Spring is in full swing with trees budding and flowers blooming. To help emerge from the winter season, Madison Bikes is hosting a Spring Bike Wash and Safety Check. This event will take place Saturday, April 24, from 1 PM to 5 PM at Clark Ct, near Brittingham Park. Volunteers from Madison Bikes, Down With Bikes, Dream Bikes, BikEquity, and Wheels for Winners will be on site to assist with safety checks. Cleaning supplies, tools, and lube will also be available for use. Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/785154002417389/
Also this week, the Madison Vision Zero Initiative is bringing a presentation on the 20 is Plenty campaign to two city committees: the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB), and the Board of Public Works (BPW). 20 is Plenty is a campaign to reduce the default speed limit on city streets from 25 mph to 20 mph. Injuries that result from a crash grow exponentially more severe with speed, so lowering speed limits should help save lives. The 20 is Plenty slides can be seen here. TPPB meets Monday at 5:00 PM, and BPW meets Wednesday at 4:30 PM. Both meetings are taking place virtually.
This Monday’s TPPB meeting also has a presentation on Complete Green Streets. Topics for this presentation include pre-design engagement and gap analysis approach. Pre-design engagement in projects is about reaching out to communities where a project is proposed to get a sense of what that community wants. The gap analysis approach is how to approach gaps in the low stress pedestrian and bicycle network.
As the days get longer the temperatures are starting to go up. We’re seeing that this week with at least one day with a high of 60 degrees. A stark contrast from the bitter cold we had but one month ago. As temperatures go up, so do the number of people on bikes. At the very least it’s looking like a good week for fair-weather riders! Remember to be kind to other path users and give plenty of room and warning when passing.
At 5:00 PM, there’s a meeting of the Transportation Commission. One item of interest is the issuance of requests for proposals for redevelopment of the Lake Street parking garage. This site has been of interest to transit advocates for a potential intercity bus terminal. The Draft RFP indeed calls this out as a project requirement, along with improvements to Lake St to benefit bicyclists and pedestrians.
Also at TC is a presentation on the 2021 Public Works Transportation Projects. These are usually smaller projects that are done on shorter time spans to improve transportation conditions in the city. A number of projects on this list will affect biking, so take a few minutes to check out the plans. One notable is the Gorham Street Resurfacing, which will give the city an opportunity to add bike lanes to the east end of the street where it branches off from Johnson. Another notable is West Washington, which has the opportunity to add bus/bike lanes. Wednesday’s TC meeting is an excellent opportunity for the public to provide feedback on any of these projects.
There’s an online meeting on the redesign of University Avenue at 6:00 PM. This project has been important to follow as the stretch of University under consideration is not the most bike or pedestrian friendly. One part of the plan is to construct a new bridge on the Blackhawk Path over University Bay Drive. This will help people cross U Bay without having to contend with traffic. While this part of the plan is good, it has been a struggle getting bike facilities along the south side of University. The current proposal includes a 7-8 foot sidewalk to help accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the south side of University, which is good, but there’s still time to ask for better, and this Thursday’s meeting is a perfect time to ask. Registration is required for the meeting, which can be done here.
On Monday two monthly meetings will take place. First is the Madison Bikes Community Meeting at 6:00 PM. Then, Bike Fitchburg is having its monthly meeting starting at 6:30 PM.
On Wednesday, the Transportation Commission is meeting at 5:00 PM. One item on the agenda might be worth watching. There is a presentation on the high injury network that seeks to identify corridors and intersections with high injury rates to target for vision zero improvements. Vision zero is an approach to infrastructure that seeks to prevent traffic deaths by creating infrastructure that accounts for human failings into its design. Here is a link to the presentation that will be given.
Also Wednesday, Madison Bike Center is running a Beginner Mechanic Session from 3-5 PM. Their Beginner Mechanic Sessions are free open-house-style workshops where people can go work on their bikes and learn how to fix them. No experience necessary. The topic for this session is how to check a secondhand or post-crash bike for safety.
