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.

Categories
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.

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E-Mail In Depth

Bikes and Bus Rapid Transit: What is planned?

Bus rapid transit is coming to Madison. If all goes well, the first route will open in 2024, connecting Junction Road on the West Side with East Towne Mall. What makes BRT different from the local bus? The distance between stops is longer, the buses will have dedicated lanes for some of the route, and you can board the bus through all doors. This will make BRT faster than the local bus. The buses will also run at least every 15 minutes from 5am to midnight on weekdays. Finally, BRT stations will have features like real-time departure information and high platforms to make boarding easy and accessible. Travel time between the two ends of the line will be about one hour — much faster than today.

BRT map
Future BRT network. The Red and Blue Lines will the first to open

How is BRT going to work together with biking? We invited city staff to present what is planned and to answer questions. Mike Cechvala, Transit Planner at Metro, Tom Lynch, Madison’s Director of Transportation, and Renee Callaway, Bike and Pedestrian Administrator, joined us for a virtual meeting.

You can watch the whole discussion on YouTube or read some of the key points here. You can download the full slide deck below.

Bikes on board

Currently buses have front racks that transport up to two bikes (folding bikes are permitted on board if there is space). To keep the buses on schedule, this won’t be the case for BRT vehicles. Instead, you will be able to roll your bike on board. The catch: Even though the buses are sixty feet long, there will likely be only space for two bikes. Metro is still investigating options for different kinds of bike racks, but it doesn’t look promising. One constraint: BRT buses will have doors on both sides, which eliminates some possible bike storage options. Wheelchair users will have dedicated space near the front of the bus, and it seemed unlikely that that space would work for bikes when there are no wheelchair users on the bus. Cargo bikes and trailers won’t fit.

Bike parking at BRT stations

An alternative to taking your bike on the bus is to park it at a BRT station. Metro does have plans for bike parking at the stations, but the audience seemed underwhelmed by them. Except for the new terminal stations, space directly at stations in limited. Generally, Metro envisions having four to six ring-and-post style racks per station. Several people in the audience pointed out that this number is too low. If bike parking is not accommodated, more people will try to bring their bikes on the bus. Another aspect of bike parking: Will it be secure? Metro is not interested in providing access-controlled bike parking because of the cost and administrative effort. The stations will have CCTV cameras, providing some level of security for bikes parked right at the station.

BCycle and BRT

Another option to combine bikes and transit? BCycle! If there is a BCycle station near BRT as well as near your destination, shared bikes can be a great solution to the “last mile problem,” that is, how to get from a bus stop to your destination and back. Some BCycle stations are already near future BRT stops, and Metro is looking at adding additional stations. However, BCycle is privately owned and runs without public funding. Therefore it is not certain that these new stations will materialize. Another possible improvement: Metro is upgrading their ticketing system, and they are looking at a possible integration with BCycle. So your Metro smart card or app may also allow you to access your BCycle subscription and unlock bikes.

Dealing with conflicts between buses and bikes

On streets with or without painted bike lanes, there can be conflicts between buses and bikes, especially at stops. Buses need to pull over to the curb and back into the travel lane again, having to cross a bike lane twice. Because the average speed of bikes and buses is similar, this can happen over and over again when you bike along a bus route. BRT will address these conflicts in two ways:

Floating bus stops

When the bus is traveling in the right-most lane, most stops will have a “floating bus stop” configuration. Bus riders will wait on a platform between the bike lane and the travel lane. Unrelated to BRT, the city is currently building a floating bus stop on Bassett Street. So soon you’ll be able to check out a real-life example of this design.

Rendering of a floating bus stop. Bikes pass between the bus platform and the curb

A widened sidewalk on Mineral Point Road

On some stretches, bus lanes and stations will not be on the right but in the center lane, for example on Mineral Point Road. This completely removes any conflict points with buses. There are downsides to center-running bus lanes, however.

On Mineral Point Road what is currently a shared bus/bike lane will be replaced by a widened sidewalk on the north side of the street. People on bikes can bike on the sidewalk in both directions and will share it with people walking. Mike Cechvala compared this design to the sidepath along University Avenue toward Middleton (one difference: University Ave does have painted bike lanes).

