Categories
Weekly Update

A busy week: BRT, VMT, Interceptor, Cranksgiving

While the bike paths have gotten noticeably emptier after the beautiful weather we had earlier, the calendar for next week looks surprisingly busy! Let me walk through everything that’s going on.

The record temperatures provided a great opportunity to get more @cyclists_of_msn photos

Speaking of empty paths: We at Madison Bikes firmly believe that biking can be a year-round activity. In past years, we have hosted the Winter Bike Fashion Show, an event where Madisonians who already ride in the cold show off their approach to all-year riding and answer the questions of the winter-bike-curious. An in-person event is not an option this year, and so we’re creating a series of short videos about fall, winter, and spring riding. We published the first episode, on fall riding, last week. Watch it here. And a big thank you to Eleanor Conrad and Eric Grycan who produced much of the video. More episodes still to come.

On Monday night, you have to choose between three options:

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is having its regular meeting. Some items on their agenda:

  • Vehicle Miles Traveled update: Way back in 2009, then-Alder Satya Rhodes-Conway introduced a resolution to the Common Council that would have set a goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 25% by 2020. During the legislative process, the resolution got watered down significantly, and the final version no longer contained that 25% reduction goal. All that remained was a mandate to produce annual reports, “describing trends in traffic and mass transit volumes, including, to the extent possible, aggregate vehicle-miles traveled (VMT).” It seems like even this weak goal of annual reports was abandoned after a few years, but now the TPPB is receiving an update. Did we reach a 25% reduction? Well, we don’t know sure, but looking at things like traffic counts, it looks like VMT have hardly shrunk at all. Driving is alive and well.
  • On-street parking goals: There’s an on-going effort to change the residential parking permit program, as part of a larger rethinking about we use the public right of way. In certain parts of the city, the RP program provides local residents the option to store their car on the street, whereas “commuters” don’t have that option. The permits costs a mere $3.50 per month — less than what it costs the City in administrative costs…
  • Bus Rapid Transit: There will be an update on the routing of the initial BRT line, mostly around the question of “center-running” bus lanes on parts of the corridor. One thing important for people on bikes: Whereas side-running bus lanes allow for the option to have a shared bus/bike lane, center-running takes away that option, and unless we reduce the space for motor vehicles, it is challenging to create safe and comfortable bike infrastructure.
Proposed BRT configuration for E Washington Ave: Buses in the middle, bike/car parking on the right, except during rush hour

Speaking of BRT: There is a public input meeting specifically about the plans for East Washington Ave on Monday night as well, starting at 6 pm. The currently favored alternative would have buses running in the center, and the outside lanes, which currently are parking/bike lanes, would be turned into general travel lanes during rush between Blount and Milwaukee. In other words, when traffic volumes are highest, there would be no bike accommodations whatsoever. Or as the report says, “During peak hours, cyclists would need to travel within the general purpose travel lane, or use a parallel route such as the Capital City trail or the Mifflin Street bike boulevard.” Sign up for the meeting here.

Finally, Monday is also the day for the Vilas Park Master Plan public input meeting. You can find all the details in the blog post that we published yesterday. Sign up here for the meeting here. Somewhat related to the meeting, a reminder that you can sign a petition to keep cars off Vilas Park Drive (this is not part of the master plan).

On Wednesday, the Transportation Commission is meeting. Some bike-relevant things on the agenda:

  • Update on the Parking Protected Bike Lane Project on Bassett Street. If you have feedback on Madison’s only(?) parking-protected bike lane, email TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com or sign up to speak at the meeting. This project was a temporary arrangement to test how it would work, and it’ll be good to get feedback from those who have actually used it.
  • Gorham Street resurfacing: There will be an update on this project. Gorham Street was identified as a missing link in Madison’s bike network. Several blocks don’t have any bike infrastructure at all, and the rest of it has a narrow combined parking/bike lane. The Transportation Commission asked staff to look into options for improving this, and we’ll see what they were able to come up with.

