Categories
Weekly Update

BRT, TC, TPPB, oh my

Winter isn’t quite done with us yet. [sigh] The coming week is very slow for activities. But a few things happened in the past week that may be of interest. And a meeting Tuesday will provide information on construction of the BRT, which might mess up a few bike routes during construction. More on that below.

What happened last week?

The Transportation Commission and the Transportation Planning and Policy Board voted to merge, and the Council confirmed that decision. Because many issues have been presented at both bodies, and members of the public were confused about the duties of each body, it made sense to merge them. This will mean a heavier workload for the consolidated commission, but will probably streamline decisions in the long run. 

The change will probably not take effect until May, after the new alders take office and are appointed mayor – whoever she may be – appoints alders. Some citizen positions are up for renewal, and obviously, not everyone will continue on the new commission, so we’ll see what the new body will look like.

The TPPB voted to eliminate some old ordinances that were unclear and outdated. One prohibited riding a bicycle across a footbridge, but didn’t indicate which bridges this might cover. So maybe we’ve all been riding illegally across the Jenifer Street bridge across the Yahara? Who knows, but we don’t have to worry about that now.

The TPPB also voted to eliminate the ordinance prohibiting “trick riding” on a bicycle. Again, what activities were prohibited was never defined. Wheelies? BMX tricks? 

Coming up – construction and planning

A reminder that Walnut St is closed between University Ave the Campus Dr and RR bridge. You can still access Walnut northbound from the Campus Dr Path, but cannot go under Campus Dr. The railroad is fixing the RR bridge, and no traffic of any kind – bikes, cars, pedestrians – are allowed until the work is done. The intended finish date is March 19, but that is subject to change.

Finally, looking forward a couple of months, the Madison Bikes board and volunteers are planning for Bike Week, happening June 3-10. If you would like to help us plan or execute the event, please email liz@madisonbikes.org. And if you are involved with a business, club, group, community organization, or non-profit that might want to put on an event during the week – a ride, commuter station, class, bike wash, discount, speaker, or swag giveaway (or anything else you can imagine), you’ll want to contact Liz as well. 

We’ll be sending out reminders about events for the week, but it’s always a good idea to start thinking and planning well in advance. 

Public meeting Tuesday on BRT construction and connected detours. 

Metro Transit will hold a public information meeting on Tuesday, March 14 at 6:00 pm to talk about construction updates. Please register in advance. 
There will be construction and closures of various durations from now through the summer as infrastructure for the BRT is built. Coming up right away, starting Monday, March 13, Sheboygan Avenue will be fully closed to traffic just east of Eau Claire Avenue. The city’s website says the closure will continue until mid-July. Sidewalk access will be maintained.

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

How do you bike in the snow?

Lone winter bicyclist on the SW Path Credit: Harald Kliems

How are you handling the snow?

In the last couple of days we all got to test our dedication to winter biking, and specifically biking in the snow. While some were thrilled to see how their skills on fat bikes, studded tires, or even the “skinny tires cut through the snow” theory played with the snow, others opted for jumping on the bus or walking through the white stuff. 

Whichever strategy you chose – and there is no right answer – be careful out there. With the temperatures dropping and plowing only partially down to bare pavement, it is both slippery and a mixed bag of surfaces. Even some of the main roads were snow-covered on Sunday afternoon (when I was forced to drive across town to a location with no bus service and no good bike route option.) Remember that salt doesn’t really work below about 15 degrees, so the streets are going to remain dicey for a few days.

Weigh in on the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge
One vision for a new Monona waterfront. Credit: James Corner Field Operations

This past Thursday the three finalist teams for the Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge presented their ideas for what the lakefront could become from Machinery Row to Olin Park. All three designs featured improved and expanded bicycling paths and separation of pedestrians from through bicyclists. Traffic calming and/or reducing the size of John Nolen Drive was also a prominent theme. 

I would say that all the designs were ambitious, and whether the designs will be implemented, or which portions we will see in the future, is still very much up in the air. Our Facebook Community had a lot to say about the designs. But remember that commenting on the official project website is the only way that your opinions will be recorded. 

