Categories
Weekly Update

Bike lanes on W Wash, Metro hearing, Free Bikes 4 Kidz, Winter Cycling Congress

A group of people with bicycles on the Capital City Trail in Law Park. The lake is frozen and the ground covered in snow.
Winter Bike Day 2020, just before COVID hit

The cold is unrelenting. Are you still out and about on your bike? I myself am off the bike for health reasons, but on my walks through the neighborhood I still encounter people riding. Last night on the way back from the grocery store, a young woman rode past me, happily singing to herself. So yes, even in this weather biking can be not only a means of transportation but also a source of joy!

Biking and diversity on WORT

Tune in tonight for a conversation on biking on WORT’s acccess hour. Our former board member Baltazar De Anda-Santana (now leading the Latino Academy of Workforce Development) and Kristie Goforth, executive director of Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison, will talk about diversity (or the lack thereof?) in Madison’s bike scene. You can listen on 89.9 FM or online.

West Washington Ave

West Washington Ave between Bedford and Broom will be resurfaced. Right now the street has car parking on both sides and an overly wide travel lane in each direction — wide enough to regularly confuse people about whether there are two or four lanes. The City now proposes to add bus lanes and bike infrastructure to the corridor while keeping car parking in place. The plans are still in an early stage, but at a public meeting last week this design was presented:

Graphic: City of Madison

A shared bus/bike lane on one side, a buffered bike lane next to car parking on the other. The project will be in front of the Transportation Commission this Wednesday. More info about the project here. If you have thoughts about the design, you can submit written comment to transportationcommission@cityofmadison.com or provide a comment at the meeting: https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/meeting-schedule/virtual-meetings/register?meeting-id=51308

Metro public hearing

Related to the West Washington Ave project, Metro is holding a public hearing on proposed changes to bus service. Among them is a plan to move some routes (the 8, 12, 15, 70 and 72) off State St and onto West Washington Ave. Other proposed changes are to suspend the 10 and 27 and compensate for that by increasing service on the 2 and improving service on the 38. You can find all the relevant info here. The public hearing is this Wednesday, starting at 6pm.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison has opened their bike give-away season for the year. Here’s their pitch:

Calling Nonprofit Partners & Schools
to Receive Bikes!

 
Help us spread the news! We are excited to announce that we are ready for nonprofit partners to apply to receive bikes! This is our first call to nonprofits or school partners in Dane County who are ready to pickup bikes in FEBRUARY.
Due to unconventional times, we are doing things a bit differently this year. So, if you’re with a nonprofit or school that has the capacity to distribute bikes in FEBRUARY, please fill out our Apply for Bikes form on our website. If you have questions, please reach out to us at info@fb4kmadison.org. Let’s get rolling!
*Please note that FB4K does not give bikes to individuals. We give bikes to nonprofits or schools who are already working with area youth. If you’d like a bicycle, please reach out to a nonprofit that you receive services from.
APPLY FOR BIKES

Winter Cycling Congress

Speaking of winter biking: This Thursday and Friday, the international Winter Cycling Congress is taking place — of course all virtually. Madison Bikes is sponsoring Noelle Reading from Freewheel/Madison Bicycle Center to attend, and she’ll write up her experiences for our blog! Stay tuned.

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
In Depth Weekly Update

2020: A Madison Bikes year like no other

Once again, it is time for a review of another year for Madison Bikes. And what a year it has been, for our organization but more so for all of you, all of us. It’s hard to summarize all the things that have gone on, but I will try anyway.

And before I forget: If you want to support Madison Bikes financially, donate here.

Also a thanks to my weekly update coauthors, Robbie, Ben, Marybeth, Kyle, and Jim. A lot of work goes into these emails, and we can only do it because we have an awesome team.

A good start

The year started out splendidly: To promote year-round riding for people of all ages, we invited the community to join us for a short bike ride through the Holiday Fantasy in Lights course at Olin Park. About 75 people, including many kids, heeded the call on the first Saturday of 2020.

A group of people biking through the Holiday Fantasy in Lights course at Olin Park
Holiday Fantasy in Lights Ride (Photo: Mark Renner)

While we had gotten lucky with the weather for the Holiday ride, things looked a little different on Winter Bike Day. In previous years we had tried hosting a full week of events to celebrate winter riding, but conditions were often tough in February in Madison. This year we focused all our energy on a single day — and of course it turned out to be one of the coldest ones of the year! Well, we were out out there anyway, serving coffee and pastries around a fire pit on the Cap City Trail.

A group of people standing around a bike trailer with three coffee urns on it. Frozen Lake Monona and a rising sun in the background.
Winter Bike Day 2020 on the Cap City Trail

With two events already under our belts, we were getting ready for the next one: An early spring ride to the murals of Madison. Then COVID happened and would shape the whole rest of the year.