On Wednesday is an informational meeting about the “Nine Springs Valley Interceptor.” This is a construction project by the Sewerage District — which will unfortunately close down parts of the Military Ridge and Cannonball paths at the “Velo Underround” for the better part of a year. The closure starts on December 7 and you can find detour maps here.

On Thursday at 7pm, Madison Bikes is co-hosting a meet and greet with the General Manager of Metro Transit, Justin Stuehrenberg. Justin started his job this year, amidst the pandemic, and the Madison Area Bus Advocates invited him to a meet and greet that will allow you to ask questions. Find more information and a registration link here.

On Saturday it’s time for Cranksgiving. This food-drive-meet-alley-cat-race is organized by the Trek Stores this year. I haven’t seen anything about a possible cancellation, but given the current public health situation, please check in with the organizers to see if anything has changed. Sign up here.

Finally, a reminder to take the Shared Streets Survey that the City has put together. Except for the Vilas Park Drive, the Shares Streets program has been ended for the winter, and the survey is a great way to provide feedback on what the program should look like next year.

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

Categories
Weekly Update

Face Masks, Funding, Walk-Tober

Madison Bikes face masks and DIY kits now available

A man wearing a green face mask with the Madison Bikes logo on it

You can’t have too many face masks, can you? We printed custom Madison Bikes fabric and are now offering hand-sewn (Thanks, Heather and Nicole!) masks and DIY mask kits. You can order yours here and show your support for Madison Bikes while keep yourself and your community safe and healthy. Supplies of the finished masks are limited.

Madison Bikes Board Open House

There’s still time to apply to be on the Madison Bikes board of directors. If you’re interested but want to learn more, drop by our virtual open house on Tuesday between 6 and 7:30pm. Meeting info:
Meeting ID meet.google.com/izm-uttm-xgg
Phone Number ‪+1 316-512-8967‬
PIN: ‪185 331 103#‬

Walk-tober

walk-tober graphic

Cycle September is over, but Walk-tober follows swiftly. The City has put together a bunch of activities to get you walking or wheeling.

October is a great month for walking.   The temperature is cooler and the fall colors are changing throughout the month.  Walk to work, walk to the store, walk to pick up food, walk before school or just walk for fun. Walk-tober 2020 features new walking route ideas each week to encourage you to get out and enjoy the season.  We also have a Walk-tober Challenge to encourage you to keep walking all month and have fun prizes for everyone who completes it.

See here for a full list of activities and there’s also some news coverage.

Benefits Blitz continues

Bike Benefits started their Bike Benefits Blitz in September but just extended it into October. Participate to get the usual Bike Benefits discounts and some extra prizes. Learn how it works here.

Cargo Bikes and Business

If you missed the lunch talk about cargo bikes and business during Madison Bike Week, you can watch a recording here. City staff and local businesses talk about how they use cargo bikes as a flexible and cost-effective solution to moving things around in the city.

Engineering updates

City Traffic Engineering has started providing updates on the various bike infrastructure projects going on right now. We’ll share these through our newsletter. This week the highlighted project is the progress at Gammon Road and the new West Towne Path underpass.

Construction of the next segment of the West Towne Path is underway and features an underpass of Gammon Road and a path connecting to the underpass along Gammon Road to Mineral Point Rd. The underpass is anticipated to be completed by the end of November.
When all segments of the West Towne Path are completed it will ultimately provide an east-west connection for non-motorized users from the Junction Road (CTH M) to the West Town Mall area and to the near west side of Madison.
Here is a picture of progress on the underpass as of mid-September.

