Spring is definitely on the way and the ramping of activities for this week’s update shows it.
- We have an important meeting on the planned reconstruction of Winnebago Street (discussed in more detail below).
- Madison BCycle is back after being away all winter. To celebrate and give everyone a taste of the subject, you can ride free the first week of April. There’s a promo code to use, so follow the link for more information.
- North Hancock St from E Johnson to the E Washington will be closed for three weeks for reconstruction, starting April 2. In addition, the intersection of E Mifflin and N Hancock will be close. Yes, that’s going to be a pain when you are using the bike boulevard! The city says you’ll be able to get through by bike, but you’ll have to get off and walk.
- A report on the results of the East Mifflin Diverter test is available. Although the city received some pushback, they are recommending that the diverter be made permeant.
- A stolen bike Boy, does it suck when someone takes off with your beloved ride. Let’s bring Kelsey Walsh’s bike home!!
The reconstruction of Winnebago Street is on the agenda of the Madison Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) when they meet Tuesday evening. The meeting begins at 5:00 pm in Room 201 of the City-County Building. The PBMVC will consider two proposed designs for the reconstruction of Winnebago St between Second St. and Bashford Ave. The public can speak for three minutes on this item (or any item on the agenda.) You can also find the list of Commission members here, in case you want to email them.
Thanks to Grant for creating a comprehensive overview of the project and its implications for people walking and biking on Winnebago here. Plans proposed by the city seek to create a more neighborhood-scale street profile that would benefit residents and street users alike. Option 2 offers more positives for everyone using the street:
- Better access for walking from southeast side of street, especially with the elimination of the current grade separation,
- Better, shorter crossings for people on foot,
- Buffered lanes for bikes,
- ADA accessible bus stop at Fourth St,
- Narrower lanes for motor vehicles to encourage lower traffic speed,
- A wider terrace on southeast side of the street would provide space for bigger, canopy-type street trees.
If you can get to the PBMVC meeting on Tuesday to voice support for Option #2 that would be great. If you are unable to attend, consider sending an email in support of Option #2 to the members of the PBMVC, city engineering, and Alder Marsha Rummel before the Tuesday meeting. Here’s the list of all those emails, so you can cut and paste them, if you want.
A detailed discussion of Madison Bikes review of the alternatives for Winnebago is available in a recent blog post.
Here are the week’s calendar, at a glance:
Monday, March 26
Bike Fitchburg monthly meeting, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd.
Tuesday, March 27
Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission meeting, 5:00 pm, Rm 201 of the City County Bldg, 210 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Wednesday, March 28
Middleton Pedestrian/Bicycle/Transit Committee, 6:30 pm at Middleton City Hall, 7426 Hubbard Ave.
Thursday, March 29
Olbrich Park Public Input Meeting, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The City of Madison Parks Division is hosting a public input meeting to discuss improvements at Olbrich Park focusing on the Garver Feed Mill - North Plat and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens operations area. At this meeting, City staff will review current site conditions and seek input from area residents and project stakeholders on the proposed improvements. If you have questions or comments but are unable to attend the meeting, please contact Mike Sturm at (608) 267-4921 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, March 31
Cafe Domestique, 1408 Williamson St, Madison. This ride rolls rain or shine. The folks at Café Domestique are riding! What better way to guarantee that you're going to ride than have a group hold you accountable? Meet at Domestique at 8:30 for Coffee, 9am roll out. Moderate 15mph pace, almost all pavement unless the group is feeling adventurous. Plan for the weather to be lousy. Distance 30 - 50 miles.
In Case You Missed It
Here are a few of the most popular posts on the Madison Bikes Facebook Group this past week:
After an autonomous vehicle killed a pedestrian in Arizona, a lot of people had an opinion about what that means for human-powered transportation.
