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Weekly Update

TC and TPPB

I hope you were able to join in the Madison Bike Week festivities last week, including the end of week party on Friday and Tuesday ride with the Mayor. Its great to see so many people and businesses supporting biking in Madison.

Bike Week post press conference ride with the Mayor.

There are many transportation meetings this week, because both the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) and the Transportation Commission (TC) are meeting this week.

Monday

Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting virtually at 5pm. The agenda includes a review of the Draft Greater East Towne Area Plan. The presented “street ideas” add generous protected bike boulevards and cycle tracks to East Towne, High Crossing and Zeier Road. I believe the City did a nice job on this and I look forward to seeing this plan move forward. The big topic for this week is the 2022 Capital Budget, which is dominated by the $166M BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project (71% is federally funded). Plus, I am pleased to see the Mayor also included $2M for Safe Streets Madison (combination of Neighborhood Traffic Mgmt., Safe Routes to School, Ped/Bike Enhancement and Vision Zero) and $613k for the city wide 20 is Plenty implementation. This budget proposal clearly shows Mayor Satya’s steadfast support of non-automobile modes of transportation Madison needs to thrive and be an enjoyable place to live.

Wednesday

The Transportation Commission (TC) is meeting at 5pm virtually and you must pre-register if you wish to speak at the meeting. The beginning of the meeting is mainly focused around authorizations for the east-west BRT project. Followed by authorization for the Judge Doyle Square Development Project and an update to parking restrictions on 1080 Walsh Road. The item of most interest to cycles is likely the #10 2022 Public Works Transportation Projects List. The following list is a summary of the bike bike/ped projects planned for next year. The plan also includes numerous road construction, reconstruction, and resurfacing projects.

  • Path resurfacing
  • New Sidewalks 2022 (not sure where)
  • Safe Streets 2022
  • Old Middleton Underpass @ Craig Ave
  • Quiet Zone 2022 @ East Isthmus
  • Cannonball Path @ Fish Hatchery Rd to Wingra Dr
  • W Main Bike Blvd 2023 @ Proudfit
  • W Towne Path Ph 3 2023 @ Commerce to S Junction Road

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Weekly Update

August Fun, 20 is Plenty, TC, and Bike Week

My family enjoying the mountain biking trails near Duluth, Minnesota. Our family is new to mountain biking this year and I was pleased to discover there are many great mountain bike trails in Wisconsin and other neighboring states. Plus most of the easy (green circle) trails are accessible to kids with standard non-mountain bikes. Just make sure to run very low tire pressure on the small kids bikes to get traction.

Madison Bike Week

Madison Bike Week (and Wisconsin Bike Week) is just a little over a month away! September 12-18 is coming soon. We have received the first event submissions and our calendar just went online. If you have a business or are part of a community group that would like to host an event during the week, you can find more information and sign up here. New this year: We have a limited number of mini-grants to help community groups host events in parts of town that haven’t had Bike Week events in the past or that serve/are run by underrepresented populations.

20 is Plenty Pilot Starts Monday

The city of Madison is starting the 20 is Plenty pilot initiative on Monday this week. This is part of the broader Vision Zero goal to reduce and eventually eliminate all traffic related deaths in the city. The first phase of the project will be implemented in the Tenney-Lapham and Theresa-Hammersley neighborhoods. I recommend you try to visit one of these neighborhoods so you can try it out and provide feedback in a survey expected later in the year.

Transportation Commission – Wednesday

The Transportation Commission is meeting at 5pm on Wednesday. The agenda includes quarterly updates on metro, traffic engineering, traffic safety and parking. Plus an updated design of the W Wilson, S Hamilton and S. Henry intersection to improve pedestrian safety and accommodate the planned cycle track on W. Wilson st. Register to attend or give comments at https://www.cityofmadison.com/MeetingRegistration

Let’s Talk Streets Survey

The city is seeking feedback on how our future transportation infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, metro, etc..) should be designed to serve all users (not just cars). This “Lets Talk Streets” initiative is part of the larger Vision Zero goal and it is very important that you respond. I urge you to complete this survey ASAP, if you haven’t done so.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Weekly Update

Vision Zero, Bike Advocacy Discussion at Community Meeting

June Pride Ride participants near McPike Park. Photo courtesy of Harald Kliems.

