We are busy preparing for our major event of the year, Madison Bike Week! With only two weeks away there is still time for local businesses or non-profits to sign up and host a Bike Week event or discount. You can follow this link to register you event…
Bike Week Calendar
Once again, this year you can use Sched to keep track of your calendar of bike week events and discounts. This tools includes many useful features including personalized event calendars and a map view. The Sched bike week calendar and map can be found on our Bike Week 2022 page.
Plus, you can register for a free account to create a personalized bike week calendar and receive notifications for specific events you plan to attend.
We have 25 events registered for Madison Bike Week, including 12 food and 11 ride events! The map view, shown below, is a great way to find events in your area. It’s not too early to start planning your stops and coordinate with your riding buddies.
Tickets are available for $50 in advance and $60 at the door.
Atwood Avenue Reconstruction Project
After much deliberation and community input, the Parks Commission decided to implement Option 3a multi-use path through Olbrich Park. This option was considered a compromise which most people could live with, maintaining bike access through the park and leaving most of the lake shore path as-is. Another benefit is that option 3a doesn’t interfere with the sledding hill and can be plowed in the winter. Thank you to everyone who gave feedback as part of the Atwood Ave reconstruction project.
Capitol Off-Road Pathfinders (CORP) Spring Fundraiser
CORP Annual Fundraiser returns to its rightful place at Machinery Row Bicycles on April 23! All the highlights you remember: beer, food, and the famous bottomless raffle! $20 at the door (kids free!).
1000 Friends of Wisconsin Webinar Series
If you are unacquainted, 1k friends of WI is a local group that promotes land use policies and activities that advance healthy communities, positive economic outcomes and environmental benefits in Wisconsin. They are hosting a four part webinar about street design and what we can do to reclaim public space. Registration is free!
Updates to the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan is a 28 page document that will be presented at the Transportation Policy and Planning Board on Monday April 18th at 5pm. The plan provides an overview and current status of city wide initiatives in the following six key areas. It’s worth a quick readthrough to understand the long term vision of the Mayor and city staff have laid out for our city.
We received a taste of spring this week and the city street sweepers were out clearing the grit off the roads, but it looks like we have at least one more snow in store. It might be time to start getting your bike tuned-up and cleaned for spring, particularly if you’re a winter rider!
Hammersley Road Reconstruction
The current proposal to include a multi-use path along Hammersly Road will be up for discussion again at the Transportation Commission meeting on Wednesday at 5pm – Item #5 (see previous MB blog post for background). The multi-use path could really use a boost of community support to ensure its included in the final design. Please register to voice your support at the TC, particularly if you live in this area and would love to walk or bike on a low-stress path.
Proposal to Add Buffered Bike Lanes to Tokay Blvd
Good news! The proposal to add buffered bike lanes on Tokay Boulevard from Whitney Way to Segoe Road (Item #7) will also be discussed at the Transportation Commission Wednesday at 5pm. View street geometry PDF.
2021 Madison Transportation Operation Report
This twenty page report is a treasure trove of data about the modes of transportation we use and Madison transportation priorities for next year. The report contains a lot of graphics and easily digestible facts comparing usage trends over the past three years. My brief synopsis is that both car, and unfortunately, bike counts are down compared with pre-pandemic levels. A Greater Madison MPO Tele Work survey indicates this trend is likely due to a greater number of people working from home on a full or part time basis. Of course it’s difficult to predict if this trend will continue.
The report also shows traffic crashes and fatalities in Madison have increased significantly since 2019, matching the national trend. Notably, East Washington Ave alone accounted for one third of all Madison traffic fatalities and all victims were vulnerable users (pedestrians and cyclists)! This is very alarming and is a tragic example of why we urgently need to put more resources into to efforts like Vision Zero.
For a second year in a row the city Parking Division reported a budget deficit which required them to pull $3.3M from reserves. The loss was attributed to loss of revenue and weak demand for parking garage spaces. Unlike the majority of this report, which has a progressive vision supporting all modes of transportation (car, bike, walk, bus, etc..), the parking division is hoping for a “stronger recovery and increase in parking demand…”. This statement makes me ponder how the incentives for the “car” Parking Division (to increase car parking demand) is at odds with the transportation departments overall goals and priorities (Vision Zero, Complete Green Streets, BRT, transportation equity, etc…). Do we really want to “increase parking demand”?