On Thursday, there’s an opportunity to volunteer with Free Bikes 4 Kids from 6-9 PM. No experience is needed and volunteers will be cleaning and prepping bikes. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board unanimously passed a resolution to end the City of Madison’s Bicycle Registration Program. The city is instead planning on encouraging registration through a national program that they will coordinate with. This change will not be official until passed by the Common Council.
On Wednesday, the Board of Parks Commissioners voted to reopen Vilas Park Drive to through car traffic. This is despite a petition with over 500 signatures and testimony that the Drive’s closure has been a net positive. The Board expressed openness to reconsidering interim Drive closure in April, noting that the Draft Master Plan recommends the Drive remain closed to through car traffic. This decision dealt a massive blow to people wanting Vilas Park Drive to continue being safe and comfortable to non-motorists using the park. Alder Tag Evers’ blog post from December 12 goes into more detail.
On Wednesday there are two bike-related meetings woth mentioning. The first is a regular meeting of the Board of Public Works. The second is a Public Involvement Meeting about Phase 2 of the Demetral Park Path.
First up on the Agenda is approving plans for the Garver Path between the Capital City Trail and Milwaukee St. This path is part of a larger planned network to connect the near east side to the north east side of Madison.
The next bike-related item is a report on the Bassett St Protected Bike Lanes. The report recommends continuing the parking protected bike lanes and extending it as planned in the Bassett St Corridor Plan.
Demetral Park Path – Phase 2
Also Wednesday, at 6:00 PM, there’s a Public Information Meeting about the Demetral Park Path Phase 2. Phase 2 completes an off-street connection between the path along Johnson St and the Demetral Park Path. Previously the City improved the Demetral Park Path and connected it to Commercial Ave in 2018. Property acquisition issues led to some delays, but the city is moving forward with this key connection.
Moving on to Thursday, there are two bike-related meetings happening at around the same time. The first at 6:00 PM is a BRT-related meeting. The second at 6:30 PM is related to the reconstruction of E Dean Ave on Madison’s east side.
The BRT Update meeting is primarily going to focus on Whitney Way and Sheboygan Ave. Whitney Way is notable because it currently lacks high quality all-ages and abilities bicycle infrastructure. Center running the BRT buses would improve bicycle infrastructure on Whitney Way. This would require sacrificing on-street parking, which was opposed to by many participants at the last meeting. If you are available please consider attending this meeting to show support for better bicycle infrastructure. Alder Arvina Martin has a blog post going into more detail.
E Dean Ave Reconstruction Meeting
Finally the meeting on E Dean Ave. Anyone with experience biking on the east side of Madison, especially from Monona, knows that E Dean Ave is in rough shape. The city is currently proposing three options.
Option 1 is the narrowest option, and would best promote traffic calming. Option 1 proposes Madison’s first ever advisory bike lanes. What is an advisory bike lane? A video by the City of Ottowa best sums them up. Bicyclists have right-of-way in the cycling lanes, but cars may use them to pass oncoming car traffic as long as no bicyclists are present.
Options 2 and 3 propose more traditional bicycle infrastructure solutions. Option 2 would have no street markings and an 8 foot sidewalk on the south side of the street. Option 3 would feature a wider street with marked bike lanes for part of the street and pull out parking.
In summary, there are four bike-related public meetings this week. The best way to get comfortable, all-ages and abilities cycling infrastructure is for the cycling community to stay engaged with the public process. If any of the above meetings strike your interest, I encourage you to attend.
Traffic alert: Babcock Drive between University Ave and Lot 40 will be closed to motor vehicle and bicycle traffic on Wednesday 11/4 from 9 AM to 3 PM. The sidewalk will remain open.
Last Wednesday’s Transportation Commission featured a number of important topics relating to comfortable and safe bicycling in Madison.
First up was the discussion about Madison’s shared streets program. In order to facilitate comfortable spatial distancing during the pandemic, the city enacted a number of restrictions on several streets. Atwood Avenue, Mifflin Street, and Vilas Park Drive were some of the restricted streets. The city is planning on removing these restrictions for the winter, and will evaluate their effectiveness. Public comments strongly supported keeping the traffic restrictions on Vilas Park Drive throughout the winter.
