Categories
Weekly Update

Indian Hills detour over; BCycle issues; hit-and-run; Bay Creek meeting

Path detour on University Ave Path finally over

A construction project by the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage is finally coming to a close. The closure of the University Ave path segment through Indian Hills Park led to an inconvenient detour, but now the new path has been paved:

Photo: MMSD

Some construction is still ongoing, and so use caution in the area.

BCycle issues

A person riding a BCycle through Crazylegs Plaza
Photo: Cyclists of Madison

Madison BCycle continues to be hugely popular, with more people than ever riding the shared e-assist bikes. The Cap Times reports that this popularity may have come with downsides: An increase in technical malfunctions to the bikes and docks.

BCycle recently confirmed that the electric assist on some bikes can fail when customers attempt to engage it on their ride. Though the feature makes cycling less labor-intensive for most users, the company claims electric assist malfunctions “(do) not compromise the safety of riding e-bikes.”

General manager Helen Bradley said the company plans to address the issue within two to three weeks.

If you encounter an issue with a bike or dock, you can call or text BCycle at (800) 473-4743 or email them at info@madisonbcycle.com.

Hit-and-run in Waunakee

A driver struck and injured someone riding a bike in Waunakee on Highway 113 on June 17 and then drove away. Waunakee police are looking for help locating the car, a red BMW. NBC15 reports:

The agency sent out an alert through the Wisconsin Department of Justice regarding the alleged hit-and-run that took place around 9:40 p.m. on June 17 on the 5700 block of State Highway 113.

The vehicle believed to be involved is a maroon or red BMW 5 Series sedan, model 2012 or newer, according to the police department.

The agency said the sedan was going northbound on State Highway 113 when it struck a bicyclist who was also going northbound, causing the BMW’s passenger-side mirror to break off.

Authorities say the suspect vehicle then swerved into the southbound lane of traffic and collided with a vehicle driving southbound, causing the driver’s side-view mirror of the BMW to break off. The suspect vehicle stopped for a moment and then continued driving northbound, Waunakee PD stated.

The bicyclist received a minor injury from the crash, police noted.

Anyone with information on this incident should call Waunakee PD at (608) 849-4523.

NBC 15

Public input meeting for Bay Creek bike improvements (June 28)

Traffic diverter on Mifflin St (Photo: Google StreetView)

The city is proposing several improvements to the bike network in the Bay Creek area. There will be a public input meeting on Tuesday, June 28.

The improvements include a better connection from the bike boulevard on West/South Shore to the Wingra Creek Path, as well as improvements to the boulevard itself: Possibly diverters that would stop drivers from using the street as a through route, curb bump-outs, and turn restrictions.

The meeting will start at 6pm and is virtual. You can sign up here: June 28, 2022 Public Information Meeting Registration 

Madison Women’s Cycling Club

Madison has lots of group rides. One of them is the Madison Women’s Cycling Club’s ride, which take place every Tuesday at 6pm.

Madison Women’s Cycling Club rides are back for the season! We leave from Olbrich Park (the Biergarten parking lot) at 6pm most Tuesdays (the exception being our rotating monthly Taco Tuesday). Details at our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/422391611714723. We’re also on Instagram @madisonwomenscyclingclub

We’re an all-ages, all-abilities, all-bodies-on-bikes group that welcomes women/femme/trans/non-binary. We’re also the longest-running active women+ group in the area! 

We’re always happy to feature regular or irregular group rides in our email updates! Just let us know about them.

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

Madison Bike Week, TAP funds, Ride of Silence

Madison Bike Week is coming – you can still register your event

Madison Bike Week will start in less than three weeks! We plan to have our event calendar up later this week — and it’s not too late to add your event to the calendar. Putting up a Madison Bike Week event or discount, as always, is free. And we again have a mini-grant program to promote a more diverse and inclusive Madison Bike Week. Find more information about the registration and the mini grants here. Madison Bike Week is all about bringing together the community, and we can’t do it without you

This is also a great opportunity to thank this year’s Madison Bike Week sponsors. Thanks so much for the support!

Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) projects at TPPB

Monday’s agenda for the Transportation Policy and Planning Board has one bike-related item: Madison’s application for federal funds through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). TAP funds are one of the main ways for cities to access federal funding for bike and walk projects. Cities submit a list of priority projects to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and with some luck, one or more of them will be funded. Madison’s list for the current cycle was submitted in January, but now there are changes to two of the projects. This is the complete list, with the changed projects highlighted:

  1. Expand the School Rd project to be the Northside SRTS Improvements at Mendota Elementary School and Lindbergh Elementary Schools including improvements along School Rd, Toban Dr, Blaine Dr and Kennedy Rd.
  2. E. Washington Ave. bicycle route alternative (Reindahl Park to East Springs Dr.) – includes potential bike boulevard on Dwight, bike lane markings on the frontage road and on Independence Ln., additional traffic calming and improved crossings where necessary.
  3. Expand the Badger Rd shared use path Phase 1 to include shared-use path along N Rusk Ave to Nygard St – shared use path along W. Badger Rd. to connect N. Rusk Ave. to the existing pedestrian/bicycle overpass of the Beltline.
  4. West Towne Path – two possible segments, including the segment from Gammon Rd. to Zor Shrine and the segment from Zor Shrine to High Point Rd. These may be combined into a single project on the application, depending on the cost estimates and potential funds available in the program.
  5. Cross Isthmus Improvements – includes improved bicycle connections across the isthmus, primarily along Franklin St., Hancock St. and Blount St., and would also include installation of bike lanes along E. Washington Ave. from Blair St. to the Capitol Square.
  6. Tancho Dr. Path – shared use path between Tancho Dr. and STH 151, where there is an existing path and underpass of the highway.
  7. BCycle Bike Share Expansion – Focus on building a more equitable program by connecting additional areas of the city that are currently not served or are underserved by this mobility option.

International Ride of Silence on Wednesday

On May 18, starting at 6:30 pm the Madison edition of the 2022 Ride of Silence will take place. In previous years, the ride was held in Sun Prairie, but this year the route will take participants around Lake Monona. Here’s more info from the organizer:

[T]he Ride of Silence can be found in 450+ cities across the world to honor those who have been injured or killed, to raise awareness that we are here and to ask that we all share the road.Please sign up to attend at the official Eventbrite page : https://bit.ly/3OzrOZC. We will be using that to determine a final ride headcount.The official ride route can be found at this link, and the Ridespot app can be downloaded for free to track the route: https://www.ridespot.org/rides/569471This is the official event for the Madison, WI event. we will be riding a 13 mile route around Lake Monona in a silent 10 mph procession in memoriam of those cyclists killed and injured around the world and in our own community. we will be stopping for a few minutes of silence at the Ghost bike at the intersection of Baldwin and East Wilson St, then continuing around the lake.

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.

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E-Mail

Spring Bike Wash today cancelled

In light of the crummy weather, we decided to cancel today’s Spring Bike Wash and Safety Checks. We’re working on a reschedule — stay tuned.

Categories
Weekly Update

Best and new bike shops, Vilas Park delays, regional transpo plan, and a new trail in Verona

Madison’s best bike shop? You decide

It’s that time of the year: Madison Magazine are running their Best of Madison 2022 competition. In the category of bike shops you can vote for:

  • Atkins Verona Bicycle Shoppe
  • Black Saddle Bikes
  • Budget Bicycle Center
  • Machinery Row Bicycles
  • Neff Cycle Service
  • Revolution Cycles

New bike delivery and repair co-op

The CycleWorks team (Image: Madison CycleWorks)

Speaking of bike shops: Madison has a new bicycle-focused business: Madison CycleWorks. Key facts about CycleWorks: They are organized as a worker-owned cooperative. They offer mobile bike repair, as well as pedal-powered delivery for wholesale distribution, business delivery, and direct-to-consumer delivery, for example for restaurants. CycleWorks are open for business, and they are also raising funds through Kiva micro loans.

