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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.

Categories
Weekly Update

Let’s talk streets; bike camping; two crashes

A bicycle trailer loaded with 9 kids bikes
Putting the Madison Bikes trailer to good use by transporting kids bikes to and from a BikEquity event

Bike network progress

Tonight at the Transportation Policy and Planning Board there will be a progress report on how the bike network expanded in 2020 and how it will grow in the future. In 2020, Madison got 3.6 new miles of bike lanes and paths; in 2021 we will get 7.7 miles, including the Garver Path, buffered bike lanes on W Wash, and a protected bike lane on Broom St. See the whole list here. Other topics on the agenda: A planned freeway expansion of the Beltline and several items regarding bus rapid transit.

Loop the Lake 2021

Our friends from the Clean Lakes Alliance are hosting their annual Loop the Lake fundraiser. You can either bike around Lake Monona at any time between June 12 and 20, or join the main event on June 19, starting at Olbrich Park. More info here.

Let’s Talk Streets

Several city initiatives around transportation, safety, and how our streets work are underway at the moment: Vision Zero (focused on eliminating traffic deaths and injuries), Complete Green Streets “for everyone, no matter who they are or how they travel,” and others. Public engagement is really important to these initiatives, and in order to not burn out the public with several separate engagement processes for each initiative, the engagement process is going to be unified. It starts off this week, and you can choose between virtual meetings either at 5pm on Tuesday or noon on Wednesday. Sign up here: https://www.cityofmadison.com/transportation/initiatives/lets-talk-streets

We want to know what you think about the streets you use to work, live and play in the City of Madison. What do you value about our city streets, what worries you, and what type of street user are you? How can the City design streets around people? The purpose of Let’s Talk Streets is to learn from each other about how we design streets for the future in Madison. It’s a conversation with YOU that seeks to gather public input to influence several different street-related initiatives while ensuring you know what we mean when we “talk streets” and we learn from you what is important about how you talk streets.

Bike camping on the shortest night of the year

The summer solstice is coming, and Black Saddle Bikes is hosting a bike camp-out at Brigham County Park. Depart Madison on Saturday, ride to the park and camp, and bike back the following day.

Dangerous by design?

There have been reports of two bike crashes in the past week. One involved a collision of two people biking on the SW Path overpass of the Beltline. According to reports, the collision happened in one of the turns, possibly with one of the people riding outside of their lane. Visibility is limited there because of the tall fence and a tree, and several people reported having had close calls there. We reached out to the city to see if any safety improvements can be made.

Fence on the overpass making it difficult to see oncoming traffic

Another notorious location for bike crashes is the crossing of the Cap City Trail at Syene Rd. In 2016, a person driving on Syene Rd struck Cheri Maples on her bike, eventually leading to her death. Several other injury crashes have happened in the years since. The area is currently under reconstruction, and minor improvements of the crossing appear to be included.

“Cannonball”?

On our Facebook group, someone asked how the Cannonball Path got its name. It didn’t take long for our board member Grant to post the correct answer:

For many years there were two passenger trains and two or more freight trains traveling the line each way daily. The “Cannonball” freight train, pulling a passenger coach, left early in the morning from Lancaster and returned from Madison late in the day.

http://www.friendsofmilitaryridgetrail.org/history-of-trail.html

This didn’t stop other from spinning yarns about alternative explanations: Maybe there is a brotherhood that “sets up a cannon at an undisclosed location along that path and absolutely smokes a random cyclist passing by. If they survive, they are permitted to join the brotherhood.” Or was it named after “John J. Cannonball,” an early bike advocate who in 1920 tried to prove that high-wheeler bikes were superior by racing from Dodgeville to Madison, ending in the collision with a cow…? No, it’s really named after a historic train run.

Categories
Weekly Update

Whitney Way bike lanes approved; Old Sauk Path; May Bike Challenge

The Cyclists of Madison Twitter account turned 1 last week. Every day, the account posts a new picture of the awesome people riding a bike in and around Madison.

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board is meeting tonight. On the agenda are a proposal for the City to build a new parking garage at Villager Mall to support the Urban League’s new Black Business Hub, a presentation on Metro’s future fare collection system (spoiler: staff doesn’t recommend going fare free), and a presentation by City Engineering on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which lays out mayor road and path projects for the next 5 years. One new addition to the TIP is the plan for a new bike path connecting Old Sauk Rd across the Beltline to the employment and commercial centers in the Deming Way area.

A map of the proposed "Old Sauk Path"

Buffered Bike Lanes on Whitney Way

At their meeting last week, the Transportation Commission approved a slew of Vision Zero projects, including a new buffered bike lane on Whitney Way. Currently people on bikes have to share the curb lane with parked cars, and this new design will create a new low-stress bike connection on this important north-south corridor.

Two examples of existing buffered bike lanes: Milwaukee Street and Dutch Mill Road

Mountain Biking for High Schoolers

Do you live on the west side of Madison or in Verona and have kids in 6th-12th grade? Are they riding mountain bikes, or are curious about riding? The Madison West Area MTB Teams are holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 4 at 7pm. A Zoom link is available on the Facebook event page.

Come and discover the lifelong joy of mountain biking! Our co-ed teams serve 6th-12th grade students, beginner to advanced, casual riders to racers, in the west Madison and Verona area. Join us for an introductory meeting for parents and potential athletes and learn more about the fun, confidence and community that mountain biking can provide. We work with girls and boys riding at all levels. Some of our athletes ride only at practices and maybe an adventure outing or two. Others find that they love racing with their team. We welcome all interest and ability levels!