Hope you were able to avoid the worst of the rain this week and enjoy a few nice rides between showers. Its not always fun to get wet while biking, but we should be thankful for a little rain when so many places are threatened by drought, wild fires or worse. Both my kids and my garden were smiling after the Saturday afternoon deluge.

East Washington pedestrian death/Vision Zero

I was greatly saddened to hear a pedestrian was killed on East Washington by a automobile driver last week. This is a stark reminder of the urgent need to improve the safety of our transportation system to protect vulnerable users like pedestrians and bicyclists. I live near East Washington and cross this road everyday when biking my kids to school. I believe the recent changes to lower speed limits is both good and insufficient. If you would like to get involved and discuss ways to bring more awareness to this issue, you should attend our Community Advocacy meeting this Monday at 6pm.

Looking to the future, there is a concerted effort by city leaders to implement Vision Zero to eliminate (yes, eliminate) all transportation related deaths in Madison by 2030. A draft version of the Vision Zero plan will be presented at the TPPB meeting this Monday June 28th @ 5pm. This brings me great hope that Madison will become a city where anyone and everyone can feel safe biking or walking to school, to the grocery store, to work or for recreation.

Bike advocacy community meeting

Monday – June 28th @ 6pm – Join Zoom

Please join us for a conversation about bike advocacy in our community. This week the discussion will likely revolve around the tragic pedestrian death on East Washington and steps we can take to bring awareness and change.

How to “report a problem” to the city

In case you weren’t aware, Madison has a convenient web portal to Report a Problem with various city owned or managed infrastructure. This is a great way to report weeds overgrowing a path, illegally parked cars, blocked sidewalks, dangerous bike path cracks, etc… I have personally used this portal a number of times and found city staff usually responded within 24hr.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Weekly Update

Gold Walkability, 20 is Plenty, Complete Streets, TDM

Its a great time a year to get out bike! There are tons of great gravel rail trails in Dane county which can be comfortably enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. This family is enjoying a ride near Cambridge on the Glacial Drumlin Trail and possibly the adjacent CamRock mountain biking area.

Madison was recently Awarded Gold status as a walk friendly community, which is just another reminder that we live in one of the most awesome cities in the US! I think this award shows we are making progress towards a more walkable city, but of course there is always more work to be done 😉

City alders and transportation engineering took another step in the right direction when they choose two neighborhoods (Tenney-Lapham and Hammersley-Theresa) to pilot the new 20 is Plenty initiative to reduce car/ped crashes in residential neighborhoods by reducing the speed limit to 20mph. I’m very excited about this because my kids bike to Lapham School and slower cars means more kids will feel comfortable biking or walking to school.

Madison’s Ride the Drive event is quickly approaching on Jun 6th from 9am to 1pm and they are still looking for volunteers (2-hr shifts). This is a great city wide event to encourage biking particularly those who don’t often bike. The event will be held at 4 different city parks:

Monday, May 17th

Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting at 5pm and their agenda includes an update on the Complete Green Streets initiative. If you are unfamiliar this initiative, I recommend you take a look at the presentation to view map overlays of the city focused on identifying how out transportation system serves our community and where we should focus efforts to improve. Its really great to see how our city leaders are taking steps to dramatically change how transportation projects and users are prioritized.

Another item on the TPPB agenda is the Parking Research and Policy Overview, which is a short overview of how Madison ordinances currently encourage car ownership by subsidizing free parking. This is part of the broader topic of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and changing our local laws so that some of the hidden costs of car parking is supported more by drivers.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Bike News E-Mail Weekly Update

Advocate for Better School Bike Facilities, Transportation Commission

West high school bike racks.