Disclosure: Several worker-owners of CycleWorks are current or former Madison Bikes board members.

Olbrich Park survey still open

We have previously covered the Atwood Avenue reconstruction and the different options for the path alignment through Olbrich Park. The Transportation Commission recommended option 1 (with option 3 as an alternative) at their March 23 meeting, but it’s the Board of Parks Commissioners who make the final decision at their April 13 meeting. The survey about the different options continues to be open and you can still vote: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/olbrich

MPO regional transportation plan

The Greater Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is hosting a final set of public meetings about their Regional Transportation Plan 2050. The MPO is a crucial player in shaping the transportation system of our metro area, as large amounts of federal transportation funding go through the MPO. The online meetings take place on April 7 at 5:30 and April 12 at noon. You can sign up here: https://greatermadisonmpo.konveio.com/upcoming-meetings More information about the plan and an interactive map where you can provide feedback is available here.

Vilas Park plan delays

Remember how the Parks Department agreed to implement a temporary plan to remove car through-traffic on Vilas Park Drive, back in May 2021?

Cars would no longer be able to use Vilas Park Drive as a cut-through route under the interim traffic management plan approved in May 2021 (Image: City of Madison)

Well, nothing much happened last year and cars continue to drive through the park. The updated timeline was: “first thing next spring.” Now we have learned that the project will be completed in mid-June at the earliest. The delays apparently are related to staffing and supply challenges, and the Parks Department not offering an earlier date to the pavement contractor because of “events/activities” at the park shelter. So keep watching out for cars when you walk or roll through Vilas Park.

A new trail in Verona

On a bike ride today I noticed new multi-use path in Verona. It runs from County Highway M along Badger Mill Creek to Arbor Vitae Dr. (the connection with Arbor Vitae wasn’t quite done yet). The path doesn’t provide a whole lot of new connectivity for people who don’t live nearby, but it definitely seemed busy with people walking, biking, and mono-wheeling today. Here’s some video footage:

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

Military Ridge closure; Garver Path drainage trouble; City is hiring

Last week, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) held a public meeting on the planned construction of a “force main” between Verona and Madison. This pressurized sewer line will move sewage from the area to the Nine Spring Wastewater Treatment Plant. Why is this relevant for the Madison Bikes community? Because the project potentially would severely impact the Military Ridge State Trail. At this point, MMSD is evaluating four alternative routes:

Map of the four alternatives for the relief sewer (Image: MMSD)

You can see that all alternatives would either run along the Military Ridge and Ice Age Trails, or at least cross it, potentially closing it for a long time. The Military Ridge State Trail is the only safe bike connection between Madison and Verona. For the sections impacted by Alternatives 3 and 4, there is no safe detour option. Maple Grove Road has heavy car traffic and only a narrow shoulder:

Conditions on Maple Grove Rd (Image: Google Street View

Alternatives 1 and 2 affect a different segment of the trail, but it seems that it would easier to create safe detours. You can provide feedback on the project with this brief survey. The survey closes on March 2, so please respond quickly. Here’s the alternatives analysis presented at the meeting:

MMSD alternatives evaluation (Image: MMSD)

Last chance to apply as Ped Bike Outreach Specialist

Today (2/28, 11:59pm) is the deadline to apply as the Pedestrian Bicycle Outreach Specialist for the City of Madison:

The City of Madison is looking to hire a Pedestrian Bicycle Outreach Specialist responsible for educating pedestrians, bicycles, motorists and other active transportation users on safe practices. The position performs community education, community outreach, and project coordination within the Pedestrian Bicycle Program of the Traffic Engineering Division. The position includes undertaking direct education to youth and adults, establishing and maintaining contacts within the school district and community, doing presentations, overseeing volunteers, coordinating with other education programs and evaluating program efforts. This position will work collaboratively with other staff in the division, the school district, community centers and local non-profits to coordinate education efforts throughout the City. This position works closely with under-represented communities.