If you missed the presentations, you can view the recordings and check out the slides on the city website linked above. That’s also where you submit comments, questions, and concerns. 

The week ahead

It’s a pretty sleepy week for city meetings, but one that stands out as important is a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan 31, to discuss the reconstruction of Dempsey Rd and Davies St between Cottage Grove Rd and Buckeye. As this is part of the Lake Monona Loop, the city plans to make it more friendly to all ages and abilities.

 “After previous public meetings and receiving significant public input, City Staff recommends a proposed design that includes a 26-ft wide street (two, 11-ft lanes with 2-ft gutters), a 10-ft wide shared-use path on the westerly-side of the road, and a 5-ft sidewalk on the easterly-side. The shared-use path will continue the path on the northerly-side of Cottage Grove and provide an all ages & abilities bike route along the popular Lake (Monona) Loop Route.”

More information on the project and a link to register for the Zoom meeting can be found here.

Mark your calendars or submit comments

Winter Bike Day

Winter Bike Day is February 10. We will have more details soon, but expect to see AM coffee stops and happy hour gatherings after work. 

Name the snow plows

You still have time to name the snow plows used on Madison streets, including the little guy that plows the paths we all love. 

West Area Plan

The city is starting to hold meetings on the West Area plan that will determine land use, transportation, parks and open space, and basically how the area will look and operate in the future. This covers from Midvale in the east and Lake Mendota in the north to the Beltline on the west and south. There will be in-person meetings on Feb. 6, 9, and 13 to start the discussion. All three meetings will have the same content, and they will also be virtual options on the same dates. Registration for the virtual meetings and details of the times and locations for in-person at the above link.

West Area planning boundaries

What would you like to see for this area? Where are there missing links? What should change or stay the same? You can also submit comments at the link above. 

Sycamore Park

If mountain biking is your thing, you may be interested in this posting from the Capital Off-Road Pathfinders regarding plans for Sycamore Park

“As many of you know, CORP helped install temporary trails at Madison’s Sycamore Park last fall.  Parks is now working on a new master plan for Sycamore Park; if you believe permanent trails should be a part of the park, please make a point to attend one of the upcoming virtual public meetings [on Feb 27 and March 30.]”

Details on how to attend the meetings can be found at the link above.

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

We’re getting a white Christmas!

New wayfinding sign of SW Path

If you are a fan of biking in the snow, or you want to see if the city really does clear the paths promptly, the last few days have been for you. Watch out for slippery spots, because even when streets are plowed, things can get dicey. (One of our Madison Bikes friends found that out the hard way, and now she’s off her bike for a few months.) Salt won’t work below 15 degrees F, so the next few days may be a challenge. Studded tires will definitely help. Or just take the bus and/or be very cautious.

Harald Kliems posted that the new wayfinding signs are showing up. (See above) The signs give direction and distance to common destinations. Those of us who are local may already know how far the Capitol or Kohl Center is from Camp Randall, but for new residents and visitors, it’s going to really be nice. Right now there are only three up on the SW Path, but eventually there will be signs from Brittingham Boats out to the Velo Underround in Fitchburg.

I’m sort of assuming that other paths will also be getting signs at some point.

Bike Fitchburg posted that the Cap City Trail has a new signal and crossing at McCoy Rd and Hwy MM. Unfortunately, it looks like drivers are paying no attention at all to the “No Turn on Red” sign. The accompanying video shows they aren’t even stopping.

The week ahead

Needless to say, there aren’t many meetings this week, although there is one of interest.

The Transportation Planning and Policy Board meets on Monday at 5:00 pm. If you missed the discussion of the Complete and Green Streets at the Transportation Commission last week, you can watch the TBBP talk about it. This new policy manual will govern how streets are built or reconstructed, including how the public right of way is allocated to different modes and uses. Besides moving people via cars, transit, bikes, and foot, the public right of way is used for parking, sidewalk cafes, benches and other street furniture/amenities, street trees, and deliveries/pickups/loading. It’s a pretty interesting document, so scroll through the final document

Upcoming event reminders

Don’t forget that the car-free Holiday Fantasy in Lights is coming up Jan 2 in Olin Park. There will be a family-friendly happy hour at the Sheraton from 3;00-5:00 pm, but you can go through anytime after dark until 8:00. 