May Bike Month Challenge

Is it really May already? It must be, as the annual Madison May Bike Month Challenge has just started. Log your rides, join a workplace team or the Madison Bikes Love to Ride group, and have fun all month! More details at https://www.lovetoride.net/madison

Dane County 2021 Road Construction

Fellow Madison Bikes update writer Ben points out some upcoming road construction projects in Dane County that are on popular bike routes:

“[This is the] the 2021 Dane County road project list: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=5e28a536e6064ae99f3592c123621c6b&entry=8
Looks like the biggest highlight overall will be whatever the M changes are from Governor Nelson to 113 are. I clicked through some of the links and nothing super-recent.A few personal highlights that might be of interest for roadies headed out exploring west and south this summer.

  • Repaving County Highway B north of Oregon (very commonly used on rustic road loops through Oregon, connecting from Cap City Trail)
  • Repaving County Highway A SW of Oregon between D and MM (pretty useful road connecting some alternate quieter N/S roads)
  • Repaving and widening County Highway G, adding 3ft paved shoulders, between Mt. Vernon and US 151
  • Repaving KP between Kross [sic] Plains @ US 14 to WI 19, slightly widened to include 1ft paved shoulder
  • Both F and J S/SW of Black Earth are going to be closed to through traffic due to bridge replacements. This will be annoying, particularly as they will be concurrent closures. Detours are long and everything is hilly out there.

I can personally vouch for the dire state of pavement on many of these repaving roads so overall I’m pretty happy to see the work being done!”

Thanks, Ben! Click on the map link above to get an overview of where the projects are located.

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

Advocacy 101, Cap City intersections, Council questionnaires

What a beautiful weekend we had. The bike paths were busier than ever, as evidences by the City’s bike counters: On the Cap City Trail, Saturday saw the highest ever daily March count, with 2262 people riding past the counter. The SW Path saw a count of 1209, which isn’t quite an all-time March record (March 16, 2015: 1480 riders) but still very respectable.

Advocacy 101 tonight

Tonight from 6-7pm is the Madison Bikes Advocacy 101 community meeting. We often get asked what one can do to advocate for biking in Madison, and so this 1-hour Zoom meeting will provide some answers to that question. Our board member and former Alder Robbie Webber is going to do a brief presentation and then there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion. is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. For active participation, join the Zoom call, or you can watch the meeting on Facebook Live.

Common Council Candidate Questionnaire

A sign saying "vote" in front of a snow covered bike rack at the Memorial Union

Elections for the Madison Common Council are on April 16 April 6 (early voting has started already). Where do candidates stand on issues related to biking and transportation? We sent them a questionnaire to find out and now the answers are in! Don’t know which district you’re in? Enter your address here. Note that not all candidates responded to our questions, and Madison Bikes does not endorse or oppose any candidate. Independent from our questionnaire, you may also be interested in the one from 350 Madison.

  • District 1 (Barbara Harrington-McKinney)
  • District 2 (Patrick Heck, Benji Ramirez)
  • District 3 (Lindsay Lemmer, Charly Rowe)
  • District 4 (Mike Verveer)
  • District 5 (Regina Vidaver)
  • District 6 (Brian Benford)
  • District 7 (Nasra Wehelie): no response
  • District 8 (Juliana Bennett, Ayomi Obuseh)
  • District 9 (Paul Skidmore, Nikki Conklin): no responses
  • District 10 (Yannette Figueroa Cole, Mara Eisch)
  • District 11 (Arvina Martin)
  • District 12 (Syed Abbas, Tessa Wyllie de Echeverria)
  • District 13 (Tag Evers)
  • District 14 (Sheri Carter, Brandi Grayson-Tuck)
  • District 15 (Grant Foster)
  • District 16 (Jael Currie, Matt Tramel)
  • District 17 (Gary Halverson)
  • District 18 (Rebecca Kemble, Charles Myadze)
  • District 19 (Keith Furman, Aisha Moe)
  • District 20 (Christian Albouras, Erica Lee Janisch)

Cap City Yield Signs

If you’ve been riding the Capital City Trail between Blair and Dickinson lately, you may have noticed new yield signs on the path. This stretch of the path has always been a bit of a hodgepodge when it came to who had the right-of-way at the crossings, but over the years the City had installed more and more stop signs on the cross streets. Those are gone now, and you can thank the “Office of the Commissioners of Railroads.” This obscure-yet-powerful office has wide authority under state and federal law to regulate anything related to railroad crossings, and they didn’t like the stop signs — presumably out of a concern that cars on the cross streets would back up all the way into the railroad crossing, creating a safety issue. So watch out for the new configuration and be prepared for people in cars and on bikes to be confused by the changes.

Save the Date: Spring Bike Wash and Safety Checks

Event picture for the "Spring Bike Wash and Safety Checks" event. Picture of a rusty cassette and chain. The Madison Bikes logo in the upper left.

It’s still a bit out, but mark the date: On April 24, we’re partnering with BikEquity, Down With Bikes, Dream Bikes, and Wheels for Winners for a spring bike wash and safety checks events. We’ll have cleaning supplies to wash that dirt and salt off your winter bikes, and experienced volunteers to do basic safety checks on your bike to get you started into spring. The event will take place on Clark Court, right next to Brittingham Park. Stay tuned for more details and let us know if you’re going on the Facebook event page.

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

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.