Find out more and apply here.

Bike Fitchburg Board Meeting

As always on the 4th Monday of the month, Bike Fitchburg have their board meeting. The meeting will be online. Find more information on Facebook.

Garver Path drainage troubles

On our Facebook Community Group, there was a discussion about the paving quality of bike paths in general and the new Garver Path in particular: A member of our community slipped and fell in an icy puddle on the path. There was a thoughtful discussion in the comments, and the Alder for the district chimed in as well. The bottom line: Contractors sometime mess up, and the path will be fixed in the spring. And if you ever encounter drainage issues on a bike path, please let the city know.

Drainage issues on the Garver Path (Image: District 15 Alder Grant Foster)

Car free spaces: Yes, we have one

We’ll end this update with a video. YouTube channel City Beautiful explored what happens when US cities close streets to car traffic. One of the examples: State Street in Madison (skip ahead to 3:35 in the video to get to the Madison portion). Unfortunately the footage is from winter, and so State Street doesn’t look as bustling as it does in summer.

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.

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Weekly Update

Vision Zero, Hammersley, Safe Streets Madison; BCycle; Wheels for Winners

The Transportation Commission has a long agenda this Wednesday. Here are some items of interest to the Madison Bikes community. You can register to speak or email your comments to TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com on any item on the agenda.

Hammersley Reconstruction

We have previously mentioned the upcoming reconstruction of Hammersley Road. One proposed option installs a multi-use path for people walking and biking on side of the street. The project is now back at the Transportation Commission for approval, after having gone through public meetings. What has changed since the previous proposal: Some on-street parking has been added back in. While this has no impact on the multi-use path, it appears to involve the removal of some mature trees. The other change is the crossing of Whitney Way. Crossing the road here has been very challenging, and the multi-use path on Hammersley makes a new design necessary. This is what is being proposed:

Sheboygan Avenue Reconstruction

This project has been at the Transportation Commission previously as well. Currently Sheyboygan Avenue does not have any bike infrastructure, an issue that will become more pressing once the Madison Yards project increases density in the area and bus rapid transit will bring additional buses on the street. No materials have been made available yet, so we don’t know what the latest plans are.

Vision Zero Action Plan

The challenging path to zero by 2030 (Graphic: Harald Kliems)

Vision Zero, the commitment to eliminate all traffic fatalities and injuries in Madison by 2030, now has an action plan. This long document outlines what steps the city is going to take to achieve our goal, and how it will measure progress. Madison Bikes has been on the stakeholder engagement group that provided input on the action plan. The document provides a lot of facts on where crashes occur, who is most affected by them, and what some of the challenges are in making our city safer. Is the action plan as written going to be sufficient to achieve Vision Zero by 2030? We will see. But any vision needs an action plan to have any chance of success. Go take a read!

Safe Streets Madison

Safe Streets Madison is a city program that combines previous traffic safety, bike and walk improvements, and traffic calming programs into one unified program focused on safety and equity. The program already was on the Transportation Commission agenda two weeks ago. That meeting focused on the overall program and how the ranking of projects works in general. This week the first batch of projects will be up for approval. The list of unsafe streets and of gaps in the walking and biking networks is long, and city staff are asking the commission to approve at least $500,000 worth of projects, with more to be approved later in the year. It appears that the proposed projects are the ones in this spreadsheet. They range from very cheap ones such as “yield to pedestrians” signs, to more involved infrastructure projects building sidewalks or installing median islands. One odd item on the list: $15,000 for laser-speed equipment for the police department.

Madison BCycle season starting March 15

The UW campus will have additional BCycle stations (Photo: Harald Kliems)

In just over three weeks, the 2022 Madison BCycle season will start! March 15 is opening day. And there are a number of changes this year: There will be more stations, more bikes, and more time for your rides. The annual subscription costs will increase too, but if you’re already an annual member you can lock in your renewal at the current rate (and discounted rates for UW and MATC affiliates will remain the same). Read the news release for more details.