We could use some help both promoting it and on the day of the event.

In advance of the event, please share it with your social networks, friends, and neighborhood lists. We’d love to show that there are a lot of people that want to experience the lights outside a car. The more the merrier, whether by foot, bike, skateboard, or skis, the lights will be open for one evening only with no cars. You don’t have to wait for us, just take your time and enjoy it with friends or family.

On the day of the event, we need volunteers to staff the entrance, just to remind drivers that it’s car-free on that evening. We also need people before and after the event for putting out and taking down signs. We’d like to get two people for each ½ hour shift from 3:30 – 9:00 pm, just in case the weather is cold and folks need a break.  If you can help, please email your availability to Liz@MadisonBikes.org 

Thanks and happy holidays!

And whatever holiday(s) you celebrate, may it be happy, fun, and joyous. And we hope you get all the bike stuff you wanted from Santa. Madison Bikes wouldn’t be able to do what we do without your support!

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

Your vote can help or hinder good transportation

Bicyclist receives a rear light as part of the Be Bright event. Photo: Chris Collins

In case you missed it

On Halloween Madison Bikes board members Harald Kliems, Robbie Webber, and Caitlin Hussey joined city Pedestrian and Bicycle Outreach Coordinator Colleen Hayes and representatives from other bicycle groups on the WORT Access Hour to talk about biking and walking in the winter. We talked about how to get started – if cold-weather biking is new to you. If you’d like to listen to the program, you can find it in the WORT archives (Monday, Oct 31 at 7:00 pm.)

One topic that came up on the Access Hour was the Round Trip program administered by the Madison Area MPO. Round Trip provides an emergency ride home via taxi vouchers. This allows people to choose to bike, take transit, carpool, or use the state van pool and not be worried how they will get home if a kid gets sick, there is a family emergency, or any of the other things that might make a quick trip home necessary.

If you would like more information, or you know someone that won’t try another commuting mode because of the “what ifs,” here’s where you can get more information. There are other aspects of the Round Trip program, like ride matching and a bike buddy program (coming soon.)

The city and the UW Police Department conducted a Be Bright event on Thursday. This involves officers stopping bicyclists that don’t have lights, but instead of giving them a ticket, volunteers attach a free front and/or rear light to their bikes. Getting stopped by the cops: sad. Getting a free set of lights: glad. 

The week ahead

Monday

If you are interested in what is going on with the design challenge for the Lake Monona Waterfront, there are a number of events to talk a out the progress. One is happening at 6:00 pm  (refreshments and music begin at 5:30 p.m.) at the Monona Terrace Lecture Hall. This is an in-person event, but you can also view a livestream here.

Tuesday 

In case you missed it, there is a big election on Tuesday. Please make sure to vote, if you haven’t already. The people on the ballot will be making important decisions about transportation funding and the types of transportation that are prioritized at the state and national level. Those things are not likely to be featured in the ads you see on TV or that pop up on your social media, but they are important to anyone who moves around by bike – or wants to make that easier for others.

If you have any questions about where to vote, what/who is on the ballot, where to vote, or how to register and vote on Election Day, you can find all the answers on myvote.wi.gov

Wednesday

The other big item on the weekly calendar is the public hearing on the transit network redesign. The public hearing will happen Wednesday at 6:00 pm virtually. Follow this link to register to speak, and find all the information about the transit network redesign here.

The city has been soliciting public input for several years as they decide how to change the transit network and also start the bus rapid transit system. It’s going to look very different than it does now, with different routes and frequencies. This is your chance to have your say about what you like and don’t like about the new system. Changes can still be make based on public input. 

Bicyclists may not think much about the transit system, but having convenient, easy-to-access transit can often make it easier to choose biking. New bike commuters often worry about weather, getting a flat tire, or some other reason that might mean biking home would be difficult or unpleasant. Having a back-up plan like a good transit system can make it easier to bike. 

Another reason that transit is important to bicyclists is that every choice that is not driving alone supports all the other modes. We have bike racks on buses to make your overall commute shorter or faster, and to provide that back-up to get home. But being able to bike to a bus or BRT stop that has frequent service also makes it easier to choose to take transit.