During the discussion, Alder Grant Foster made a good suggestion to look at mid-term solutions to keep some of the shared streets restrictions that are planned in future projects. A mid-term solution is more permanent than barricades and traffic cones, but less permanent than a complete reconstruct. For example, a mid-term solution could include concrete planters.
Click here for more information on the shared streets item.
Also discussed at the meeting were the 2021 Public Works Transportation Projects. Bikeways in the 2021 projects include new bike lanes on Odana Rd, a path connection to Demetral Park from Johnson Street, and the Russell Street bike path crossing. Click here for more information.
Watch the meeting here on the City’s YouTube page, and review the Agenda here. The Shared Streets item (#7) was moved to the beginning of the meeting due to the large number of registrants.
Monday, the TPPB is meeting at 5:00 PM in a virtual meeting. Topics of discussion include possible branding for Bus Rapid Transit and the vision zero high injury network. For full details, here’s the Agenda.
Tuesday is election day. If you haven’t already voted absentee, make sure to have your voice heard by voting at your local polling place. Although the presidential election is dominating headlines, there are down-ballot races for the House of Representatives, State Senate, and State Assembly. These races are important because they can affect local transportation policies.
Wednesday, the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board is meeting virtually at 5:00 PM. Not much biking related, but here’s the agenda.
Saturday, November 7th, Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison is providing another chance to donate bikes! From 12pm-3pm, nine bike donation stations will be setup throughout the area where you can drop off your gently used bike donations.
The list of donation stations is below.
While the most important donation you can make is a gently used bike, the next best donation you can make is a financial donation! This allows FB4K to purchase all of the supplies to repair bikes and to hire mechanics and staff to get the work done. It costs us about $100 to give a bike away.
An online petition to keep Arboretum Drive closed to car traffic gathered over 1000 signatures. Arboretum Drive closed to car traffic earlier this year to allow walkers, joggers, and bicyclists space to maintain adequate physical distancing during the pandemic. The University reopened Arboretum Drive to car traffic on July 31 despite the worsening conditions of the pandemic. Read the guest post by Sally Lehner.
There will be a virtual meeting of the Transportation Commission on Wednesday at 5 PM. On the agenda is an opportunity comment on the future of the intersection of Cedar Street with Park Street. Currently there are four options on the table for the intersection and it is still open for public comment. We would like to make sure the intersection features good bicycle access along and across Park Street. Another item is the approval of the reconstruction plans for South Blair Street. These plans also include the final reconstruction of the Blair/John Nolen intersection. Of note, the city is apparently moving forward with plans to add a cycletrack to the south side of Wilson Street. Getting good bicycle facilities along Wilson Street has been a years-long push by Madison Bikes to improve bicycle access to the downtown area from the lake shore.
In other news, on Friday there will be another Virtual Book Club event. This month’s book is Cyclescapes of the Unequal City: Bicycle Infrastructure and Uneven Development by John G. Stehlin. This book has been chosen because it addresses biking, mobility and social inclusivity.
Plans for the new Cedar Street connection between Park and Fish Hatchery changed at last week’s Transportation Commission. Instead of parking and two unprotected bike lanes–one of which was a door zone bike lane–Cedar Street will have two buffered bike lanes and no parking. Buffered bike lanes go a long way towards rider comfort and safety, and it’s good to see the city supporting their implementation.
Since this is construction season, a lot of roads have been getting a chip seal treatment lately. Chip sealing is a process where tar is laid down on a road and gravel chips are laid over it. The process is a fairly inexpensive way to extend the life of a road, but it is unfortunately an inconvenience to people on bikes. Bombay Bicycle Club put together a resource documenting where chip sealing has occurred.
Tonight the city is holding a virtual Public Information Meeting to update everyone on Wilson Street Corridor Study. The current recommendation is to include the two-way cycletrack on the south side of Wilson that Madison Bikes has been advocating for. Thanks to everyone who showed support for this option at meetings, and by writing to your alders and project staff over the years. This victory could not have been achieved without your help!