We need your support:
This coming Tuesday evening, March 27 at 5:00pm in Room 201 of the City-County Building, the Madison Pedestrian, Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) will be looking at two proposed designs for the reconstruction of Winnebago St between Second St. and Bashford Ave. Grant wrote a comprehensive overview of the project and its implications for people walking and biking on Winnebago here. Plans proposed by the city seek to create a more neighborhood-scale street profile that would benefit residents and street users alike. Option 2 in particular offers positives for everyone using the street:
- better access for walking from southeast side of street, especially with the elimination of the current grade separation
- better, shorter crossings for people on foot
- buffered lanes for bikes
- ADA accessible bus stop at Fourth St
- narrower lanes for motor vehicles to encourage lower traffic speed
- A wider terrace on southeast side of the street would provide space for bigger, canopy-type street trees.
Rendering of Option 2 (Image: City of Madison Engineering)
Please consider coming to the PBMVC meeting on Tuesday and voicing your support for Option #2. For anyone unable to attend, please send an email of support for the all ages and abilities design alternative to the members of the PBMVC, city engineering, and Alder Marsha Rummel before the Tuesday meeting.
It's almost spring, so I thought I'd include a nice photo of a bike relaxing by the lake. Here's what's happening.
Madison is hiring a Transportation Director, and it would be great if we had a really dynamic pool of candidates. This is a very important new position that will be able to shape all modes of transportation. So if you either know anyone who might be a good hire or have networks where a great person might see it, here’s the job announcement.
In the week to come:
Monday: The Madison Bikes board will meet at 6:00 pm at the Central Library. The board meeting and all committees are open to the public, so if you’d like to see what we are up to or have ideas for us, come on by.
Wednesday: The Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee will meet at 6:00 pm at the Bendy Works, 106 E Doty St, 2nd floor. Again, this meeting is open, so if you want to help us out, come on by to chat.
The Madison Transportation Planning Board Citizen Advisory Committee is meeting in Room 103A of the City-County Bldg, and there are a couple of items on the agenda that might interest bicyclists. They will continue to discuss the Low-Stress Bicycle Network Analysis and also will review and look at recommendation on scoring and funding the Transportation Alternatives block grant. What that means is that they will consider how to pick bike-ped projects to be funded by federal transportation money. The full agenda and contact for the meeting can be found here.
Saturday: Café Domestique (1408 Williamson St) Spring Rides will start off on March 24 and run until April 14. The general idea is to get some base miles in. They will be riding even if the weather is lousy. This Saturday’s ride is going to average 15 mph and go 30-50 miles. Coffee at 8:30 am and roll out at 9:00 am. More info on their Facebook page.
Also of interest:
Survey: An MBA student from the University of Maryland is doing a survey on how people use their bikes and what type of bikes they own. They specifically sent it to us because they wanted responses from cities that are bike-friendly. It only takes a few minutes to complete, so if you’d like to help out, you can find it at the link above. And feel free to pass it on to your friends, family, and other bike groups.
Popular Facebook posts from the Madison Bikes group in the past week
You can find all the following in the news feed on the Madison Bikes Facebook group. There are new articles and links posted almost every day, so the group is a great way to keep up with the news and also learn something about what other communities are doing.
- A long, and somewhat contentious discussion of the acquittal of the motorist involved in the bicyclist fatality on Highway 14 in 2016
- Some great photos from Saturday’s Tour of the Latino Family
- And, unfortunately, a pedestrian was hit on S Park St and a bicyclist hit at E Johnson and North.
- And people had a lot to say about the collapse of the pedestrian bridge in Miami.
Madison Bikes Board member Harald reports some impressions from his recent stay in Germany. This article was originally published on Harald's blog, Ride or Pie?!