Also Wednesday, the monthly Queer Ride will leave Law Park at Blair St at 6:00 pm. Party pace. All bodies welcome. Follow on Instagram for details

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

Community meeting – meet us and maybe run for board

Monday

Probably most important this week is the Madison Bikes monthly Community Meeting, Monday from 6:00-7:00 pm at Brittingham Park shelter. (In case of bad weather, we will move to Union South, so we’d appreciate an RSVP to keep you up to date.) This meeting will give you a chance to meet the current board and decide if you want to run for our board of directors. As an all-volunteer organization, the board does most of the work, although we love our super volunteers that help us out!

You can be one of those people that both runs the organization and helps decide what work we take on. Not sure if you want to be on the board? Want to know more about us and what being on the board means? Not sure if you’d be an asset to us? (Yes, we want you!) Come by to chat. 

Also on Monday Bike Fitchburg has their monthly meeting from 7:00 – 8:30 pm at the Fitchburg Public Library, 5530 Lacy Rd. 

Wednesday

Transportation Commission meets at 5:00 pm online. One item that might be of interest is the list of roadway projects that will be discussed in 2023. The biggest one is the rebuilding of John Nolen Drive from North Shore Dr to Olin Ave. This project won’t be built until 2026, but it will come before the TC next year.

Other projects are smaller, but it’s interesting to see what is coming up.

What are we discussing on the Facebook Community?

  • An article by Wisconsin Watch explains why it’s so hard to make some large roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians in cities: They are also state highways, and WisDOT prioritizes motor vehicle traffic flow over pedestrian and bicyclist safety and comfort. 
  • A hit and run crash involving a bicyclist at the Seminole Hwy entrance to the Arboretum. Why is there no sidewalk or bike path connecting the Arb Dr to Manitou Way? There is a clear desire line worn by pedestrians and bicyclists avoiding busy traffic on Seminole Hwy. 
  • Bicyclists are being refused service at “drive-throughs” despite Madison ordinance requiring businesses to serve bicyclists via exterior service windows. 

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

Peak summer means great biking… and construction

What we’re talking about this week

McFarland BCycle station

The new BCycle station in McFarland’s McDonald Park has gone live. This is right at the other end of the Lower Yahara River Bridge from Lake Farms Park, so it will provide an important connector for those who want to commute into Madison or just borrow a BCycle to enjoy a ride on the bridge and around the parks on either end. 

Stewart Tunnel
Letter from Department of Natural Resources (Image: Friends of the Badger State Trail)

Some great news came out about the currently-closed Stewart Tunnel on the Badger State Trail. The DNR has chosen an alternative for fixing the tunnel based on considerable public input and analysis of cost alternatives. While we don’t have a date for when you can avoid the hilly detour caused by the closure of the tunnel, funding will be requested in the next DNR budget. 

City wayfinding survey

And a reminder to take the city survey about which style of wayfind sign you prefer on the multiuse paths. On our Facebook Community, many people have questioned why these signs are needed or if the information will be useful. Don’t pedestrians and bicyclists already know how far things are and how long it takes?

Not necessarily. 

We get a lot of out of town visitors, new residents, and people just trying out the paths for the first time. Cues as to where you are don’t always exist on the paths, especially parts of the SW Path, Cap City, or Cannonball Trail that have fewer cross streets or are in less developed areas. If you didn’t know how close Monroe St was — with all the amenities it offers — you’d never guess riding on the SW Path. And studies have shown that giving people a time reference to nearby destinations encourages walking and biking. They may see the sign and think, “Oh, it’s only ten minutes to walk there? It would take me that long to find a parking space!”

The week ahead

Monday

The Transportation Planning and Policy Board meets at 5:00 pm online. They will be discussing the Complete and Green Streets plan for the city. This plan will eventually create a modal hierarchy that will change the transportation planning assumptions for the city to prioritize walking, then transit, then bicycling, and finally driving. Parking is even below driving in use of the public right of way. Needless to say this is very different from the conventional way transportation decision making has been in most U.S. cities. The plan will also create street typologies to recognize that a neighborhood residential street will function differently than a street where offices and big box stores are the dominant land use.