Of course, this fight won’t end with this meeting. The Corridor Study still needs to be accepted by the Common Council, approved by the mayor, and ultimately constructed. Stay tuned for further advocacy actions and updates on this project! You can read Addendum 2 to the Wilson Street Corridor Study for more information on the City’s current recommendations. You can also catch up on why Madison Bikes views Wilson Street as an important corridor for our advocacy mission by reading our previous blog posts here and here.
On Wednesday, the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) is having their monthly meeting virtually to discuss a variety of topics. One item is adding the Initial Bus Rapid Transit Project to the Fiscally Constrained Plan for the Regional Transportation Plan 2050. Another item is amending the 2020-2024 Transportation Improvement Program to include safety improvements at two intersections. One of the intersections is County Highway MM and McCoy Rd, which is adjacent to the Capital City State Trail. You can read the full agenda here.
As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on ourCommunity Bike Calendar. Email us at email@example.com to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, considerdonating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out thecity’s Bike Madison page.
Atwood Ave. with a lane closed for people on bikes
A few virtual events happening this week, but there are some ongoing items we’d like to mention.
We already mentioned it last week: The City of Madison Parks Division has entered Phase II in theplan to make some major improvements to Vilas Park, several of which directly impact cycling through and around the park. There are three separate proposals detailed, but awell-designed survey does a great job of helping you identify which elements from each of the proposals you liked and disliked, so we can presume that the resulting plan may incorporate elements from each of them. In addition to important cycling changes, you can also comment on ice skating, parking, shelter placement and wetland planning. Something for everyone!
As part of Virtual Bike Month, Madison Bikes has a Love to Ride Group where people can log their miles and help Madison Bikes reach a goal of burning 1000 tacos by the end of the month.
Madison Bikes has also started a Virtual Bookclub where we’re reading bike-themed books to get through social distancing. The first book: How Cycling Can Change the World by Peter Walker. The book can be found online including in e-reader format. We recommend purchasing ASAP as some delivery times are impacted. Consider purchasing from a local bookstore. Additionally, the library does have some copies and is now doing pick ups. The book club will meet virtually on Friday, June 12. If you’re not on Facebook and would like to participate, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting Monday, the UW will be closing down sections of Arboretum Drive to car traffic to enable social distancing among walkers and cyclists. This follows Madison restricting car traffic several streets or lanes to enable better social distancing on popular bike routes. Most recently Madison has shut down Sherman Ave. near Tenney Park.
Monday, May 18 is the monthly meeting of the Madison Bikes Board. The meeting will be held virtually at 6 PM. We’re currently working on identifying and prioritizing gaps in Madison’s low-stress bike network.
On Thursday, May 21 at 12 PM there is a free Learn to Ride Webinar in English and Spanis. This webinar is intended for parents, guardians, teachers or other caregivers that are there supporting children learning how to ride a bicycle. Also for adults that would like to learn how to ride a bicycle. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/learn-to-ride-online-aprende-a-montar-la-bici-en-linea-tickets-104150342478
BCycle is continuing it’s Virtual Bike Week celebration this week with a Lake Loop Challenge. Take a picture on your ride around the lake (Monona or Mendota) and submit it to BCycle’s social media for a chance to win prizes!
As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at email@example.com 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.
Sunday’s unseasonably warm and sunny weather seems to have gotten people out on their bikes as evidenced by an uptick in bike traffic recorded by the bike counters. The counter on the Southwest Path showed 405 people biked over it, up from the previous week’s weekday high of 403, and the counter on the Capital City Path soared to 649 people on bikes over the surprisingly consistent weekday numbers between 478 and 505. It is typical this time of year for weekend counts to be lower than weekday counts since there are more people commuting by bike in the winter than people riding recreationally on the weekends. It is important to note, however, that a percentage of weekend bike traffic consists of commuters who work on weekends.
