, Jake, Kate, and Pepe for your time with us! We will miss you! And I’m excited to welcome our new board members. We’ll introduce them on our blog in January.

Ah, and one last thing: There are many ways to support Madison Bikes, and one of them is by supporting us financially. If you appreciate what we’re doing, please consider making a donation to us. We appreciate any support you can offer, no matter how small. Thanks!


Last Weekly Update of the Decade

This Week


New Years Day Ride Meet at Barriques on Park St for a relaxed ride around Lake Wingra, with the traditional stop at The Laurel Tavern on our way past.

This is the inaugural training event for the BDETS (Bombay Donut Event Training Series), and there may or may not also be the great elixir Cherry Bounce or other drinkables (sipables?) in the offing. More info can be found here

Holiday Fantasy in Lights Family Bike Ride 4:00 – 6:00 pm Who says cars get all the fun during the season of lights? Join the Madison Bikes Community for a free family bike ride through the Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Olin Park ( We will meet at Lakeside St. Coffee House at 4PM and leave at 4:30PM sharp to Olin Park. We will also return to Lakeside St. Coffee House as a group after. There will be free coffee and hot chocolate before and after the ride! The Holiday Fantasy in Light organizers have asked participants to please wear light/bright clothing and have functioning lights for your bike.


FB4K Madison Season Kickoff Party 5:30 – 10:30 pm at Harmony Bar & Grill Come shake off those New Years cobwebs by joining FB4K for a family friendly, early show at the Harmony Bar with The Kissers (Acoustic Irish Pub Set) and Covered in Fuzz (debut performance from FB4K Madison staff/volunteer band playing an 'Electric Campfire' set). They will also be announcing the winner of the Giant Fat Bike Raffle at 9pm and having a silent auction. $15 Suggested Donation at the door. All proceeds benefit FB4K! More info here.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city's Bike Madison page.

Monday Update: University Ave updates, Jan 4 Family Ride

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

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

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

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

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

The tl;dr bullet points are:

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

More details and other changes below.

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

Now the longer version.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

University Ave reconstruction meeting Wednesday

Short version

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

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

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

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

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

The longer version, with more details

Left turns

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

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

Overpass for Campus Dr Path

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

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

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

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

One crosswalk being removed

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

No bike facilities on the south side

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

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

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

Some good news on facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists

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

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


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