The TPPB will also be discussing the Transportation Demand Management plan for the city, which will require new developments to offset their predicted traffic generation with actions and amenities that incentivize not driving (providing transit passes, bike share stations or memberships, improved connections for walking, paying for parking separately from rent, etc.)

The TPPB will not be making a final decision on these, but the discussions should be interesting.

Construction updates

The intersection of North Shore Drive and John Nolen Drive will be closed later this month so that the railroad tracks can be replaced. Bicycle access through the area will be maintained either by the path (with possible delays or brief closures) or via a lane on the road. The work doesn’t start until Aug 26, but it might be a good plan to start thinking of alternative routes. 

Also, towards the end of this month a more significant closure will happen. As part of the ongoing University Ave reconstruction, the Campus Dr Path will be entirely closed for about a month from Marshall Ct to Highland. This includes the crossing of University Bay Dr as well as the portion of the path that runs next to the VA Hospital parking lot. There will be no way to get through on the path, so plan your detour now. There will be a marked detour starting at Shorewood Blvd (if you are headed east), but depending on your destination, you may want to choose a different route. 

We’ll keep you updated when the closure will actually happen.

In order to keep up with construction, subscribe to the city’s Bike Madison updates.

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

Everybody’s out riding

Black Saddle Bike Shop bike camping trip to Blue Mounds rolls out from Madison
Photo credit: Chris Collins, Isthmus Portrait

That must be why the calendar is so empty: everyone is out enjoying summer.

The past week, in case you missed it

There were a few interesting news stories that the Madison Bikes community might find interesting. 

Saris is being sold by its owners. This is a big deal for the Madison cycling community because Chris Fortune, who owns the company with his wife, has been a big supporter of improving the bicycling environment. Chris has donated to many groups, pushed for many improvements in infrastructure and policy, and funded education programs for kids. He’s also been a driving force to build bike parks for kids. 

It’s also great to have manufacturing jobs that can be reached by bike. I hope all the jobs –  design, marketing, sales, and manufacturing – stay at the current location. We’d hate to lose such a great company. 

WORT ran a long piece about the crashes that have happened over the years on Williamson St – not just people hitting other people or vehicles, but crashes into buildings. Willy is an important corridor for bicycling, walking, and retail, but the amount and speed of traffic on the street, especially when parking disappears on one side of the street during peak hour, makes it both difficult to negotiate on foot and bike and also tough to cross.

There have been efforts to make Willy St more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly, usually by doing away with the rush hour parking restrictions that turn the road into three through lanes, but each time local advocates and neighbors have tried to improve the situation, the city has pushed back, saying they need the traffic capacity.

The week ahead

It’s going to be a fairly slow week in city meetings. There aren’t any meetings that we need to pay attention to, but if you want to see what’s going on in other matters, you can always find the full list of city meetings for the week on the city website.

There are a few things that came in from people in our network. 

Info needed on bike crash on Rimrock Rd

A post on the Madison Bikes Community page mentioned that there bike crash on Rimrock Road south of the Alliant Center entrance. The Town of Madison Police are seeking anyone who may have either witnessed what happened or has other information. The post and photo of the contact info are below. The officer handling this is Todd C Dart.

Today (7/2), around 8-8:15, a team member of ours was in a bike/car accident along Rimrock Road on the “stick” (by the coliseum, before you cross over the beltline). Thankfully, other than some broken bones, she’s going to be ok
but she may still need to call on professionals at Leppard Law.

We think some folks may have seen it happen, and some cyclists may have stopped but left before giving a statement to a responding officer (he said he saw some take off as he pulled up).

It would be helpful to report anything you saw to help verify the events. This is the card the officer gave me.

Contact Officer Todd C Dart if you have information

Bridge out on the Badger Trail north of Monroe

Also in the news, a truck hit the Round Grove Rd bridge on the Badger State Trail north of Monroe, so that bridge is closed. It’s probably going to be awhile before it gets fixed, and the detour around the bridge is rather hilly. So be forewarned. 