Monday, February 3,
At 5:00 PM Madison’s Transportation Policy & Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting in Room 215 of the City County Building at 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This meeting the TPPB will look at creating a subcommittee to look at Pedestrian/Bicycle Enhancement and Traffic Calming. The TPPB will also discuss BRT updates, and a 2020 work plan which includes the Wilson Street Corridor Study and the Madison Ordinance Analysis of Parking Strategies (MOAPS). Read the full agenda here.
Tuesday, February 4,
Tuesday is Transit/Transportation Equity Day, which is on Rosa Parks’ birthday to recognize and honor the civil rights champion. The Sierra Club is organizing two rallies at the State Capitol in support of funding 11 transit project proposals in Wisconsin, one of the being a Madison Metro one. The first rally is from 7:30 to 10 AM, and the second is from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. You can learn more about these events and RSVP on the Transit Equity Day page on Sierra Club’s website.
Wednesday, February 5,
The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) is meeting at 6:30 PM in Rooms A&B at the Madison Water Utility Building located at 119 E. Olin Ave., which can be accessed by bike from the Wingra Creek Path. The MATPB will be amending the 2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Plan to include Madison’s east-west BRT line. They are also going to look at designating a section of US-151 as an Alternative Fuels Corridor. Read the full agenda here.
Saturday, February 8
The 5th race in the Hugh Jass Fat Bike Race Series will be taking place at Blackhawk Trails located at 10118 Blackhawk Rd. in Madison. The theme for this race is TOGA PARTY, and participants will be awarded points for racing in a toga. Having flannel/plaid on your body/bike will also earn points. Registration for the event starts at 9:00 AM and the race starts at 11. Registration is $40, or $30 for youths under 16. Learn more about this event and register at their website or on their Facebook Events page.
Initial reports are that the Free Bikes 4 Kids collection went well with hundreds of bikes collected.
Also last week saw some discussion of the poor quality of bike rack options at the Alliant Energy Center campus at the Bike Swap on the Madison Bikes Community Facebook Page. You can read the thread here.
Image: Packed fence racks at Alliant Energy Center Saturday. Fence racks do not meet City of Madison standards for bike racks. Photo credit: Robbie Webber.
Monday, January 13,
The monthly Madison Bikes Board Meeting is taking place at Madison’s Central Library and starts at 6:00 PM.
Wednesday, January 15,
At 6:45 PM one of Madison’s newest bike shops—Slow Roll Cycles—is continuing its Suspension Learning classes with the Suspension Learning Session 202 Level. This is the second level of their bicycle suspension learning sessions. It is not required to have attended the 101 class as long as you understand the basics of suspension and how it works, but if you want to take part in the hands-on service session you must have sat in on the 101 or 201 level sessions. You can read more about this session here on the event’s Facebook page.
At 7:00 PM there are two events to choose from. The first I will mention is the Lower Yahara River Trail (LYRT) Phase 2 Public Meeting. This meeting will take place at the Pleasant Springs Town Hall located at 2354 CTH N in Stoughton. Phase 2 of the LYRT will see a trail built between Fish Camp County Park and Lake Kegonsa State Park along the north side of Lake Kegonsa. You can read more about it on Dane County Parks web page or on the Facebook Events page.
The other 7:00 PM event is a Capitol Times talk called Madison’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This talk will be at the High Noon Saloon located at 701 East Washington Ave. Doors open at 6 PM and the talk starts at 7 and is a free event. You can read more about it on High Noon’s website or at the Facebook Events page.
Thursday, January 16,
The Cargo Bike Shop is hosting a Wheel Building Session starting at 6:00 PM. The event will be $25 and will cover a spoke wrench, snacks, and possibly a beverage. Not included in the costs will be the components for your wheelset, but the Cargo Bike Shop does have on hand great hubs, rims, spokes, and nipples and will work with you to help design your ideal wheelset. The session will start with a review of wheel components and theory and then move into lacing, tensioning, and trueing. You can learn more about the event and buy tickets at the Facebook Events page.