Advocate for Better School Bike Facilities

High school may be a distant memory for many of us, but I want to bring your attention to an important high school and bike topic which I think is receiving insufficient attention. You are likely aware that Madison residents recently approved a $317M referendum to invest in MMSD school facilities, with most of the money earmarked for the four major district high schools. MMSD has drawn up project concepts and is in the process of turning these into firm requirements to send out for bid. You can view the project proposals and schematics here. Disappointingly, none of the MMSD project project call out any specific improvements to pedestrian or bike facilities.

Many bike facilities at MMSD schools are over crowded, in poor condition, and poorly designed (see image of west high above). This is unacceptable, we need to invest in enhanced bike, bus and walk infrastructure to make it safe, convenient and inexpensive for students to get to school! Relying on car transportation unfairly places the cost of transportation on families which can be a significant percentage of income for the underprivileged. At a minimum facilities should include functional, well lighted and covered bike parking, bus shelters and well lit walking paths around the school property, so kids feel safe walking home, unlocking their bike or waiting for a bus after dark.

Please help me advocate for better bike and pedestrian facilities at our schools by submitting comments to the Post Referendum Facilities Survey and/or sending an email to the MMSD school board. The comment period is nearly over, so please act soon.

Wednesday, April 14th

Transportation Commission meets at 5pm this week and can register for the meeting here. Agenda items include a few items of interest, the city staff is proposing to revert pedestrian/bike crossing signals back to pre-COVID timing phases (view list of intersections, agenda item #8). In its current form, this change means pedestrians and bikes will once again be required to press walk buttons to receive a signal to cross. I personally, have become accustomed to the automatic pedestrian phases and would like to see many of them stay. You should send the TC an email to advocate for an intersection in your neighborhood.

The second item of note on the TC agenda is #6 after many public input meetings and discussion the city is proposing the following changes on Whitney Way. This is a hard earned win for pedestrian/bike friendly infrastructure design and it would be great if you could show your support by attending the TC meeting or sending a quick email of support to the TC.

  • Adding a buffered bike lane from Old Middleton Rd to Tokay Blvd
    • This will require the removal of all the on street parking from Sheboygan to South Hill Dr
  • Pedestrian improvements including:
    • Old Middleton Rd – Adding high visibility crosswalks
    • Langlois St – Adding a pedestrian curb ramp and install a high visibility crosswalk
    • Door Dr  – Adding new crosswalks
    • South Hill Dr – Adding a rapid flash beacon crossing on the south side of the intersection and add a high visibility crosswalk
    • Tokay Blvd – Adding high visibility crosswalks
  • Lowering the speed limit on Whitney Way to 25mph

Free Bikes 4 Kids

Free bikes 4 Kids is a local nonprofit who is urgently seeking volunteers to help meet the overwhelming demand for bikes. Free bike requests were up 150% in 2020 and they are expecting high demand this year as well. If you would like to help, more information can be found at: https://fb4kmadison.org/pedaling-news/calling-nonprofit-partners-schools-community-centers-to-receive-bikes-in-may/

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Weekly Update

Sheboygan and West Wash Bike Lanes

Cold weather family trip to the library.

Our family dubs cold days, in the single digits or below, “Double coat” weather. A single coat isn’t warm enough so, we double up by adding a fall jacket under our winter jackets. Two coats significantly increases the amount of time kids (or myself) will spend outside in the cold. Why not 3 coats? Well, we discovered two coats is our limit before becoming too puffed up to function, but go with what works best for you. Looks like warmer weather is in the forecast for next week (probably only one coat necessary). Expect the paths and roads to be very sloppy…

Wednesday

Transportation Commission meeting about a number of items including a proposal to add bike lanes on Sheboygan Ave and West Washington. Please take a look at the proposal and provide feedback particularly if you live in this area or commute along this road. You can easily provide feedback through the following methods:

  1. Written Comments: You can send comments on agenda items to:
    TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com
  2. Registering for the meeting which will grant you the following options when you attend
    – Request to speak at the meeting for <2min
    – Submit a question via chat (can be anonymous)
    – Register support or opposition of an agenda item (without speaking or anonymously).