Pandemic this, pandemic that

The early days of the pandemic saw us and our community jump into action. During the first lockdown, bike shops were considered essential businesses, but many of them had reduced or changed hours. Our board member Heather started a simple spreadsheet keeping track of Madison’s shops, and we, with assistance from the Bike Fed, eventually expanded this to an interactive map of the shops around the whole state. Nowadays we still maintain a map of all Dane County shops and outdoor repair stations.

Another thing early in the pandemic: Keeping your distance on the bike path. We didn’t have a great understanding of the risk of outdoor transmission yet, and public health orders mandated a 6-foot distance outdoors as well. A great opportunity for a fun PSA on the SW Path:

A person lying down in the middle of the bike path, with lines marking the edge of the path and the inner 6 feet of it. Text: "Be safe on the path. Always keep 6 feet away from people, including when passing people"

One of the few positive aspects of the pandemic: Like in other cities, Madison designated some of its streets as shared streets. In some cases, cars were kept out completely (Vilas Park Dr), in others “local traffic only” signs were used (e.g. N Sherman, Mifflin), and on Atwood Ave we got a temporary protected bike lane! And for those worried about crowded bike paths, we crunched the bike counter data to tell you when the paths were emptiest.

Temporary bike lane on Atwood Avenue A line of barrels separates the right travel lane from a two-way protected bike lane. Two people are biking in in the bike lane.

Madison ranked #2 biking city

In June, Madison received some good news: People for Bikes had ranked Madison the second most bike-friendly city in the US! We took a closer look at that ranking and concluded that biking in Madison is indeed pretty good compared to other places in the US. But it could be much better still. One important indicator: The number of people biking has stagnated for several years, as we explored in a blog post.

Racism, Black Lives Matter, Vision Zero

At the end of May, police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis. Suddenly, racism and the Black Lives Matter were in everyone’s minds and out on the street. White people, myself included, faced hard questions about their own actions and the systems of privilege and racism that we are entwined with and that we perpetuate. It’s was a difficult topic then, and the fight against racism is here to stay.

One intersection of racism and our bike advocacy was around Vision Zero. Vision Zero is an approach to traffic safety that recognizes that humans will make errors and that all traffic deaths and serious injuries are preventable. In other cities, part of Vision Zero has been increased traffic enforcement. But it is well known that this enforcement has disparate and sometimes deadly impacts on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). When Madison was about to adopt its own Vision Zero policy, Madison Bikes submitted a letter (you can download it below) to the Common Council. And the adopted Vision Zero policy does include a clause that acknowledges the harm from both traffic violence and police enforcement and asks for a plan to eliminate that harm.

Cyclists of Madison

One project I was really excited about this year is the Cyclists of Madison Twitter bot. Since the early days of Madison Bikes, we wanted to fight stereotypes about who does and doesn’t ride a bike in Madison. I greatly enjoy taking photos of people out riding, and the technical expertise of our volunteer Ben Sandee allowed us to create a Twitter bot that posts one photo a day.

Screenshot Cyclists of Madison

Wilson Street: In the works since 2017

One significant advocacy victory for Madison Bikes in 2020 was the adoption of the Wilson Street Corridor Plan. We had been working on this from the very beginning, back in 2017. And what a long way the project has come since then. Originally, the plan was to keep this important corridor into downtown more or less as it is, except for a widened sidewalk on parts of W Wilson. Through our (and your) tireless advocacy, the final plan looks very different: Ultimately, there will be low-stress bike facilities along the whole corridor, from the SW Path to the intersection at Machinery Row! Should it have taken this long to acknowledge that we need bike facilities for all ages and abilities? No. But Wilson St shows the power of advocacy and persistence.

Schematic of the W Wilson St Cycletrack

Madison Bike Week

Madison Bike Week as usual was not an option this year. We had only taken over the organization of Madison Bike Week last year and were all excited about our second round. First, we decided to delay a decision. Then we decided to delay Bike Week. And then we seriously considered canceling Bike Week completely for 2021. In the end, we went ahead and ran a Madison Bike Week as best as possible given the circumstances. I really, really hope that 2021 will get us back to an in-person Madison Bike Week.

A Metro Transit bus on State St, heading toward the Capitol. A Madison Bike Week ad is on the side of the bus
Bike Week ad on a Metro Bus

Looking forward

There’s still a lot of uncertainty about what 2021 will bring. I’m excited to to welcome three new people to our board of directors! We’ll stay involved with the bus rapid transit project moving forward, and we’re going to do some education for the Common Council elections in April. We have also allocated some funding for a small grant program, supporting BIPOC-led organizations for transportation-related projects. Stay tuned. And thanks for your support.

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!