Funding for new bike projects

There has been some good news about funding for various bike and path projects in Madison and Dane County. The City was awarded federal funding for improvements to the W Main St bike boulevard (I haven’t been able to find out what types of improvements are planned and when they’re going to take place). And County Executive Parisi announced funding for a slew of trail projects:

  • $6.5 million for constructing the Fish Camp to Lake Kegonsa State Park section of the Lower Yahara River Trail
  • $350k to connect the new boardwalk on the North Mendota Trail to Governor Nelson State Park, and funds to plan for a future trail connection that eventually leads to Mendota County Park.
  • $150k for the planned bike/ped/snowmobile bridge across the Wisconsin River on the Walking Iron Trail
  • $500k for the PARC & Ride Grant Program. “PARC & Ride grants support development of regional bicycle trails that are identified in the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan. Funds are awarded to local units of government and nonprofit organizations. Eligible projects now include bicycle playgrounds – an outdoor space designed to offer a variety of features and fun obstacles that safely build cycling confidence.”

You can find the full press release here: https://www.countyofdane.com/PressDetail/10720

Temporary Trails at Door Creek, Aldo Leopold Parks

We previously mentioned that Madison Parks has teamed up with Capital City Offroad Pathfinders to have temporary cyclocross trails in parks around the city. The current course is at Door Creek Park until October 5, and starting October 6 a course will be at Aldo Leopold Park. A great family friendly opportunity for some trail/’cross riding in your neighborhood.

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

Categories
Bike News E-Mail In Depth

Biking numbers in Madison: Not so great

Once a year in September, the US Census Bureau publishes the latest annual data from the American Community Survey (ACS). Included is information about how people commute to work. Transportation planners and advocates often rely on this data. Not so much because it is the absolutely best data, but because we don’t have a whole lot of other data about biking. This post takes a deep dive into the commuting data for Madison over the past couple years.

Let’s start with bike commuting: What’s the proportion of people biking to work1 in the City of Madison, and how has it changed over time?

We can see what looks like a slow downward trend, from around 5% in 2011 to 2016, to around 4% in the last few years. Note the dashed lines, though: These are the margins of error. Because the American Community Survey only send its survey to a sample of people (unlike the currently ongoing 2020 Census, which counts everyone), there is some of uncertainty in its numbers. What that means is that in 2019 the true number of people commuting could be as low as 2.7% or as high as 5.1%. And based on the data, it’s possible that in 2012 – the year with the apparent upward spike – fewer people were commuting than in 2019. Again, this is among the best data we have available, but keep this uncertainty in mind when reading the rest of this post. And even in light of this uncertainty it is pretty safe to say: Bike commuting in Madison hasn’t grown over the past nine years.

Is Madison an exception? Let’s add some other cities for comparison. We’ll choose cities that are maybe comparable in population, climate, or their Places for Bikes City Rating: Minneapolis, Portland, Pittsburgh, Fort Collins, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Milwaukee.

It looks like Madison isn’t that unique: Other cities, many of which have a high-for-the-US bike commute mode share, also have flat or slightly downward trends.

With bike commuting stagnating, how are other modes of transportation doing? Let’s compare the other modes of commuting in Madison.

One take-away from this chart is that things haven’t changed much in Madison. About two thirds of people keep driving to work; about 10 % each walk or take the bus; and about 5% each work from home or bike. The year-to-year variation most likely is within the margin of error.

So far, so bad. One thing we need to keep in mind: The proportion of people commuting to work by car, bus, bike, etc. is one thing. But Madison is a growing city, and for things like congestion or CO2 emissions, we have to look at absolute numbers:

Compared to 2011, there are 26575 more working Madisonians in 2019. So if, say, the car commute share stayed the same over that period, there’d be more cars on the road. We can look at these absolute numbers:

Because of the large difference between driving and biking, it’s a little hard to see in the chart, but compared to 2011, in 2019 there were 13294 (12%) more car commuters but only 51 “more” bike commuters in Madison.

Trips to work account for less than 20% of all trips. So is it possible that overall biking is still growing in Madison? Maybe people drive to work, but bike more to the grocery store or for recreation? We do have one source that can help answer this question: The Eco-Counters on the Southwest Path and the Capital City Trail. Their data don’t reach back all the way to 2011, but we do have several year’s worth of counts:

What to make of all this? Madison has a reputation for being bike friendly. The League of American Bicyclists has designate us a Platinum Bike-Friendly Community, and in the latest Places for Bikes City Rating we came in second. New bike infrastructure keeps being built. Our mayor joined a ride celebrating Madison Bike Week last year. The head of Madison’s Department of Transportation and the City Traffic Engineer are bike commuters. And still: All this doesn’t translate into a shift away from cars and toward biking.