I grew up in small-town Germany. Welzheim, my home town, is a city of 10,000 people. It's on the edges of the Stuttgart metro region (population 2.7 million), about 30 miles from Stuttgart itself. My parents still live in Welzheim, and I visited them for a week this March. And, of course, I rode my bike.
|Lovely small roads make for great biking|
So as Welzheim is in Europe, there obviously is a lot of bike infrastructure, right? And nobody drives a car. Well, note quite. Germany with good reason is known as a nation of cars (Mercedes Benz and Porsche have their headquarters in Stuttgart). And in a small, rural town like Welzheim, there's actually not much obvious bike infrastructure to speak of. There are zero protected bike lanes, bike parking is pretty mediocre, and even on-street bike lanes don't exist, with the exception of an advisory bike lane on two streets. And yet, the biking experience is much better than you'd expect.
Traffic calming is one big reason for this. On most residential streets, the speed limit is 30 kph (19 mph). More importantly, the streets are built so that people by and large actually drive at that speed. The streets by default are much narrower than a typical US residential street. So when a car is parked on the street, two cars generally can't pass each other, keeping speeds down. Further, intersections are usually unsigned, meaning that the person coming from the right has the right of way. Effectively that means that at each intersection you have to be prepared to stop. Actual stop signs, on the other hand, are so rare that my navigation app actually gave me a voice notification the few times that I did encounter one.
Traffic signals are also much rarer than in the US. The whole town of Welzheim has not one signal. Roundabouts, on the other hand, are plentiful. Starting in the 1980s, new intersections on busier streets often were built as roundabouts, or old ones were retrofitted. On the 8-mile drive from the nearest train station to my parents' house, you will encounter no fewer than 10 roundabouts. Now in the US, among bike advocates and the general population, roundabouts have a bad rap. Much could be said here, but it's important to note that German roundabouts are built smaller than US ones, and multi-lane roundabouts like the one we have on Mineral Point Road in Madison are very, very rare. More narrow lanes means people driving have to slow down more and aren't tempted to pass people on bikes on the roundabout approaches or in the roundabout.
Some residential streets are designates as "traffic-calmed area," a concept similar to the Dutch woonerf. Cars must drive at walking speed, and people walking and biking are entitled to the whole street. Again, those streets are usually built in a way that makes it clear that people must drive slowly.
What about commercial streets? Welzheim's main street looks like this:
The speed limit is 20 kph (12 mph), and as a pedestrian you can easily cross the street wherever you like. Through strategic placement of planters or on-street parking spots, there will be locations where two cars can't pass each other, keeping speeds down.
Going one step further, some cities have pedestrian malls in their city centers. This is Schorndorf:
Biking is sometimes restricted in these areas, either banning bikes at specific times or asking people to bike at walking speed. Deliveries by car or truck are permitted only during a short time window each day.
Bike parking is not that great by Madison standards. If there are bike racks at all, they often default to what Germans call the Felgenbieger (rim bender) style of rack. This is probably one reason that kickstands are very common on bikes, allowing people to just park their bike wherever when they go for a quick trip to a shop.
|E-assist bike on a rim bender rack|
|Note the wheel lock on the bike on the right. Good enough for a quick stop.|
At train stations and in larger cities, bike parking facilities tend to be better. For instance, at the Bad Cannstatt train station, there is a "bike station" where you can valet your bike (and also have it repaired while its parked there). With the Judge Doyle Square bike center, Madison is poised to get similar facilities. We'll have to see how well they work without a transit location.
|The bike station is run by a charitable enterprise, training and employing people with disabilities or other challenges|
|Forest service roads are usually unpaved|
|The green signs point show bike bike route destinations and distances; the small square signs underneath them are for touristic bike routes; the yellow sign is for hiking.|
I want to be clear that there are some problems with these routes: Welzheim is in a rather hilly area, and the easiest routes up those hills are often taken up by roads. So if you follow a bike route, you should always be prepared for steep climbs. The routes also do not get cleared of snow in the winter. And finally, sometimes the routes are geared more toward recreational biking instead of providing the most direct route. But overall, they provide an amazing low-stress network for people biking, for recreation and transportation alike.