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Weekly Update

Transportation report summary and bike registration repeal

2020 Transportation Report Summary

The City of Madison Department of Transportation released their 2020 Annual Operation Report. The report includes transportation accomplishments from last year and some very exciting initiatives planned for 2021. A video discussion of this report in the Transportation Policy & Planning Board: Meeting of January 4, 2021 is also available.

2020 Transportation Trends Trends

  • Motor vehicle traffic dropped significantly early this year, but has recovered to 90% of pre-COVID levels.
  • Overall monthly bicycle volumes on the Southwest Path are consistent, however there is a notable shift in volume to the weekends.
  • The average city wide motor vehicle speed has decreased, but the number of extremely high (100mph) speed related crashes have increased transportation fatalities.
  • Metro transit recorded a 27% reduction in revenue hours last year, however the department remains on stable financial footing. The city is expecting transit ridership to recover in 2021 and views transit as a “key transportation mode”.
  • Parking revenue is down over 50% and which resulted in a $6 million dollar operating loss.
  • The city made deliberate efforts to minimize the impact of traffic and transit change to communities of color and low income households. For example, metro fares were suspended from March to August.

Traffic Engineering COVID-19 Response

  • Added signage to encourage and inform people of physical distancing guidelines.
  • Modify signal timing to eliminate the need to press walk buttons and reduce pedestrian wait times.
  • Implement 4 miles of temporary shared streets to expand low stress bike and pedestrian facilities.
  • Temporarily closed streets, created dedicated curbside pick-up spaces and converted parking to outdoor restaurant seating, to aid local businesses.

2020 Traffic Accomplishments

  • Madison adopted Vision Zero with the goal of eliminating all traffic related deaths. Adopting Vision Zero is a substantial achievement that encourages the city to use data driven methods to review and address hazardous roads and intersections. See figure below is a data driven example of how 2020 vision zero projects were distributed with a focus on equity.
  • Complete Green Streets initiative will consider how to use our precious roadway space more equitably, by considering all transportation modes in addition to motor vehicles.
  • Improved and expanded bike facilities. I have seen a lot of new green and white paint at city intersections and I hope you have has well. You can view the report to see the full list of improvements.

2021 Traffic Engineering Initiatives

  • Vision Zero. This was adopted in 2020 and you should expect to see this every year. Getting to 0 traffic deaths is a big deal and will take a lot of work.
  • School Crossing Guards
  • Shared Streets – this was one of the positive outcomes of the COVID pandemic and there maybe ways to make some changes semi-permanent.
  • Green Complete Streets. A long list of projects to make our city more equitable to all methods or transportation. Lots of exciting projects on this list.
  • Twenty is Plenty is an initiative to reduce residential street speed limits from 25mph to 20mph. Lower urban speed limits reduce pedestrian fatalities and don’t significantly impact average vehicle speed.
  • Change how traffic calming funds are allocated to make the process more equitable.
  • On-street parking ordinance review to consider changes to Madison’s parking permit structure and incentivize real estate developers to incorporate facilities for alternative transportation modes.
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Conclusion

I am impressed by the significant achievements made by the Mayor, Director of Transportation, city alders, traffic engineers and others to make transportation in our city more equitable for all Madison residents. In particular, I applaud city leadership in their clear prioritization of all modes of transportation, not just cars, and look forward to the numerous initiatives planned for 2021. I am proud to join the effort to shift of our great city to an environmentally sustainable, livable and equitable example of what is possible. You can help too, by attending public input meetings, voting for candidates who support all modes of transportation and encouraging others to bike.