National trends like low gas prices certainly play a role. But probably as important is the fact that locally we still have policies and procedures in place that making driving the easy, cheap, and convenient choice. Each bike infrastructure improvement is outmatched by yet another parking garage, another lane on the Beltline, a new subdivision or corporate campus at the edge of town, or a signal retiming to keep cars moving.

It will take sustained collective action, day after day, year after year, to move the needle. Madison Bikes is one piece of that collective action, but we can’t do it without you. Write to your Alder, provide testimony at public meetings, organize your neighborhood, join our board of directorssupport us financially.


  1. Maybe more precisely one would have to say “use biking as their main mode of transportation to work”. The actual question in the ACS is: “How did this person usually get to work LAST WEEK? If this person used more than one method of transportation during the trip, mark (x) the box of the one used for most of the distance.” Note the qualification about “used for most of the distance.” Someone who bikes from their home on the far west side to the nearest bus stop and then takes the bus downtown? They would be counted as a bus commuter. Also note the word “usually.” Someone who rides their bike two days a week and takes the bus on the other days? Again, a public transit commuter, according to the survey.
Categories
Weekly Update

Bike Week over, budget and ‘cross season on

A bicycle leaning on a glass facade, with Madison Bike Week posters attached to glass
My bike at the Pacific Cycle/Schwinn HQ, one of the food drive drop-off sites

Madison Bike Week 2020 is a wrap! It sure was different this year, but what isn’t… I want to say thank to our sponsors and community partners that contributed to the fact that we even had a Bike Week this year. If you took any great Madison Bike Week photos, please send them our way: info@madisonbikes.org

While Madison Bike Week is over, Cycle September continues. So you can still participate in the Bike Benefits Blitz, collect points in our Love to Ride group, donate used bike to Free Bikes 4 Kidz, or contribute to the Pedal for Good food drive and the Park Clean-up.

One new thing we did this year: Promoting Bike Week on a Madison Metro bus. If you spot bus #148, take a photo and send it our way!

The City meeting calendar is pretty empty this week. This is a good opportunity to remind you that budget season is in full swing: Mayor Rhodes-Conway presented her executive capital budget at the beginning of the month and hearings at the Finance Committee have started. From a biking and walking perspective, there are several good projects in the budget, such as the Garver Path, a new underpass of the railroad near Knoche’s on Old Middleton, the extension of the Cannoball Path, and improvements to the Troy Dr underpass. The mayor is also doubling down on her commitment to Vision Zero by “[a]llocating $3.0 million for the Vision Zero program to redesign the City’s most dangerous intersections in a way that will reduce traffic and pedestrian crashes.”

Screenshot from the executive capital budget with the heading "Major land use and transportation projects by year"

The Common Council will have special sessions on the budget in November, and we’ll keep you posted about opportunities to provide input.

Madison Parks is trying something new this year for cyclocross: In addition to the year-round cyclocross course in Northeast Park, the department, in collaboration with Capital Offroad Pathfinders, is setting up rotating temporary courses in parks in different parts of the city. This week’s course: Hill Creek Park on the far west side. Find more info and future locations on the Parks website.

Categories
E-Mail

Happy Madison Bike Week 2020!

Madison Bike Week has begun. For the next eight days, we’ll celebrate biking, in a safe and fun way. Liz and Harald walk through the events on Madison Bike Week TV:

And check out the full schedule on the Madison Bike Week event page — we’ll keep updating things during the week. Which Madison Bike Week activities are you going to do this year?

Happy Madison Bike Week 2020!

Categories
Bike News Weekly Update

Cedar St, new path on Anderson, Cap City detour — and Madison Bike Week!

