Madison Bike Week is from June 1 through June 8, 2024!
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Weekly Update

Spring in February

Event poster for "Know your rights: biking and the law." Monday, Feb 25, 6pm, Madison Public Library, Room 104. 201 W Mifflin St

I hope everyone has been able to get out and enjoy the (weirdly) warm weather recently. Although the riding has been very pleasant, it’s a bit unnerving that we have weather this warm in February.

The week ahead is somewhat slow, but we have a great community meeting coming up Monday (today, if you are receiving this by email.) In the fall, we invited our members and friends to brainstorm about what they would like to see as event, talks, rides, activities, and information in the future. This Monday’s topic came out of that meeting. See below for more details.

Monday

Our Community Meeting at 6:00 pm at the Central Library will be on the topic of “Know Your Rights: Biking and the Law” with Clayton Griessmeyer, Bicycle Injury Lawyer. If you have questions about what to do if you have a crash, or important aspects about biking on paths or roads, this will be an event you don’t want to miss. 

Also Monday, Fitchburg Bikes will meet at the Fitchburg Senior Center, 5510 Lacy Rd at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday

Transportation Commission will meet virtually at 5:00 pm. On the agenda are a number of projects scheduled for both this year and planned for in the future. (See items on 5, 6, and 9 on the agenda. Under item 9, items marked TAP are pedestrian/bicycle improvements.)

Also on the agenda is an item about safety, crowding, and speed concerns on the paths. There is a good presentation from city staff that lays out the issues with both crowding and any conflicts. We’ve had a discussion about this recently on our Facebook Community, and it comes up every couple of years, including in a recent letter to the media. Basically, we rely on everyone to be polite and aware of other path users, but that’s often a big ask.

Ongoing opportunities to comment:

The UW has a new master plan for the Lakeshore Natural Area. There was quite a bit of publicity about a new visitors center to be built near the entrance to Picnic Point. This would involve some changes to both University Bay Dr and the parallel Lakeshore Path, but mostly just relocating them closer to the marsh.

Much of the master plan involves landscaping, prairie and woodland restoration, and changes to some pedestrian paths within the area near Picnic Point, but the Lakeshore Natural Area also includes the Lakeshore Path all the way down to the Limnology Building near Memorial Union. There isn’t much information in the current master plan about the path in this area, but we have the chance to weigh in on future needs for this critical connector.

The intrepid may be able to navigate the path in all conditions, but winter makes the path quite treacherous, with rutted ice, repeated freezing and thawing, and most of the path completely dark during our short days. Thaws in the spring just mean huge puddles — with ice still present underneath — mud, sand, more ruts, and all users trying to navigate the dry areas, so moving side to side on the path to find dry ground.

If you would like to see changes to the path in the future (lighting, surface, width, improved maintenance, stabilizing areas near the path, etc.) you can comment by contacting the UW via the contact information here.

Dane County is accepting comments until March 15 about a proposed bridge across the Wisconsin River near Sauk City and a trail to Walking Iron County Park near Mazomanie. Information – including slides and a recording from a January public meeting – and a link to comment can be found 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.

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Weekly Update

Welcome to winter biking

Now that we’ve had our first real snowfall — with more to come — I hope that everyone has figured out or remembered how to bike in the winter.

The city Bike Madison page (as opposed to this Madison Bikes page…. confusing…) had a nice set of suggestions about biking in winter. It’s really great to have supportive partners at the city, even if we sometimes want them to do more or go faster. We also had a nice call out from the City Traffic and Parking Facebook account that linked back to Harald’s end-of-year roundup. And they even suggested that people subscribe or follow us to keep up to date.

By the way, subscribing to the city Bike Madison page helps you stay up to date about construction, detours, and other official information. That’s why we try to put a link at the bottom  of our update each week. 

Unfortunately, we also saw two examples of “bike lash” in the paper this past week. First was an article in the Cap Times about the loss of urban trees, but also took aim at both the new wider sidewalk along Mineral Point Rd and the proposed multiuse path through the Sauk Creek Greenway. Then later in the week, a letter to the editor claimed that bicyclists don’t pay for the new infrastructure we are seeing. (This is untrue in multiple ways, but it’s a common misconception.)

This week

Things are still pretty quiet this week, with no big public meetings and not a lot of rides scheduled. Madison Bikes has been planning some exciting topics for our community meetings in the coming months, but those will be featured in future updates. There are a few items of interest coming up this week.

Wednesday

At 5:30 pm, Board of Public Works will be discussing two projects of interest to bicyclists, although there doesn’t seem to be much controversy around the projects, so no need to testify. (Unless you want to.) Agenda and Zoom link here.

The reconstruction of E Wilson St and E Doty St will add a two-way cycle track to E Wilson and new buffered bike lanes to E Doty St. This will complete the two-way bike facility on Wilson that Madison Bikes pushed for as one of its first projects. 

The final piece of the Lake Mendota Dr project will be also before the board, but the plans were already approved last year. This stretch from Spring Harbor Dr to Epworth Ct will add sidewalks, some bumpouts, space for a rain garden, and a traffic circle.