|Some snow left on this forest road|
Are there any takeaways for bike advocacy in Madison? Obviously some of the things I have described we can't recreate here. The issue of traffic calming may offer some lessons, though. Many advocacy efforts here in the US focus on creating protected bike lanes as a way to enable people of all ages and abilities to bike. And there are good reasons for that. But at the same time we shouldn't lose track of the fact that traffic calming can also create spaces that are great for biking and walking (and have other benefits such as reduced noise). This applies not only to residential streets, but also to commercial corridors. This does require being serious about it, though. Merely slapping a 20 mph speed limit sign on an otherwise unchanged street is not going to be enough. And neither is the occasional speed bump or sporadic enforcement. Diverters that prevent cut-through traffic, reducing the width of a street, creating bump-outs at intersections--these are some measures that may transform a street into one that many people will feel comfortable biking on.
A second takeaway is that good signage can add a lot of value at little cost (financial and political. In a way, the farm roads in Welzheim are similar to, say, the network of multi-use paths in Fitchburg.
|Fitchburg path network (Map: OpenStreetMap contributors)|
This edition of our weekly update is brought to you from an airport in Germany. I've been visiting my parents for a week and am now back on the way to Madison. Stay tuned for a post about biking in Germany. Until then, here are the latest bike-related events for the week.
Lots of bikes in Freiburg, Madison's sister city in southwest Germany
On Monday, the Madison Bikes Events Committee is going to lay out the schedule for our organization's events for the year. If you're interested in being involved, please come to Barriques on W Wash at 6pm or email our volunteer coordinator Heather.
I've been told that spring hasn't fully arrived in Madison yet, but that does not deter BCycle from starting the 2018 bike share season on Thursday. Welcome back!
On Saturday, you can join Madison Bikes board member Baltazar for the regular Tour of the Latino Family/Tour de la Familia Latina. This month's theme is St. Patrick's Day/Dia de San Patricio. Meet at Olin Park at 1pm
Here’s hoping most of you were able to get out on the bike and enjoy the warm weather. I ride all winter long, but rarely get out of the city on my winter bike. It’s such a great feeling to get back out to the sights and sounds and smells of the country.
And for those that don’t follow the activity on the Madison Bikes Facebook Group, here’s a collection of some of the top articles recently shared:
Monday: Next Sunday is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time and that means today is the last MEAThead ride of the season. They’ll be back again in the fall after the easy weather is gone again.
Tuesday: On Tuesday, the Madison Bikes Communications Committee will meet up at the Memorial Union. Check out the About Us section of our webpage for more info on any of the Madison Bikes Committees.
For those that may not be fond of cold-weather riding, this week will give you a little taste of spring. Surely winter is not over, but the temperatures should be high enough to tempt the fair-weather riders. Enjoy some of the opportunities below or work on improving the city.
Monday, February 26
Bike Fitchburg monthly meeting; 6:30–8:30 pm. Come to the meeting and let the folks working to make Fitchburg an awesome place to bike you’re your ideas and concerns. Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd.
The MEAThead Ride leaves from Ford’s Gym, 2114 Winnebago St 7:00 pm. The ride follows the lake loop with the option to add on a trip through the Arboretum. This weekly ride is ends the last week of March, so if you haven’t gotten to meet up for this ride yet and have been thinking about joining the group, the time is now.
Wednesday, February 28
Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee; 6:00–7:30 pm at Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200. Stop by to see what this committee is planning or talk about any ideas you might have on what we can do on the advocacy front.
Middleton Pedestrian/Bicycle/Transit Committee; 6:30–7:30 pm, Middleton City Hall, Council Chambers, 7426 Hubbard Ave. The agenda can be found here.
Thursday, March 1
Madison Bikes Development Committee; 6:00–7:30 pm, Colectivo Coffee - On the Square, 25 S Pinckney St.
Ontario Park Bike Path Meeting; 6:00–7:00 pm, Whitehorse Middle School, 218 Schenk St. Come learn about a proposed bike path through Ontario Park. This is a short path that makes a critical connection for the Whitehorse School kids and the Eastmoreland neighborhood. More information on the planned bike/pedestrian connection to the Capital City path can be found on the project website.