Mandatory Bike Registration Repeal

The mandatory bike registration ordnance was unanimously repealed this week by the city council. This might sound bad, but is is a good thing because this outdated law was a barrier to biking and wasn’t effective at deterring bike theft. If you would like to register your bike there are voluntary national registration services available.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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In The News

NBC15.com – How Madison keeps its bike paths clear through the winter

WMTV NBC15.com NEWS

By Colton MoleskyPublished: Jan. 7, 2021 at 8:31 AM CST

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Weekly Update

West Side BRT

The warm weather this weekend was a pleasant surprise. Hopefully you have an opportunity to get out side and take advantage of it. This mild weather makes for a great smooth transition to fall riding gear.

This Week

West Side BRT Refinements

Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. Register Here

This is community input meeting for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan impacting the west side. The city is seeking feedback on changes to accommodate center running bus lanes on Mineral Point Road and Whitney Way. The proposed center running bus lane plan for Whitney Way is a win-win for bikes and BRT. However, the recommended changes to Mineral Point Road are a compromise between BRT operations and bike facilities (see below for more details).

Mineral Point Road

The following graphic shows the proposed Mineral Point Road cross section with center running BRT lanes. The original proposal maintained the current shared bus/bike lane with separate BRT facilities on each side of the road. The proposed change removes the shared bus/bike lane and replaces it with a widened sidewalk on one side. The proposed changes can be summarized as good for BRT and so-so for bikes. I acknowledge there aren’t a whole lot of options available to accommodate two car travel lanes and bike facilities without 1) widening the road (which is expensive) or 2) significantly expanding the sidewalk/path (which the city can’t do). However, I am concerned a shared sidewalk on one side is not a good option for pedestrians or cyclists. This would be a good meeting to attend if you use the bike facilities on Mineral Point Road and could provide feedback to make this work for both BRT and bikes (like Whitney Way).

Mineral Point Road cross section with center running bus lanes

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

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Weekly Update

2021 City Budget, TPPB, and Fall Riding Gear

This weekend offered another great opportunity to get out and enjoy the wonderful fall colors! While late morning and afternoon temperatures are generally comfortable, I’ve noticed the temperature has started to dip down to freezing some nights. This has caused some cold fingers and ears for unprepared morning cyclists (like myself). Time to dig out the fall ridding gear from the back of the closet! On that note, I decided to describe the causal fall weather riding gear I use for commuting and short trips to the store.

Casual Fall Weather Riding Gear

The key to riding comfortably in cooler weather is to choose clothing that shields your skin from the wind without retaining heat and moisture. Your body will probably generate enough (sometimes too much!) heat to keep your fingers and ears warm if they aren’t exposed.

Light gloves for casual fall riding. Soft shell glove (right) is more wind resistant than the knit glove (left).

Gloves are the first fall weather item I don when temperatures start to drop below 50F. Bike specific gloves can be purchased, however I find many common “soft shell” gloves (right) work fine.

Standard beanie hat (left), beanie without rolled over edge (center) and bike beanie with ear flaps (right).

A head covering is the second fall weather item I add to keep my ears warm. I recommend thin hats for two reasons; 1) my head gets hot and 2) a thick hat can compromise helmet effectiveness during a crash. One option is a standard beanie hat with a rolled edge (left), however this hat type can sometimes push down over my eyes while riding (Bad!). I recommend a tight fitting hat (center) without a rolled over edge that will stay put under a helmet. Some hats come with extra ear flaps (right) which cover the ears more effectively.

This Week

Monday

The Madison Transportation Policy and Planning Board is meeting Monday at 5pm virtually. You can watch the meeting live or review the archived recording. The agenda includes a few items which maybe of interest:

Tuesday

Madison 2021 City Budget Discussion with the Common Council starting at 6:30. You can watch the meeting live, but you must register in advance if you would like to comment. Watch for a separate follow up post from Madison Bikes on this topic.

Voting

Don’t forget to VOTE! In-person absentee voting starts across the city on October 20. Make a plan to vote, because it’s important. Have questions or need information? Start here

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.