It’s another week when it is hard to focus on biking issues. Police in Kenosha shot Jacob Blake, a Black man in the back. Seven times. Will this ever stop? Not if we don’t make it stop, through individual and collective action. As Governor Evers states: “While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.” “Although we must offer our empathy, equally important is our action.” I encourage everyone in the Madison Bikes community to think about what actions you will take to dismantle anti-black racism and police brutality.

This Week

Some good news on the north side of town: The construction of a multiuse path and bike lanes on Anderson Street near Madison College is mostly complete. This project helps close a gap in our low-stress bike network between the Starkweather Path and the Reindahl Park Path. Unfortunately, the crossing of Stoughton Road was not improved as part of the project, as it’s under the control of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Anderson Street multiuse path and bike lane (Photo: Linda Larsen)

We mentioned the public input meeting about the new Cedar Street in last week’s update. I haven’t heard how that meeting went, but the topic will be back at the Transportation Commission on Wednesday. The questions in front of the commission is whether to have buffered bike lanes or “door zone” lanes next to on-street parking on this newly built street, and what the crossing of Park Street should look like. You can register to speak on the topic here, or submit written comment to pmcguigan@cityofmadison.com.

Also on Wednesday night, the new bridge for the Badger State Trail across McKee Road will be installed (weather permitting). It will still be a few weeks before construction is complete and the trail will reopen. I’ll try and be out there with my camera!

In other construction news: The Cap City Trail will be closed between Nob Hill Road and South Towne Drive for a sewer project. The closure is schedule to begin on August 26 and will approximately four weeks. Follow the detour signs.

Another stretch of the Cap City Trail will be closed starting September 1. For the final phase of its repaving, the section between Seminole Highway and the roundabout (Velo Underround) will be closed for a few weeks. Fortunately, there is a convenient detour via the Cannonball.

For a full construction update, subscribe to the City’s Bike Madison update emails.

Madison Bike Week

Madison Bike Week is going to be very different this year — as so many things. But we’re still committed to celebrating biking in Madison in all forms and shapes, this year from September 12-20. Save the date and stay tuned for more details.

Categories
Bike News Weekly Update

Monday Update: Wilson St, Vision Zero, Traffic Calming

The resurfacing of the Southwest Path unfortunately got a little delayed by the heavy rains last week. It seems like the contractors were mostly done by Friday, but apparently some work remains to be done. Please respect the closure signs and follow the signed detours.

The old pavement was already ground off last Tuesday.

As of today, there is an extensive public health order in place that require everyone older than 5 to wear masks/face coverings when inside in Madison and Dane County. More and more people have also been biking with face masks, even though that is not required at this point. Madison Bikes is working on making masks and mask DIY kits available to the community — our custom fabric order has just shipped! Stay tuned for more details. Please follow this and all order public health orders to protect yourself and others.

Madison Bikes custom fabric

The new week starts of with the inaugural meeting of a new city subcommittee. The current process by which we/the City decide who does and doesn’t get traffic calming (most often in the form of speed bumps) has been problematic in several regard. Probably some of the readers of this post have tried to get speed bumps on their street, signed a petition in support or opposition, or have shown up to a public hearing on the topic. To fix some of the issues and develop a more systematic and equitable approach to traffic calming, the Traffic Calming Subcommittee was created. (Disclaimer: I’m one of its members). Tonight, Monday 5pm is the committee’s first meeting, and you can watch it online. The full agenda is available here–mostly administrative stuff such as selecting a chair and defining the scope and timeline of the work.

The Common Council meets on Tuesday. One important on the agenda: There will be a vote on the Vision Zero resolution that we mentioned in last week’s update. The Transportation Policy and Planning Board during their meeting last week added an important amendment to the initial resolution, which acknowledges that eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries (the goal of Vision Zero) must not come at the expense of racist traffic enforcement:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vision Zero Action Plan will document the disproportionate effects of traffic enforcement and the impacts of traffic injuries and fatalities on people of color and that a plan is developed that works to reduce and eliminate those harms; and,

Other cities and organizations, such as Our Streets Minneapolis, the Vision Zero Network, or the Safe Routes Partnership have spoken out strongly about the dangers that traffic stops pose to Black people, Indigenous People, and People of Color, and Madison Bikes shares these concerns. A street on which you’re safe from traffic violence but not from police is not a safe street.