The monthly Queer Bike Ride meets the second Wednesday of the month at 6:00 pm. You can follow on Instagram for more details. All bodies are welcome.

Thursday

Freecycle will hold another Zoom meeting about what may be in their future. It looks like they’ll be doing this monthly after they started the conversation before the holidays. If you would like to join the conversation at 6:00 pm, you can get more information and sign up 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.

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Weekly Update

What a week!

It was quite a week for events involving Madison Bikes. I hope everyone had a chance to attend one or more of them.

Week in review

First up was our Car-Free Holiday Fantasy in Lights on Tuesday (check out the link for a great video from the evening.) The weather couldn’t have been better, and we ended up with about 900 people walking, biking, running, and strolling through. It seems that people spread the word via bike groups and clubs, neighbors, print and TV media, word of mouth, as well as our Facebook group and event. There were tons of families with little kids, a few dogs, friends chatting, bike and running groups going through together, and lots of smiles and laughter. 

After our two-hour car-free time slot, we headed over to the Sheraton on John Nolen Dr for socializing, special drinks, and even VIP indoor bike parking. Thanks to everyone who helped out, and to Wonderstate Coffee for hot beverages in Olin Park and the Sheraton for rolling out the red carpet and providing hot chocolate.

Wednesday evening was Be Bright with the UW Police Dept. and the City of Madison on W. Dayton St near Union South. At this event, the UWPD stops bicyclists without lights, but instead of a $150 ticket, they are escorted over to tables where volunteers provide them with a free set of lights and attach the lights to their bikes. Thanks to our volunteers for stepping up at the last minute the day after our big Olin Park event.

Tour of Atwood facilities. I also had an opportunity on Wednesday to join a tour with city staff to the new Atwood path. We learned about some of the innovative path, intersection, and signal treatments that the city has installed. I wish I had recorded the explanations each time we stopped, because there was just too much to remember. But Atwood should be much easier to cross — at least north of Walter Street — as there is only one lane southbound, the intersections are much narrower than before, encouraging slower speeds. Several intersections have green paint to draw drivers’ attention to where pedestrians and bicyclists are likely to be crossing. 

Thanks for for inviting me to ride along. It’s great that about a dozen city staff all traveled by bike to learn about how Madison is making this corridor safer and more intuitive for bicyclists.

Thursday I spoke at the World Day of Remembrance press conference at the top of State St. Shoes were painted white and hung up next to the Veterans Museum to honor the 68 people who died in traffic crashes in Madison over the last five years. You can watch the entire press conference online.

Unfortunately, if we have one more fatality in 2023, this will be the deadliest year in the last 15. Traffic fatalities have been up across the country since the COVID shut down. Fewer people may be driving to work, but with emptier streets, speeds are up, which has led to more dangerous roads. Over 46,000 people died as a result of traffic violence last year! In most years, between 30,000 and 40,000 people die on our streets due to motor vehicle crashes. As I’ve said before, any other consumer product with that kind of safety record would be pulled from the market in a week.

City budget. Among all the events last week, the city also passed a budget in one evening, which is highly unusual. Alder Isadore Knox introduced a last minute amendment to cut funding for the important Autumn Ridge Path project that will allow pedestrians and bicyclists to travel from Milwaukee St to Commercial Ave and provide a bridge over Hwy 30 east of Stoughton Rd. Presently, making that journey requires negotiating two roundabouts on Thompson Dr at Hwy 30 that tend to be very high-speed and unfriendly to all not driving. Fortunately, the motion failed. Thanks to those who wrote to support this project that has already received federal funding.

The week ahead

The week ahead will be fairly quiet because of a short week for Thanksgiving. 

Monday

The Board of Public Works will be discussing the Mineral Point Rd project. Although the Transportation Commission recommended that an 8-10 foot path be built the entire length of the project, the BPW could recommend something else before it goes to Council. It would be great if a few people drop them a note or testify via Zoom about why we need at least an adequate path along Mineral Point Rd. This is already a compromise over what was promised when BRT and changes to Mineral Point Rd was first discussed. The option that was proposed before the Transportation Commission meeting would have narrowed the sidewalk/path to only five feet in sections.

Reminders and announcements

Monday, Nov 27

Bikes and N/S BRT. This is just a save-the-date reminder that we will be hosting a focus group on the north-south BRT line and bicyclists’ needs for the corridor. More information and a registration link can be found here.

Cooperative Carshare Survey

A local group is trying to reduce car dependency in Madison by expanding access to carshare. Their goal is to help others make the leap to being car-free or car-light households, paving the way for the city to become an even more biking- and pedestrian-friendly place to live. They are interested in knowing how people might use car-sharing and what you do/don’t like about this option. You can take their survey and let them know a few things about your driving habits and needs for carshare.

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

Slow week, great weather. Go ride your bike!

Welcome to summer part 2!