Sewerage District project impacting Military Ridge Trail

The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is holding a first public meeting about a project that may have long impacts on the Military Ridge Trail between Madison and Verona. It looks like all proposed options will lead to a temporary closure of the trail, which does not have a safe detour option. Sign up for the public meeting on Wednesday and learn more about the project here.

A map of the four alternative alignments for the relief sewer (Image: MMSD)

Fat Bike Racing at Blackhawk

The fat bike season is nearing its end. On Saturday morning, you have the opportunity to race on the wonderful trails at Blackhawk Ski Club in Middleton. There are juniors, citizen, and elite race categories, and you get extra points for wearing flannel or Olympic Games-themed costumes. Sign-up at 9am; race at 11 am.

Volunteer at Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Our friends at FB4K Madison are in the peak of their volunteer season and are always in need of more people. Sign up for available shifts here.

Volunteer hours are available Monday – Thursday, 9am-3pm and on some evenings from 6-9pm. We like to have fun while we work and volunteering is a great social outlet during these limited social options.

NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY: We have a spot for everyone at the FB4K Workshop! Whether you come alone, as an individual, or with coworkers, friends or teammates, FB4K is sure to provide a valuable volunteer experience for anyone. 

Support Wheels for Winners fundraiser

Wheels for Winners are doing their big fundraiser for the year, to “help us with our most ambitious project to promote access to bicycling within Communities of Color.” They are very close to reaching their target — you can push them above with your donation.

We will enable 150 people to become bike owners through our well-established earn-a-bike program, (2) furnish a minimum of 100 bikes for bike rodeos, loan-a-bike programs, and similar riding events, (3) repair over 200 bikes at community events, and (4) co-sponsor over 10 community riding events

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

New paths at TC; bike swap

Have you been riding outdoors lately? I admit, the cold has made me hide inside for several days in a row. But prompted by someone’s question about trail conditions on our Facebook group, I decided to do a Capital City Trail loop on Sunday. Was it cold? Yes. Was it enjoyable? Also yes! There’s just something to riding on a crisp, sunny winter day.

Be prepared for icy patches on the trails

The Transportation Commission meets on Wednesday and has several bike projects on the agenda. Let’s go through them one by one.

Odana Road Cycletrack

Last year, we saw Odana Road west of Midvale getting a mix of buffered and unbuffered bike lanes. East of Midvale, Odana already has bike lanes, but now they might see a big upgrade along the golf course: The proposal calls for a two-way cycletrack, separated from the general travel lane by delineators, on the side of the golf course and a buffered bike lane on the other side of the street. Because Odana Road is so wide on this stretch, this does not even require the removal of car parking.

Odana Road proposal with cycletrack on the south and buffered bike lane on the north side

Hammersley Road

Hammersley Road is an important east-west connection, which currently lacks sidewalks. East of Whitney Way the street has painted bike lanes; west of Whitney Way there is no bike infrastructure at all. Over the next two years, Hammersley will be reconstructed between the SW Path crossing and Brookwood Road. The designs presented to the Transportation Commission include several options, one of which would include an 8-10-foot-wide shared use path on one side:

Design option for Hammersley west of Whitney Way

Alternative options would install sidewalks on both street and not include bike infrastructure.

Lake Mendota Drive

Lake Mendota Drive is a scenic, low traffic route along the shore. But if you have ridden there recently, you probably needed to focus on the bumps and potholes on the road rather than enjoying the scenery. In addition to the bad road surface, the street also lacks sidewalks. The city plans to rebuild the street over the next few years, starting with the stretch farthest to the west in 2022. No specific design is proposed yet, but some ideas include traffic calming features and installation of a sidewalk on at least one side of the street.