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

Are you ready for Bike Week?

Have you seen the Bike Week signs around town?

Hopefully, you are aware that Bike Week starts next week. Are you excited? We are. 

Help us spread the word!

You can help us out by making sure that your friends and neighbors know about Bike Week as well. Just send a quick message to your neighborhood list, NextDoor, or post on your personal social media account.

Many of our friends and neighbors would love to know about the great events we have, but they aren’t on our list or don’t follow our social media. Or maybe they haven’t been biking in awhile, but just need a nudge to pump up the tires or dust off the bike in the back of the garage. You can even offer to go for a ride with them or attend a nearby event to help them get back on their bikes. More bicyclists = more fun!

Take action to protect those outside of vehicles as well as those driving

For years, vehicle safety regulations have emphasized protections for those driving and riding in cars and light trucks (SUVs, pick ups, etc.) Air bags, seat belts, crumple zones, and autonomous features like lane departure warnings make sure drivers and passengers are safe.

But what about those walking and biking? As vehicles have gotten bigger and heavier, they have become more dangerous for those outside the vehicle. (I wrote an article about this at my previous job. The evidence is frightening.) 

Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is finally considering the safety of those outside the vehicle. America Walks is asking for our help providing input. We can all stand up for the safety of non-motorized users of the public rights of way. 

The week ahead

Aside from getting psyched for Bike Week and taking action on safety for non-motorized users of the public space, there is one important meeting happening this week.

Tuesday

If you ride the bus – or care about how our bus system operates and who it serves – plan to attend the Transit Network Redesign Public Hearing at the virtual 6 pm meeting. You can also watch the meeting without participating. This is the last input session before the Transportation Planning and Policy Board – the lead committee – votes on the redesign on June 6. You can speak at the meeting or submit comments in advance. All the details are at the link above. 

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

Olbrich/Atwood Path – One More Committee

This past week

In case you missed it, there was a great article in the Isthmus about Dane County’s plan for paths to connect existing paths and some important destinations. It will be great to fill some of those gaps and have a real network all the way across the county – which actually would mean connections across the state. But although it’s great to see the map of planned connections, the article makes clear that some of these paths are years away, maybe even a decade. 

Coming up this week

Tuesday

At Noon, the Madison Area MPO will be holding the final public input session on the Connect Greater Madison: Regional Transportation Plan 2050. Learn more about the planning work to date and provide your comments on the draft plan goals, recommendations, and performance measures. The meeting will be recorded and available on their YouTube channel

Wednesday

Atwood/Oblich Path at Parks

The Board of Park Commissioners will be considering the path through Olbrich Park/along Atwood. Since this path is going through the park, this meeting is really critical if we want the best option to serve all ages and abilities. Comments at past committees and/or participating in the survey that went out were great, but we need one last push at this meeting. 

There is a well-organized neighborhood group that is pushing for keeping the bike route next to Atwood — essentially a wide sidewalk — and then using Oakridge and Welch to connect to the Lakeland. It will be very important for those who want a more-direct and less-steep option to contact the Board, or even better, to show up to testify. 

Although the Transportation Commission voted to recommend option #1 as the best for transportation – with option #3 as the second alternative – the Parks Board will be considering a different set of criteria, and they have the final say as to what to recommend to the City Council. The Board of Park Commissioners will be more likely to look at the best option for park users over the best option for those moving through or next to the park.

All the documents related to this matter as well as the comments that have already been submitted are at the link above. Here is the link to participate in the virtual meeting, watch the board meeting online, or send comments. 

Need an update on what the options are? The weekly update from March 21 has a good rundown. 

Transportation Commission

Also on Wednesday, the TC will be considering the reconstruction of the western portion of Lake Mendota Dr – from Baker Ave to the Madison city limits. This has been controversial in the immediate neighborhood because the city plan recommends adding sidewalks to one side of the street to improve safety and comfort for pedestrians. The street is already a low-stress biking street, but pedestrians need to walk in the road, including in winter. This includes kids walking to Spring Harbor Middle School. 