Rendering of the widened sidewalk on Mineral Point Road at Island

There was mixed feedback on this: Why a bike facility only on one side? (Answer: Because the city would have to acquire property and/or remove mature trees.) What about the conflicts with people driving cars at intersections and driveways? (Answer: Intersections will have signals and exclusive left-turn phases; driveways may be consolidated, and the path will be put on the side with fewer driveways.) On the other hand, our board member Kyle pointed out that the new design will still be an improvement over what is there now: “I think the cycle track along Mineral Point is a big improvement. I can bike on the cycle track with my kids. I acknowledge you still have to watch for turning cars.”

Disappearing bike lanes on East Washington Ave

East Washington between Blount and Milwaukee Street: Buses in the center, bikes and parking on the right, except during rush hour

On the isthmus, one sticking point are two miles of East Washington Ave, between and Blount and Milwaukee Street. Currently there are three general travel lanes, plus a combined parking and bike lane. To convert one of the travel lanes to a center-running bus lane while maintaining car capacity, the parking/bike lane will disappear for two hours during peak times on weekdays. The idea is that people on bikes will take alternative routes during that time, and the city presented some possible improvements on parallel routes such as Mifflin, Main Street, and the Cap City Trail. However, Tom Lynch was quick to point out that none of these improvements are part of the BRT project itself. While there is some money for them in the proposed city budget, all of them will have to go through their own separate processes and may or may not actually happen.

Big picture questions

When an audience member asked, “if BRT is going to make transit faster and more reliable, why is MadisonDOT still optimizing for SOV [single occupancy vehicle] throughput in many cases?” Tom Lynch responded: I don’t think we are optimizing SOV throughput. In fact, I would say most of our initiatives right now are aimed at reducing vehicle miles traveled. We are interacting with the Wisconsin DOT so that on East Washington and Whitney Way we are reducing motor vehicle capacity. So I think our paradigm has shifted. Safety is becoming our primary consideration, and also providing multiple choices for alternate modes. […] I believe our focus is different now than it might have been five years ago.”

What’s next?

The planning process for BRT is moving full-steam ahead. This Thursday (October 28), 30% designs for the downtown portion of the BRT route will be presented at a public meeting. Metro staff offered to come back. The possible bike improvements on Mifflin, Main, etc. will each be on their own timeline. We will keep an eye on this and inform you through our weekly newsletter. If you have feedback on any aspect of BRT, biking-related or not, you can email BRT@cityofmadison.com.

Categories
Weekly Update

South Madison Plan, W Wash progress, Complete Green Streets

Two people riding a tandem bicycle on the Southwest Path
A beautiful Sunday to ride on the freshly repaved Southwest Path (Image: Cyclists of Madison)

The beautiful fall weather continues to hold! We hope you had an opportunity to get out on your bike. If you need some fall riding tips, check out the Madison Bikes TV episode about extending your riding season into the colder season.

Progress on West Washington Ave semi-protected intersection

Work on resurfacing West Washington Ave is making progress. Scheduled for completion in November, the design will feature a semi-protected intersection design at Bassett Street, combined bus/bike lanes as well as buffered bike lanes on sections of West Wash, as well as the continuation of the parking-protected bike lane on Bassett for another block.

Intersection design for West Washington and Bassett street. Semi-protected design on the northwest corner, and a floating bus stop on Bassett

Transportation Policy and Planning Board

The draft South Madison Plan, which has been in the works for a long time now, will be on the agenda at the Transportation Policy and Planning Board this week. This is a comprehensive plan for the area between Fish Hatchery Rd, Wingra Creek, the Beltline, and Lake Monona. This is an area not well served by transit, walking, and biking infrastructure, and the plan describes possible improvements. This includes adding missing sidewalks to streets, extending the Cannonball Trail, adding several bike boulevards, and bus rapid transit on Park Street.

Map of proposed walking and biking improvements

No improvements to biking on Park Street itself are included in the draft, and neither are upgrades to existing, unprotected bike lanes on busy roads such as Rimrock Rd.

Complete Green Streets update

If you go to any city meeting or read public comments submitted about projects that reduce car parking or make driving ever slightly less convenient, you may get the impression that there is a solid majority of people who put driving and parking first. But are those voices representative?

The City is currently working on a “Complete Green Streets” planning process. The goal is to help us decide how we allocate limited public space to uses like sidewalks, trees, car parking, etc., with an eye to safety, equity, access, and climate change adaptation. A second round of public input just finished, and results will be presented at the Transportation Policy and Planning Board tonight.