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board is back to a bi-monthly meeting schedule. On Wednesday, some of the items on the agenda are:

  • A presentation on the Department of Transportation’s (DoT) budget request. Our city’s budget is under tremendous financial strain, and we’ll have to see how the DoT is going to prioritize capital and operations expenses for the upcoming budget period. In times of budget crises, there is always a risk that investments in walking and biking will be cut back, even when they only make up a minuscule proportion of transportation spending when compared to the cost of car infrastructure
  • The Wilson Street Corridor Study will be on the agenda once more. We’re getting quite close to finalizing this important bike corridor, and the proposed designs look promising. You can read the full report here. One key recommendation is a two-way cycletrack on Wilson between Broom and Blair!
Screenshot from the Wilson Street Corridor Study, recommending a two-way cycletrack.


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

Categories
Bike News Internal news

We have a new website!

People biking on John Nolen Drive, with an animation of the Madison Bikes URL

You may have noticed it already, but we have a new website! Our previous website was basically as old as our organization itself, and so it was time for a revamp. We hope you like the new site and can still find all the Madison bike(s) content you’re looking for! If you encounter any issues, have feedback or requests, just send an email to info@madisonbikes.org.

The new website has allowed us to create some additional content and made things more user friendly. For example, our Resources FAQ page is much easier to navigate, and we have a brand new map of all Dane County bike shops and outdoor repair stations.

Let’s give a big shout-out to the people who have made the new website possible:

Our awesome super volunteers Dan Stout and Ben Sandee have helped with a lot of the technical stuff that made the transition run smoothly. We didn’t just change the looks of the website, but we also changed the whole back-end. That was a lot of work, and we couldn’t have done it without Dan and Ben.

On our board, Kyle and Marybeth have been the leaders of the transition. They only joined the board this year but jumped right into the new website project, kept things on track, asked the hard questions (“what is the difference between ‘join’ and ‘sign up’…?”) and came up with the design of the site.

Thank you thank you thank you.

And as always, if you want to support our work, join us and donate!

Categories
Bike News

Madison ranked second best US biking city

People for Bikes, a bike-industry sponsored advocacy group, just released their annual Places for Bikes City Rating results. And Madison made second place, up from ninth in 2019! Any rating system is going to have strengths and weaknesses, but I like the the Places for Bikes data-driven approach. Let’s explore in more detail what the subcategories measure and how well Madison scores in each of them. The maximum score for each category is 5.

Safety

This category combines data about all traffic crashes, crashes involving injuring or killing people on bikes, as well as community perceptions of safety. Why include perceptions rather than just hard numbers on crashes? Because no matter how objectively safe a given piece of infrastructure is, if it feels unsafe, people won’t bike there. And crash data also won’t tell you anything about places that are so unsafe that people biking will just avoid them completely. Madison does very well when it comes to bike injuries and crashes, scoring 4.0 points, with overall crashes and perceptions of safety being somewhat lower (3.0 and 3.1). According to official crash data, in 2019 there were 13 serious injuries and 2 fatalities involving someone on a bike in all of Dane County (and no fatalities in the City of Madison). Of course we need to continue to work on eliminating all serious injuries and fatalities, but it’s also important to remind ourselves that overall biking is a pretty safe activity in Madison.

Ridership

The ridership score is calculated from three different measure of how many people actually bike how often in a community. The American Community Survey by the US Census provides numbers on how many people regularly bike to work. As commute trips only account for a small share of people’s overall trips, data from two other, smaller surveys provide additional information on ridership, including recreational riding. Our overall score in this category is 3.0, placing us in 11th place nationwide.