Update on Winnebago projects
This past week saw the public meeting to discuss the reconstruction on Winnebago Ave. We’ll have to get an update later this week from Grant or another person who attended, but just today came news that the project has been delayed, along with changes to the diagonal crossing of the Isthmus Path at Riverside.
Below is information sent out by Alder Marsha Rummel. Mark your calendars for March 27, when the main Winnebago project will be before the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission to discuss a revised design.
1. Winnebago diagonal crossing canceled, planning to resume after construction season ends.
Last week I posted a tentative date for the Winnebago diagonal bike crossing project at Riverside for February 26. It is not happening. I have been informed the project has been delayed. Recommendations from the community and Ped Bike to add bike connections to Winnebago at Merry St made Engineering realize that they did not have sufficient funds allocated in 2018 for the project. City Engineer Rob Phillips promised me that staff would engage with the public in the early fall to look at a larger project for next/future year.
2. Winnebago reconstruction delayed for parking study.
If you attended the second Winnebago reconstruction PIM meeting last week or last December and signed up for the email list, you would have received this email from project manager Jim Wolfe on Friday: The City has decided to delay the upcoming meetings and mailings for 2018 reconstruction of Winnebago St. between Second and Bashford. The updated schedule for the project is noted below. With this additional time, City Traffic Engineering will conduct a parking study of the area, and this data will help with deciding on a proposed design for Winnebago St. The project website will also be updated with this revised schedule.
Pedestrian, Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Commission: March 27
Mail estimated assessments: April 6
Board of Public Works public hearing: April 18
Common Council public hearing: May 1
Bid project: early May
Start construction: early June
The parking study will provide important data to show how residents, employees and visitors park on the four block area from 2nd St to Bashford. The study will be done twice - soon and after March 15 when alternate side parking ends. There are benefits to Option 2 but I have heard concerns about the loss of parking so this study will provide important information to help decisionmakers.
Meetings and events this week
The week is a little short on city meetings, but there are still lots of things to do.
Monday: After a full day of strategic planning on Sunday, the board decided to cancel our board meeting on Monday at the Library. These meetings are always open to the public, but we won’t be at the library this month, so we don’t want you to come out in the horrible weather predicted, just to find us MIA.
But the MEAThead ride is still on, as it is every Monday through March. They will be leaving from Ford’s Gym, 2114 Winnebago, at 7:00 pm for a no-drop, Lake Monona loop with optional loop through Arboretum.
Tuesday is the Spring Primary Election, so bike on over to your polling place and make your voice heard! There are primaries in Districts 6, 11, and 15 on the County Board, so if you live in one of those areas (near east, neat west, and far west), then you will see a county board race on your ballot. There is also a state-wide primary for Supreme Court Justice, so everyone can vote in that one. Spring voter turnout is very, very low, so your vote will be especially important. Not sure where to vote, who’s on the ballot, or who the candidates are? Head on over to the League of Women Voters of Dane County website to read candidate statements and answers or to find out where to vote. Polls are open 7:00 am – 8:00 pm, and you can register at the polls. Find out more about how to vote and what you need to register or what voter IDs are acceptable at the ink above or on the City of Madison Clerk’s site.
Because Tuesday is Election Day, the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission meets on Wednesday this month – 5:00 pm in Room 201 of the City-County Building. You can see what’s on the agenda here. It looks like a pretty short agenda, but they will be discussing the winter maintenance policy for bike facilities. Did you know you can watch the PBMVC meetings on cable or on your computer, just in case you want to know what they are doing, but don’t want to go downtown? Head over to the Madison City Channel and watch it live or check out the recording later.
Also on Wednesday is the Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee meeting at 6:00 pm in the offices of Bendyworks, 106 E Doty St #200. As with all our committee meetings, you are welcome to attend to either watch or participate.