The process involved both a survey, as well as targeted outreach and focus groups in BIPOC communities, and a separate survey for people with disabilities. The results seem clear: Large majorities support a hierarchy where people walking and rolling are on top, followed by transit, biking, driving and freight, and car parking at the very bottom.

Proposed modal hierarchy for Madison

Almost 80% of survey respondents agree that safety is a higher priority than convenience and speed for driving; less than 10% think that car parking is more important than space for trees; over 65% agree that safe and comfortable bike infrastructure is more important than on-street car parking. 82% of people support prioritizing the needs of historically underserved people. And so on. You can find all the results here. So yeah, maybe the loudest voices that testify at public meetings aren’t representative of our city’s values.

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

October 25: Let’s talk about bikes and bus rapid transit

A draft map of Madison's bus rapid transit routes.
The draft route for Madison’s BRT system (Image: Metro)

Madison will soon have its first bus rapid transit (BRT) route, going from Junction Road on the west side to East Towne Mall on the East Side. How does biking fit in with BRT and local buses? Join our meeting for a presentation from Metro and an opportunity to ask questions and provide comment! Possible topics:

  • How are bikes are accommodated onboard buses?
  • What kind of bike parking should be provided at stations?
  • What is important for making safe and comfortable interactions between bikes and buses in bus lanes?
  • What improvements for biking come as part of the BRT route?

The virtual meeting will take place on October 25 from 6 to 7:30 pm. https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84007649429?pwd=Qys5YjdLUnFQRlJFTEo5cTZMcDk1QT09 Meeting ID: 840 0764 9429 Passcode: 648703

For more information about the BRT project, go to https://www.cityofmadison.com/…/route…/bus-rapid-transit

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E-Mail

Join our board!

Want to become more involved in local bicycle advocacy? Consider joining the Madison Bikes board of directors.

Madison Bikes is looking for people who are dedicated, passionate, strong communicators, good compromisers, organized, and able to commit time and energy to promote biking as a priority in the city of Madison. There are no paid staff and everything we do—from fundraising to advocacy to communications to events—is done by our 15-member volunteer board and volunteers.

We are currently accepting applications for at least one seat on our Board of Directors, with elections taking place in December.

Our organization is committed to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic board committed to equity and anti-racism in our work. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, and other groups who are underrepresented in bike advocacy.

The Madison Bikes board is an all-volunteer working board. At a minimum, we expect board members to:

  • Attend our monthly board meetings (6-8 pm every third Monday of the month, virtual for the foreseeable future), and our community/work meetings (6-7:30 pm on the fourth Monday of the month)
  • Commit to doing work outside of meetings, for example organizing Madison Bike Week, attending public meetings, or writing for our blog.
  • Have a passion for our organization’s vision: Making Madison a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year-round.
  • Be committed to be on the board for at least one year

Other examples of things our board members do:

  • Write for our blog
  • Plan, organize, and promote events like Madison Bike Week, Winter Bike Week, or the Winter Bike Fashion Show (online or in-person events when those return)
  • Attend city-held meetings (public input meetings, City Council meetings, local and regional transportation committee meetings)
  • Mobilize the community to advocate for bike projects
  • Meet and liaise with community partners (neighborhood associations, non-profits, other bike advocacy groups)
  • Contribute to fundraising and organizational development efforts

If you are interested in joining our board, please complete this application form by October 22. If you would like to nominate someone other than yourself, please forward this post/email to them and ask them to apply.

Are you unsure whether being on our board is right for you? We’d be happy to answer questions by email or schedule a Zoom chat with one of our current members! Just email harald@madisonbikes.org.

Categories
Weekly Update

A short week; then Bike Week!

Green banner with the Madison Bikes logo, a stylized cyclist under chevrons, and the text "Madison Bike Week. September 12-19"

I hope everyone had a restful Labor Day weekend. Our newsletter took the day off as well, and here we are, on a Tuesday. The long weekend also meant that not much is happening in terms of city meetings. But! Madison Bike Week is just around the corner. Technically, Bike Week starts on Sunday, but there will be three “prologue” events on Saturday:

  • Fitchburg’s Jamestown Neighborhood is hosting a bike rodeo — if you can volunteer, please sign yourself up
  • The Badgers are having a home game, and as per usual, the Bike Fed provides valet parking right next to the bike path
  • And finally, Delta Beer Lab and Hop Haus Fitchburg are hosting the second edition of the Madison Brewery Bike Race. “There is no marked course – just get from one brewery to the other and back as fast (or slow) as you can. Race for time or ride for fun.” Pre-registration is required.