Acceleration

This is a measure on how quickly biking is improving in a city. Based on data submitted by the city itself, for example on the growth in miles of bike lanes, racks, bike parks, or attendees at events like Madison Bike Week, and by respondents to the Community Survey, a score is calculated. Madison gets a 3.2 based on the city data and 3.5 based on community perceptions.

Network

The “Bicycle Network Analysis” (BNA) is one key piece of the work that Places for Bikes has been doing: For each city, they take every street and assign it a bicycle traffic level of stress score based on the characteristics of a street, for example whether it is a residential street or an arterial, what the speed limit is, and whether it has bike facilities or not. All the streets and paths rated as low-stress then make up a city’s low-stress network, and in a second step, the analysis looks at how well that network connects people with where they need to bike to, for example libraries, shops, or centers of employment. Madison’s BNA score is 49.8, with the top US city having a score of 88. Somewhat surprisingly, one of the cities that scores higher than us is Sun Prairie…

A smaller proportion of the overall network score is based on survey results about people’s perception of the bike network quality. Taken together, Madison gets a network score of 3.1.

Reach

Madison’s lowest is in the Reach category. Reach is a measure of “how well the the bike network serves everyone equally.” It is measured in two ways: One looks at the gender split in bike commuting, as measured by the American Community Survey. If as many or more women than men bike, this is seen as an indicator of a high-quality, comfortable biking city. Madison gets 3.0 points in this category, as about 6% of men and 3.5% of women regularly bike to work.

The other Reach measure looks at Census blocks that have a higher concentration of traditionally underserved populations, for example a large proportion of people of color or low-income residents. The quality of the low-stress bike network in those areas is then compared with the rest of the city’s network. This is the category where Madison does worst, with only 2.2 points. If you look at the BNA map, you see that there are still many areas of the city that have low scores. And some of those areas are those where underserved populations live, for example on the North Side around Northport Drive, or along Park St. More work is to be done to provide safe and comfortable bike access equitably.

So is Madison truly the second best biking city?

I’m sure one could make good arguments for and against any specific score and sub-score. But what is indisputable is that Madison is indeed one of the best biking cities in the US. Let’s celebrate that, and then get back to the hard work of making it better faster and for more people. There is a lot of room for growth in each of the categories.

Categories
Bike News

Weekly Update: New rider panel video, Cedar St, MPO meeting

It’s the first week of June. In a normal year, yesterday you would have enjoyed Ride the Drive, and this morning you’d have visited your first Bike Station to start into Madison Bike Week. But this year is anything but normal. There is still a little hope that we’ll be able to do Madison Bike Week in some form or shape in September this, but it’s hard to make predictions. We’ll keep you posted.

Last week City Engineering hosted a public meeting about Cedar, South, High Streets and W Wingra Drive. This area will be redeveloped, with new housing, a SSM Health clinic, and a new grocery store. You can find the meeting presentation here. From a bike perspective, there were questions about the proposed bike facilities on the new portion of Cedar Street: There will be painted bike lanes, but on one side of the street they will be next to on-street parking, creating a “door zone bike lane.” Another question raised was about the median island on Park Street, meant to prevent through traffic on Cedar Street. One resident pointed out that this would make it more difficult for people walking and biking to get across Park St.

On Friday, the City of Madison hosted a virtual panel discussion, “When I started biking.” The pandemic has motivated a lot of people to either get back on the bike or start biking for the first time. If you missed the video (or know a new rider who may be interested), a recording is available on our Facebook page. Thanks to Pepe Barros, one of our former board members and now a City employee, for organizing the panel:

On Wednesday, the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (also known as “the MPO”) is meeting virtually. One agenda item is a presentation of the recently adopted Dane County Climate Action Plan. Transportation is one important topic in the report, as emissions from that sector account for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in our county. A lot of the report talks about electric vehicles, but there is also an acknowledgment that vehicle miles traveled need to be reduced as well. It’s good see mention of phenomena like induced demand (where building new or expanded highways leads to more driving, not congestion relief), and the need for regional transit, better land use, and active transportation. Full meeting agenda and materials here.


Screenshot from the Climate Action Plan

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