On Monday, Robbie and I had a nice chat with Brian Standing on WORT’s 8 O’Clock Buzz. Check it out here or on the WORT FM website. As a reminder, you can find all past news coverage of Madison Bikes here.
Tuesday’s Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission meeting had a full agenda including a first look at a number of upcoming cross sections and a review of a new Request for Proposal for the Downtown Bike Center that will be built at Judge Doyle Square. I raised a number of questions and concerns about the RFP, referencing details found in this 2012 Report. While I’m very supportive of the bike center in concept, I think there’s a good chance of it failing if it’s not implemented and operated effectively. What could be worse publicity than a $1M bike investment in the heart of downtown that goes underutilized? As always, PBMVC meetings are available to watch online for anyone interested in tuning in live or watching the recordings.
And while I was at PBMVC, Harald stopped in at Hotel Red for the Regent Street/South Campus open house. A neighborhood plan was already adopted back in 2007. But while that plan sets some priorities and parameters for development, this open house was intended to carry the conversation forward and look at various options for bringing the plan to life. Biking featured fairly prominently, with ideas like improving the SW Path or to “explore bike opportunities” in the area of Regent Street where Budget Bicycle Center is located. Providing bike facilities on Regent Street, however, didn’t seem to be part of any plan. It didn’t become clear during the open house what the next steps are going to be or who to direct feedback to.
On Wednesday, the Transportation Ordinance Rewrite Committee continued its work on reimagining and rewriting Madison’s transportation ordinance. It seems like the group has settled on the concept of creating a new Transportation Planning and Policy Board and is looking at potentially combining all of the other transportation commissions into a new single Transportation Commission. While there is certainly value in connecting the dots between the various elements of our transportation system, the new commission is currently drafted to have only seven seats with no requirement for representatives from any of the transportation modes that we are trying to strengthen (ped, bike, transit). This is really important and fundamental work, so please stay tuned and be ready to advocate to keep cycling’s seat at the table.
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On Thursday, Alder Eskrich and city staff rolled out their vision for a reconstructed Monroe Street. After months of planning, a series of public input sessions, and an online survey all calling for significant improvements to pedestrian and bicycle accommodations and a commitment to green infrastructure, the proposal instead continues to prioritize motor vehicle throughput and on-street parking by not changing anything. That’s right: The rush hour travel lanes and miles of underutilized street parking will remain untouched and people on bikes and on foot will continue to watch from the sidelines. There’s a lot to dig into with this project and, in particular, the failed public engagement process. The proposal will go to the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission in November, Board of Public Works in December, and then will look for final approval at the Common Council meeting in January.
There are two opportunities to get involved directly with Madison Bikes this week. On Tuesday, join the Communications Committee at Cafe Hollander and, Wednesday, meet up with the Advocacy Committee at Cargo Coffee. Check the calendar for details and feel free to stop in and check it out.
On Thursday, there’s a Public Market Site Design workshop: “As the City continues to make progress on implementation of the Public Market, this workshop will be an opportunity to discuss the site design and how the Public Market connects with surroundings amenities, natural features, properties, infrastructure, etc.” Getting meaningful access by bike is often best accomplished at this early design phase.
And, on Friday, you have an opportunity to support the Bike Fed and statewide bike advocacy by attending the 2016 Saris Gala.