Find more info about those events and everything else that’s happening during Bike Week on our website: https://www.madisonbikes.org/events/bikeweek/

The next edition of our newsletter will go out on Saturday and cover the whole rest of Bike Week. I hope you are as excited as we are! I also want to send a big thank you to the amazing community that powers Madison Bike Week, and of course to our generous sponsors: Trek and Madison BCycle, the MGE Foundation, and Wheel & Sprocket, as well as Black Saddle Bike Shop and Schwinn.

Looking for Bike Week Party volunteers

One way in which you can help make Bike Week a success is by signing up for a volunteer shift at the Madison Bikes Bike Week Party on Sep 17, from 5-8pm. We need help with setting up/breaking down, handing out drink tickets and pouring drinks, and a few other things. You can sign up here: https://forms.gle/Yj7aczSCTxyftKbk6 Thank you!

Oh, and if you’re subscribed to our newsletter but not actually in Madison: Of course it’s also the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Bike Week all across the state. Find out more here.

Categories
Weekly Update

E Wash action, Bcycle Updates, Gorham, New Cambridge Trail

East Washington Safety

Marybeth covered the deaths that have recently happened on East Washington Ave last week. We’ve been working with other organizations on a protest action calling for an end to the traffic violence. If all goes as planned it will take place next Saturday (July 2731), starting at 10 am. We’ll send out a separate email once we have more detail. Stay tuned, save the date. The only acceptable number of traffic deaths and severe injuries is 0.

Madison bike ecosystem in the news

Madison has an amazing ecosystem of biking. Madison Bikes is part of it, but there are many other people and organizations out there that do really important work. Some of them recently got some media coverage. The Know your Madisonian series has a portrait of Alan Crossley, a “retired wildlife biologist who finds purpose in giving bikes new life.” Alan has long been part of Wheels of Winners, and more recently he joined the board of BikEquity. BikEquity, founded by Francisco Sayu, and Madison Adaptive Cycling, which launched only a few weeks ago, were covered in a segment by NBC15, covering their work to make cycling more inclusive in Madison.

Gorham Street, now with bike lane

Brand new bike lanes. Photo: Michael Rolfsmeyer

Until very recently, Gorham Street, one of the few corridors through the isthmus, was a busy, bumpy street, with a narrow combined parking/bike lane on some part and no bike infrastructure at all farther east. Repaving the street was just completed, and now there are bike lanes all the way from Baldwin (where the Tenney Park multi-use path ends) to Butler! The bike lanes required the removal of some on-street parking spots — something that we need to be willing to do in more places to make space for safe bike infrastructure. Well done.

Transportation Commission

Wednesday’s Transportation Commission meeting has an update from bike share system Madison Bcycle on the agenda. The slides are already available, and it looks like we’ll be getting some new stations!

New stations coming to Bcycle

Another item on the agenda is a discussion about how racial equity and social justice can be incorporated in the Commission’s work.

New bike trail in Cambridge

Cambridge is close to the Glacial Drumlin Trail, but getting from the trail into town currently requires riding on a state highway. That is going to change: A new multi-use trail will soon connect Cambridge to State Farm Rd, bypassing the highway. The trail will be named after long-time bike advocate and adventurer Phil Van Valkenberg. A trail dedication ceremony will take place at Cambridge Winery on Sunday, starting at 2:30 pm.

Cannonball and Military Ridge reopening in October

We just received word that the Cannonball and Military Ridge Trails near the “Velo Underround” bike roundabout are scheduled to reopen October 1. This is well ahead of schedule: Construction was originally slated to continue until December. Until the trail reopens, please use the detours.

The Nine Springs Valley Interceptor Improvements – McKee Road to Dunn’s Marsh project anticipates reopening the Military Ridge and Cannonball trails by October 1, 2021. Remaining work left includes manhole lining, testing, fine grading, and various restoration work (signage, plantings, paving etc). This date is subject to change depending on progress and weather.

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.