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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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
In The News

Petition to keep Arboretum Drive closed to cars tops 1,000 signatures

CHANNEL 3000 NEWS

Categories
Weekly Update

Cedar Street, COVID Biking Metrics, Aldo Leopold Pilot Trail, Oscar Mayer

Most of the day to day was excellent for biking if you could put up with the heat and humidity. Lots of people were out on the south west path, but most people were taking it slow to stay cool.

Cedar Street Extension

Last week the Transportation Commission approved a design for the new Cedar Street extension on the south side. This new street is part of the Truman Olson Redevelopment project and will be the main access to the supermarket that will replace the existing Pick’n’Save on Park Street. The approved street design includes on-street car parking for the supermarket and buffered bike lanes on both sides of the street. Traffic Engineering projects that the street will see about 5000 cars per day, which means that the buffered design is necessary to make this a low-stress bike route. Still to be resolved is the crossing of Cedar at Park St. Allowing people to safely walk and bike across the four lanes of Park St is challenging, and the commission and residents testifying didn’t like any of the proposed designs. Engineering will seek additional public input before bringing the design back to the Transportation Commission.

COVID-19 Biking Metrics

Streetlight Data released a report on biking metrics during COVID-19. Based on location data from smart phones and navigation devices, Streetlight compared “bicycle miles traveled” in May 2019 and 2020. For the Madison metro area (which consists of Columbia, Dane, Green, and Iowa counties), they found an increase of 20-49%. How do these numbers compare to the two bike counters on the Southwest Path and Cap City Trail? Our board member Harald took a look: The counters also show an increase compared to last year. But the increase is smaller (9%), and compared to years before 2019, the 2020 numbers are actually lower.

Oscar Mayer Area Plan Adopted

After a very long Madison City Council meeting last week a plan preserving the high density affordable housing for the Oscar Mayer Area was adopted and expanding the preserved wetland open space to 14.1 acres. This plan is expected to create more than 2,500 affordable housing units near Madison’s urban core that will be well connected by transit, biking and walking. In addition, Coolidge street will be restricted to bike and pedestrians to reduced car traffic through the neighborhood.

https://www.cityofmadison.com/dpced/planning/oscar-mayer/2614/

Aldo Leopold Pilot Trail Project

Madison Parks in conjunction with IMBA is developing a professionally built mountain bike park off the Cannonball Path on the City’s south side. This week good progress was made, the first trail was “burned” in and updated/larger signage will be put up soon. IMBA is also working with City Staff to build skills development features along the trail.

Additional development phases are planned over the next two years. Phase 1 design work will be taking place late summer and through the fall with the goal to build Phase 1 summer 2021. Phase 2 is planned for 2022. Visit Capital Off Road Pathfinders or Facebook to learn more.

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

Weekly Update: Last Days of Spring

The weather this weekend was perfect for bike ride. I hope everyone was able to take advantage and get outside. The wonderful temperature and lush green foliage are the ultimate spring combination. Also, in case you missed it, Madison Ranked #2 best US biking city by People for Bikes. Go Madison!

Looking for a way to make Madison more bike friendly?

This is a short list of things you can do this week to encourage biking and bike infrastructure in Madison.

1. Fill Out a Survey (8-12 min)

Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) invites you to participate in an important regional survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on work-from-home trends and attitudes in the greater Madison region. Your participation is critical to understanding the unique impacts of COVID-19 on work and commuting trends in our region.

2. Register for the Vilas Park Master Plan Public Input Meeting

Registration is required to attend this public input meeting next week Monday June 22 at 6:30. This is an opportunity to provide feedback on the redesign of this wonderful Madison park. I am fond of Concept B that replaces the thru road with a multiuse path. This meeting is via Zoom and requires registration. More Information

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

Weekly Update: Bike Month 2020

Like many others my daily routine has changed in the last month and I spend a lot more time at home. My switch to telecommuting has disrupted my daily bike commute routine, so I need to plan extra activities on the weekend to stay healthy and make up for my weekday largess. Thus I was very happy to learn Governor Evers reopened many state parks starting this last weekend including all of the state rail trails. I took advantage of the excellent weather this weekend and went for a ride with my family. The warm temperatures and limited car traffic just beg us to go out and explore the world. Of course, please remember to follow social distancing requirements and minimize contact with others in public places.

Young kids on bikes in the streets

Bike Month!

May is National Bike Month and Madison Bikes usually has major events planned to celebrate biking welcome in the summer, however this year Madison Bike Week is delayed until September due to COVID-19 and the Ride-the-Drive is cancelled. However, with the wonderful weather and reduced car traffic there has never been a better time to encourage others to try and realize the benefits of biking. Here are a few Bike Week activities you can do this week:

Bike to School Anywhere Week 2020 –⁠ The annual bike to school week put on by the City of Madison, Healthy Kids Collaborative had to be modified this year because kids are attending school virtually. Bike Anywhere Week: From a Distance has a family bike activity or two planned every day this week.

Love to Ride –⁠ you can sign up for this challenge if you’re looking for encouragement to bike more!

Learn to Ride webinar for parents –⁠ Thursday 5/7 @12pm. This online event put on by the City of Madison is a great first step to teaching your kids to bike safely.

County Highway AB and US Highway 12/18 Interchange

A $37 million project to reconstruct the County Highway AB and US Highway 12/18 interchange east of the Interstate 90/94 will be presented for approval at the Transportation and Planning Board on Monday and the Common Council on Tuesday. This expensive project is proposed to improve one of the most dangerous intersections in the state but doesn’t include low stress bike and pedestrian accommodations. Please read the excellent action alert written by Robbie Webber to learn more.

Greater East Towne and Odana Area Plans

The City of Madison is gathering input to determine the future of the East Towne and Westgate/Odana area malls. The results of the first public input survey branded “Mall Madness” are available. “Comfortable and safe bike routes” and “walkable and pleasant streets” ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in the final round. This is an excellent opportunity to encourage new equitable and bikeable/walkable developments in Madison.

  • Week 1: Issues facing malls and potential impacts from Covid19
    Monday May 4th 12:15-1 pm, and Thursday May 7th 5:15-6 pm
  • Week 2: Case Studies – Mall & Office Redevelopment Examples
    Monday May 11th 12:15-1 pm, and Thursday May 14, 5:15- 6 pm
  • Week 3: Odana Area Plan Focused Discussion
    Monday May 18th 12:15-1 pm, and Thursday May 21th 5:15-6 pm
  • Week 4: Greater East Towne Area Plan Focused Discussion
    Monday June 1st 12:15-1 pm, and Thursday June 4th 5:15-6 pm

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.