And that’s about it for the week ahead. We’ll have more information on Winnebago later, or go to our Facebook groups to join the discussion.
Another successful Winter Bike Week is over! Did you have the opportunity to stop at any of the commuter stations, the social rides, or at the celebration at Nutty Bar on Friday? Sadly, even though of course I was biking to work all week, my schedule was so busy that I could only make it to two of the many events. But I've seen the pictures and read reports from others, all saying that. Here are some impressions from last week (thanks to Peter Gray, Linda Larsen, Kevin Hayes-Birchler, and our board members for the pictures):
If you can't see the images in your email, please open the post on our website.
Thanks go out out to the Madison Bikes board members and volunteers, our many community and business partners who stepped up and partnered with us to make the second Madison Winter Bike Week another success!
Bandung's Nutty Bar
Canteen Taqueria & Tequila Bar
Clean Lakes Alliance
Liv Cycling/Fitchburg Cycles
Madison Bike Winter
Monday Night MEAThead Ride
Orange Tree Imports
Rockhound Brewing Co
The Cargo Bike Shop
Underground Food Collective
UW Bicycle Resource Center
We'll be back next year -- let us know if you want to partner with us for Winter Bike Week or any of our other events.
On Monday, the Madison Bikes Events Committee meets at Barriques on Atwood. If you'd like to get involved with our events, just stop by!
On Tuesday, please come to the Winnebago Street public input meeting. As Grant has outlined in his post, the choice is to either keep things as they are, or to create a Winnebago Street that works for everyone. Tuesday, 2/13, 6-8 pm at the Goodman Community Center.
On Saturday, Madison Bikes board member Baltazar is hosting another Tour de la Familia Latina. Meet at Olin Park at 1 pm.
And on Sunday, the Madison Bikes board will have its annual strategic planning session to identify our priorities for the coming year and beyond.
This coming Tuesday (02/13/18), the city's engineering department will host a second neighborhood meeting on the Winnebago Street (2nd Street to Bashford) reconstruction project. The first meeting was held on 01/10/18 and this earlier blog post provides most of the background on the project. At Tuesday’s meeting, Engineering staff is expected to put forward two refined alternatives for consideration.
Alternative #1 considers narrowing the existing roadway by 2’ by skinnying up the main travel lanes and keeping the bike lanes and on-street parking as is. For people biking on Winnebago this would take what is already an uncomfortably tight environment for biking and make it even less practical.
Here’s what it feels like to be passed by a bus with the current 11’ travel lanes and unbuffered bike lane.
And here’s the current bike lane up against on-street car parking.
Best practice roadway design calls for 26’ of space to accommodate a bus, bike, and parked car lane. The current street only provides 24’, and this proposed Alternative #1 would take away another foot, leaving only 23’. This will make an already stressful bike facility much more stressful, particularly in winter conditions.
Alternative #2 would repurpose one side of on-street car parking. With this design, appropriate shy space or buffer is included between the bike lane and travel lane, as well as between the bike lane and parked cars. This design results in a biking environment that is considered Low-Stress and appropriate for riders of All Ages and Abilities. Another significant benefit of this design is that it will allow for widened street terraces that can accommodate street trees. (Alternative #1 keeps the existing street terraces, which are too narrow to support street tree plantings.)
Madison Bikes works to make Madison a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year round. At the heart of that commitment is a commitment to equity. "Anyone" means people of all ages and abilities. A Winnebago Street that only works for 10% of people that would like to bike is a Winnebago Street that doesn’t work.
From NACTO’s recently published Designing for All Ages & Abilities: Contextual Guidance for High-Comfort Bicycle Facilities
Please consider coming to the public meeting on Tuesday and voicing your support for Alternative #2. For anyone unable to attend, please send an email of support for the all ages and abilities design alternative to the following:
Jim Wolfe (Engineering): JWolfe@cityofmadison.com
Christy Bachmann (Engineering): CBachmann@cityofmadison.com
Marsha Rummel (Alder): email@example.com