Traffic Engineering Accomplishments
The city has a long list of accomplishments from 2021 and most are focused on improving our transportation infrastructure to support all modes of transportation. It’s a respectable list and shows all the hard work accomplished by the city staff and leadership. I think we are moving in the right direction as a city and the rate of improvement has accelerated since 2019. Lots of work remains, but I’m proud of Madison and happy to call this my home. Thank you!
University Avenue Bike Path Detour Ended
The bike path is completely open [..]. All path closures have been removed. Any detour signs that remain will be removed soon. The detour across University Avenue will be required one more time for the final path restoration. The final restoration will take place this spring after the asphalt plants open up in approximately 2 months. [..] Other work in the area will include replacement of a chain link fence between the RR and the path and landscape restoration.
Eric Hjellen – MMSD Project Engineer
Bike Lanes to be Added Under Troy Drive Railroad Bridge
The new bridge proposed would span the entire right of way, allowing for two vehicle lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road. This is a much-needed improvement to facilitate safe travel for all modes of transportation. Read more…
This is a perfect time of year to catch beautiful sunrises over lake Monona along the cap city path at approximately 7:20am. The crisp cold air and clear blue sky’s have made an impressive display, the image above, just about every day last week. This week I am looking forward to a muted ride through the snow dusted landscape. These are joyful surprises which make winter biking worth all the effort.
Lip Balm Trick
Do you struggle to keep your nose and cheeks warm on cold blustery days when the windchill drops below zero? Scarves and neck gators work for a short while but quickly become frosted up. My recommended solution is to apply a thin layer of chap stick or lip balm to your nose and cheeks to keep them warm. Counterintuitively, the lip balm does not insulate your skin from the cold instead this trick works by creating a wind barrier. The lip balm wind barrier decreases the windchill factor and thus helps keep your face warmer. This is particularly important for cyclist because biking effectively increases the windchill.
Friday Feb. 11th – International Winter Bike Day
Join us in a few week for the International Winter Bike to Work Day! This year Madison Bikes is partnering with local businesses to encourage people to brave the cold by offering discounts to winter cyclists. In addition, we will also have some refreshments and fire pit setup at the John Nolan Dr. bike path counter starting at 3pm. Check the link below for details and to follow the event on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1NSqx5Wah
Today the Madison Bikes board met to discuss our strategic vision and goals for the future. It was our first indoor event in almost two years because of the COVID pandemic. Its exciting get a group of passionate people together to figure out ways to make our hopes and dreams for biking in Madison a reality. There are a few open board seats and we encourage you to join our board if you are passionate about biking and want to learn how to make a bigger impact.
Buffered Bike Lanes Planned for Old Middleton Road
There will be an opportunity to add buffered bike lanes to Old Middleton Road when it is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2022. A public meeting on this project is expected to be scheduled soon.
ALERT: Bike Thefts
A number of bike thefts have been recently reported in the Madison Area, including the theft of a bike from one of our very own board members! Police asked anyone with information to contact police at 608-255-2345, or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014 or P3Tips.com.
Bike to School Week a Success
Marquette and Lapham schools on the near east side held a bike and walk to school week event in October. It was great to see lots of families having fun commuting to school in a healthy, safe and environmentally responsible way. Madison Bikes is planning to create a planning guide to help others organize similar events at schools around the city. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more or plan an event at your school.
Monday, Nov. 1st
Transportation and Planning Board is meeting at 5pm and will receive status updates from the Madison Director of transportation. This includes a presentation on BRT bike accommodations, which was also presented and discussed at Madison Bikes’ last community meeting. Followed by the October Directors Report which includes the following feedback and planned actions to make progress towards Vision Zero (zero traffic fatalities) on East Washington St. These actions are in response to multiple pedestrian and cyclist deaths on East Washington this year.
East Washington – Streetlight data shows that speed reduction has made a difference reducing speeds exceeding 40 mph.
Piloted tubular marker threshold treatment for 4 hours on East Washington Ave and saw a 9mph mean speed reduction. Will pursue several more implementations.
Wednesday, Nov. 3rd
The Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will be meeting virtually at 6:30 to discuss a number of resolutions related to Federal traffic safety targets and future work plans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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