If you want to provide input on any of these projects, you can email your comments to TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com or sign up to speak at the meeting here: https://www.cityofmadison.com/MeetingRegistration

Brazen Dropouts Bike Swap

The bike corral a the Brazen Dropouts swap offers all types of bikes

On Saturday, Brazen Dropouts are hosting their annual bike swap at the Alliant Center. The swap is a great opportunity to buy used bike parts and accessories as well as complete bikes. General admission is $5; $10 for early birds, and free after noon.

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.

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E-Mail In Depth Internal news

Bye bye 2021

It’s the very last day of the Madison Bike Year 2021. Last year’s post was titled “A Madison Bikes year like no other.” Looking back that was certainly true, and looking back at 2021, many of the themes — COVID being the big one persisted. Let’s look back at some of the events of the year.

Winter Biking

In a normal year, we would have done something to celebrate Winter Bike Day in person. But with winter bike counts down and an ongoing pandemic we decided to it call off for 2021. Promoting biking year-round is nonetheless an important part of our mission. We decided to produce a video for this purpose and released it January:

Madison Bikes Winter TV, Episode 2: Staying Warm 

What better way to welcome spring than to wash your salty winter bike, or to get your summer bike out of storage and make sure it is working well. In April we partnered with BikEquity, Wheels for Winners, Down With Bikes, and DreamBikes and hosted a Spring Wash and Safety Check event near Brittingham Park. 

Spring Bike Wash

Finally, in November we teamed up with Madison Park and Metro and hosted an outdoor winter biking get together at Tenney Park. On a cold and windy fall day, current and would-be winter riders joined over hot coffee (thank you, Cafe Domestique!), exchanged knowledge, and practiced putting their bikes on a Metro bus.

Tenney Shelter with several people and bicycles in front of it. In the foreground a cargo bicycle and a Madison Bikes flag. In the background a Metro transit bus.

Cyclists of Madison turns 1

April was also the month to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the launch of Cyclists of Madison. Each day we post one photo of someone riding a bike in Madison, from an ever growing pool of photos. Even though I have taken the pictures myself and therefore in theory know them, it still brings me joy to check Twitter and see which one has been posted today. A big shout-out to Ben Sandee without whose programming skills this idea would never have turned into something real.

News from the Madison bike ecosystem

Madison Bikes is only one of many organizations that make up our city’s bike ecosystem.

One addition in 2021: Madison Adaptive Cycling. Their mission is to “provide an outdoor cycling experience for differently-abled individuals of all ages.” They hosted a first few events and are set to have an official launch in 2022.

Not a new organization, Freewheel had a big moment in 2021: The Madison Bike Center at the Judge Doyle Square development downtown finally opened its doors to the public. They suffered many delays from forces beyond their control — a malfunctioning sprinkler turning the parking garage into an ice cave, supply chain issues, and so on. But they have been open for a few months now. Go check them out!

BikEquity’s mobile bike library

BikEquity, started in 2020, really took off this year. BikEquity’s mission is “to provides resources, mentorship, and education so that everyone can enjoy cycling for recreation, fitness, and transportation, regardless of income, age, race, or ability.” They put that mission into practice by organizing “bike clubs” for kids and community ride, they provide bikes for those who otherwise don’t have access to them with their bike library, and they host numerous bike repair events in the community.

Bye Heather, hi Marybeth!

Summer brought a bittersweet transition: Our VP, Heather Pape, left Madison for Salt Lake City. It was sad to see her go, but we’re also very happy for her: Her new job is with a transit agency where she can use her many talents to improve public transportation for everyone. Our new VP? The awesome Marybeth McGinnis.

Ride the Drive: A new format, with new issues

Madison Parks has been organizing Ride the Drive for many years. This year they changed the format and it did not turn out well. The idea seemed fine: Instead of a single event downtown, why not have smaller events spread out through the city, centered around our city parks? In practice, it didn’t work out well.