Save the dates for Bike Week June 5-11

And a reminder to save the date. Madison Bike Week will be June 5-11 this year. We are currently soliciting financial sponsorships, but we will soon be reaching out to groups, businesses, and individuals that want to plan events (commuter stations, discounts, classes, gatherings, rides, or other activities.) So mark it on your calendar and start to think what you or your group/business would like to do to celebrate. 

Freewheel is hiring!

From our friends at Freewheel, we received this announcement. If you are looking for a job, read on.

Freewheel seeks an eBay Sales Associate. We receive a lot of donations of high-end parts that do not sell quickly at the Madison Bicycle Center, but people online are interested in them – and the money we get from sales keeps our classes free for everyone. Our current staff doesn’t have the time in their workday to manage and develop our tiny little eBay store – but maybe you do? We’ve received a generous donation that’s earmarked for a limited-term, part-time position that would identify, photograph, list, pack, and ship the high-end, small donated parts we receive at our facility. Although this is a limited-term position, we hope it will pay for itself – in which case, this position will last much longer than the one month we currently estimate. You can read the full job posting here: https://www.facebook.com/jobs/job-opening/3039568626306232/ Or, if Facebook isn’t your thing, you can send your resume and cover letter by email to lang@freewheelbikes.org.

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

Slow season for biking

Winter cyclist in Crazylegs Plaza

With the chilly temperatures and no big city meetings this week, it’s a little slow for the Monday update. So most of this is a recap or the past week and some posts from our Facebook discussions.

The past week in review:

Several projects came before the Transportation Commission last week. We received a briefing on the results of surveys and meetings with community groups about a future reconstruction of John Nolen Dr from Olin Ave to North Shore Dr (the city portion of that road.) There was strong support for improvements to the path, with near unanimous support for more space for non-motorized traffic and separation of pedestrians and bicyclists. Improved crossings, a slower speed limit, and more green space were also widely supported.

We also heard about plans for reconstruction of Lake Mendota Dr within the city and Hammersly Rd both east and west of Whitney Way. And on a bright note, there was strong support for improved walking and bicycling infrastructure, even if that means loss of parking or adding curb and gutter where there are none now. 

As a long-time watcher of and participant in city meetings, this is a real change from past years, when any discussion of losing parking on a residential street would rile neighbors, even in areas where houses have ample driveway parking. In past years adding curb and gutter also seemed controversial because residents claimed it would, “change the character of the neighborhood.” In truth, many worry about the assessments that come with adding sidewalks and the responsibility of shoveling them in the winter. 

However, the project on Hammersley Rd will feature an 8-10 foot wide multi-use path on the north side of the road, but no sidewalk on the south side. The multi-use path was warmly supported by residents who said they needed a place to walk and bike, especially with children. The fact that the city will pay to construct and maintain the path surely helped ease concerns about cost and maintenance. 

The week ahead

There aren’t any city meetings affecting bicycle interests this week, so no need to prepare comments for anything. And we have nothing on the Madison Bikes calendar for the week as well. But this might be a good time to remind people that any events you’d like to see on the calendar can be sent to Info@MadisonBikes.org with the subject like “Madison Bikes Calendar.” 

What we’re talking about

A few items from other groups and what we are talking about on our Madison Bikes Community Facebook group:

Bicycle mechanics are sick of seeing bikes come in that are made to fail and cannot be repaired. We’ve all seen sad “bicycle shaped objects” that look like transportation, fun, or recreation, but are just cheap junk that will break a child’s (or novice adult’s) heart and steal their money. Vice and Bicycle Retailer, as well as other outlets ran stories. 

Wisconsin Bike Fed sends a reminder that you can be included in their annual Ride Guide if you get your submission in by February 7. Rides, fundraisers, club events, races, classes, and other events are listed for free. Advocacy groups, businesses, clubs, and other organizations can also request a listing.

On Facebook community members engaged in a debate about, “What’s up with the flashing red light that means it’s “safe” for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross Highland on the Campus Dr Path?” (And is it actually safe to cross when that light is flashing?)

And a national economic media site suggests Baraboo for a letter writer who asks, “Can you suggest some walkable small towns (3,000-10,000 population) that are county seats and/or college towns, politically liberal, and have easy access to rivers and bike trails?” 

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.