BikEquity at Ride the Drive in Marlborough Park

The way the event is organized requires a huge amount of volunteers. Finding those turned out to be difficult, and it was more difficult in some parts of the city than in others. So on very short notice, one of the four events, around Marlborough Park was significantly cut back: No opening up of public streets to people biking and rolling, and only a few hours of events. Community organizations like BikEquity, who were scheduled to offer programming at the event only learned about this at the last minute, and many residents of the area were not aware either. This left a very bitter aftertaste to the event. As part of the Just Bikes Coalition we have had discussions with Parks to address these issues in future editions of Ride the Drive. How do we ensure that community organizations are fully included in the event? How can we allocate resources so that the event has equitable outcomes, no matter where in town it takes place? Can it be done with less reliance on volunteers?

Loading up the trailers

On a more positive note: Fellow board member Pete and I had great fun using our Madison Bikes trailer to help BikEquity transport a large number of bikes to and from the event!

Deadly Streets, Vision Zero, and a protest

2021 was a deadly year for too many people on our streets. A string of deadly crashes on East Washington Ave prompted us to form a coalition with other groups and hold a Safe Streets protest in July. Last year, the City committed itself to Vision Zero, that is, eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. That is an ambitious goal, and without pressure from citizens and activists we will not reach it. The July protest was only one part of our work on this, and there is definitely more to come in 2022.

Dayna Long from DSA Madison addressing the crowd at the Safe Streets protest

Madison Bike Week, and a grant for Padres e Hijos En Accion

After a mostly virtual 2020 Bike Week, this year’s edition was a bit more normal. One innovation this year: As part of our commitment to racial and social justice, for the first time we offered a grant program for groups an individuals who wanted to host a Bike Week activity but needed financial resources to do so. Padres e Hijos en Accion, a community organization centered on Latino kids with disabilities and their families, received a grant for an event that brought together biking and community gardening at Quann Park. We will definitely run the grant program again next year and hope to support even more grantees.

Mayor Satya helping us kick off Madison Bike Week 2021

Madison Bike Week is possible only through the hard work of our board members and volunteers, the support of our community and from the City, and of course our Bike Week sponsors. Thank you so much, Trek and Madicon BCycle, the MGE Foundation, Wheel & Sprocket, Black Saddle Bike Shop, and Schwinn.

New infrastructure, planned or built

Buffered bike lanes on Odana!

Advocating for safe and comfortable bike infrastructure has always been a core element of our organization’s work. 2021 saw a lot of great projects being built or approved. And those projects included some that probably would not have been possible a few years ago: On Whitney Way, a lane of on-street parking was converted into a buffered bike lane, despite the vocal opposition of some residents. A similar design was approved for Old Middleton Road, to be built in 2022. Milwaukee Street between Fair Oaks and Woodmans finally got a bike lane. Odana was converted from 2 travel lanes to one travel lane, a center turn lane and a bike lane.

Buffered bike lanes (and a lower speed limit) on Whitney Way

Other projects ended up less ambitious: W Washington Ave was rebuilt not with protected bike lanes but a mix of unprotected lanes and a shared bus/bike lane, plus a semi-protected intersection at Bassett St. And the plans for the East-West BRT route include at best modest improvements for people biking aside from the Whitney Way lanes mentioned above.

We also saw several new path projects: The Garver Path was mostly completed, as was the final phase of the Demetral Park Path. And a lot of people were relieved when the long-term construction on the Cannonball and Military Ridge trails was completed a few weeks ahead of schedule. A different kind of trail project was the opening of the pump track in Aldo Leopold Park. Captial Offroad Pathfinders (CORP) and Madison Parks did an awesome job there.

Bus/bike lane on W Washington Ave

The most exciting project coming next year: The Cannonball Path will finally be extended past Fish Hatchery Road and connected to the Wingra Creek Path.

2022: We’re ready

The COVID pandemic has been and continues to be hard for so many people, and it has been hard for us as an organization as well. Not being able to meet in person with our fellow board members and the larger community. People dealing with additional stress and grief in their private and professional lives. City meetings that were more accessible because they were hosted online — but then also the feeling of having to attend ever more of them. It all adds up. And so I am very grateful to all the people on our board who kept up with it all and made our little all-volunteer organization what it is. In November we did a strategic planning session to help us figure out where we’re going and how we can work toward our vision in the most effective manner. Who knows what the new year will bring, but whatever it is, I do know that I’m part of an amazing group of people. We’ll continue to work toward our vision: A city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year round. Please join us in that effort. Happy New Year.

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Weekly Update

Winter Bike Tires, Holiday Ride and Upcoming Bike Faculty Improvements

The annual Santa Cycle Rampage event took place this weekend with many riders taking a festive lap around the capitol square to raise money for the Wisconsin BikeFed.

Winter Bike Tires

I hope you were able to enjoy the last breath of fall this weekend as temperatures hovered just above freezing. Freezing temperatures have have made the roads and paths a little icy. For those who are unacquainted with studded winter tires, I recommend considering investing in a pair to keep your winter rides enjoyable (and upright). Winter tires have hardened metal spikes/studs and extra grippy rubber which maintain “reasonable” traction on icy surfaces. A novice winter cyclist might mistakenly believe a knobby mountain bike tire would be perfect for winter riding and they would be correct for snowy conditions, however winter tire metal studs are absolutely necessary to safely navigate icy surfaces. You can stop by any of your local bike stores to pickup a pair which generally run about $80 each and will last 5+ seasons. You won’t regret it.

Thursday – Olin Holiday Lights Ride

Black Saddle, Slow Roll and Revolution Cycles are hosting a casual Lake Monona ride to see the holiday lights including a stop at the Olin park light show. Event officially starts at 6:30 Thursday departing from Slow Roll Cycles. Cyclists are welcome to show up or RSVP through the event on Facebook.

Old Middleton Road to get buffered bike lanes

The Transportation Commission approved the installation of buffered bike lanes on Old Middleton Road, all the way from Eau Claire to Capitol Ave. The general travel lanes will be narrowed to 10 ft, and both sides of the road will have 7-foot bike lanes with a 3-foot buffer. Given the traffic volumes on Old Middleton Road (and a recent spade of crashes), buffered bike lanes are the recommended design to make this road safe and comfortable to ride on. Construction will start next spring.


Cap City Trail, Jackson St, and Ohio Ave improvements

On the other side of the isthmus, a street reconstruction project will include improvements to the Capital City Trail near Atwood Avenue. The crossings of the trail with Jackson Street and Ohio Ave are not only bumpy, but there also are frequent conflicts with people in cars crossing the path. As part of a larger project, improvements are coming: Jackson and Ohio will both be turned into one-way streets and narrowed significantly.

Where the streets cross the Cap City Trail, the trail will be kept at grade and there will be stop signs for cars. To still allow people on bikes to access Atwood Avenue in both directions, an 8-foot widened sidewalk will be built along Jackson and Ohio.

Finally, the project includes space for a new BCycle station at the corner of the Cap City and Ohio!

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

North Mendota Trail, CORP annual meeting, and Giving Tuesday

An underpass connects the existing trail on the east side of Highway M to the new trail through the state park

It’s a quiet week after the holidays. I used the weekend to explore new trails near Governor Nelson State Park. There is a new section of trail, connecting the existing bike path at the Bishops Bay development to the park entrance road and then on to North Shore Bay Drive. The trail is all graded and ridable; paving will probably happen in the spring. This gets us one step closer to being able to bike around Lake Mendota on low-stress trails and roads.

If you’re into mountain biking, join Capital City Offroad Pathfinders (CORP) as a member and attend their annual meeting at Slow Roll Cycles this Saturdayat 5pm. They’ll “go over the highlights of the past year, talk about what’s coming in 2022, and take care of elections. We’ll have food and drink to thank our volunteers and members. Meet the folks who make things happen, and learn how to get more involved.”

Speaking of supporting your local advocacy orgs: Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and if you appreciate the work that Madison Bikes or any of the great bike organizations in town are doing, consider making a donation. We’d greatly appreciate it.

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.