Wow. The weather has been really spectacular for fall riding. I hope everyone is enjoying the opportunity to get out , whether for a ride, whether it’s commuting, doing errands, longer rides after work and weekends, or just bopping around seeing friends on the street. Soon we’ll be talking about tips for dealing with snow, ice, and cold, so let’s enjoy these last days.

Two rides this last week were blessed with perfect conditions. We had a good-sized group for the second social ride in partnership with Madison Is For People, starting at Machinery Row and ending at Garver Feed Mill after a ¾ loop of Lake Monona.

Then on Sunday, around 700 people joined the Ride For Your Life on a slow roll through the near west side and ending at the Capitol to honor Sarah Langenkamp – killed in Bethesda, MD, two years ago, and whose sister lives in Madison – and Tom Heninger – musician and teacher who was killed crossing John Nolen Drive. The ride also honors and remembers all the other people who have died from traffic violence. We ride to bring attention to the need for safer conditions for those walking, biking, and rolling on our street. Thanks to Bike Fed, Trek, and the City of Madison for helping make the ride happen. 

Rally and speakers at the Capitol after Ride for Your Life

The week ahead

The upcoming week is pretty quiet as far as city meetings. Budget season is upon us at the city, but there aren’t any budget meetings this week.

However, we got some good news recently when it was announced that money to design an underpass of John Nolen Drive was added to the budget by Alder Mike Verveer. This is a big win, and we can thank the people that both pushed for the city to look at this possibility and then testified about how much it was needed. This underpass is an example of the power of your voice.

The design of John Nolen Drive from North Shore Drive to Broom Street – the area where this underpass will be located – will be coming before the Transportation Commission on October 11. We’ll have more on that meeting in next week’s Monday Update.

Wednesday, the October Ride for Joe will be leaving the Fitchburg Senior Center at 10 am. These rides are geared to seniors, but anyone is welcome. The rides are in honor of Joe Imilkowski, long-time Fitchburg resident and avid bicyclist and senior center patron. Each month there is a little bike education along with the ride. This month the topic is Wisconsin Bike Laws.

Sunday, the biweekly Ride for Trans Rights will leave the Law Park boat launch at 9:00 am. 

In the news

On Thursday, two local TV stations ran stories about bike theft in Madison, and then the Wisconsin State Journal ran an article on Friday morning. We’ve seen a huge uptick in theft, as anyone who has followed our Facebook community discussion has seen. If you want to check out the news stories, as well as tips for keeping your bike safe, here are the links:

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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Newsletter Weekly Update

School and UW back

There are no big meetings this week, but there are some interesting events happening. Classes start at the UW on Tuesday, so the streets, sidewalks, and paths should be back to their busy state. 

One member of our Facebook community was surprised by the massive crowds of Badger fans around Camp Randall as she returned from a ride on Saturday. Those of us who have been here awhile know not to attempt to use the SW Path before and after games, but it’s kind of a shock for newcomers!

And kids are back at K-12 classes as well, so we will probably see younger kids riding to and from school with their parents, and older kids riding in groups and going to after-school activities. Be patient if you see these less-experienced bicyclists sharing your route. Slow down and give them a little extra space. We had requests from kids during Bike Week to please slow down near the schools, yes even on your bike. 

Monday 

You can enjoy dance on several area bike paths via the Shifting Gears Festival that will take place in Brittingham Park, McPike Park, Wirth Court Park, and the Timekeeper Sculpture at the Monona Terrace from noon-6:00 pm. 

Tuesday 

The Council will consider an experimental closure of the 400-600 blocks of State Street to motorized traffic. Presumably, this won’t impact bicycling in the area, except that there will probably be more pedestrians in the street. You can read the discussion of the Downtown Coordinating Committee for more details. 

Wednesday

The city Street Use Staff Commission will meet at 10 am. One topic is Park(ing) Day, which takes place on September 15. The UW student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has requested that they be allocated two stalls on Langdon St next to Memorial Union to turn them into a parklet. Park(ing) Day used to be a big deal here in Madison, but now it seems that everyone has forgotten about it. Maybe because we are indeed reallocating parking spaces for other uses, such as outdoor seating for restaurants in commercial districts, bike parking corrals, and bike lanes.

Also Wednesday, the Parks Commission will meet at 6 pm, and on the agenda is authorization to apply for a grant from Dane County to build a recreational biking project in County Grove Path. It’s unclear to me what this would be, but it looks like there are mountain bike trails planned for the park. (See pages 9 and 17 of the document for the meeting.) 

Wisconsin Bike Fed is holding a training from 12:30-4:30 pm at Oak Park Manor for those who would like to help with the Cycling Without Age program. Although their website says that you need to register by Sept 3, maybe they will still accept registrations if you call. 

The monthly Ride for Joe will meet at the Fitchburg Senior Center at 10 am. These are ride-and-learn events that cover basic bicycling topics and then go for a leisurely ride. They are geared to seniors, but anyone can join.  

These rides are in memory of Joe Imilkowski, long-time Fitchburg resident and avid bicyclist and senior center patron. These rides are geared for seniors, but all are welcome. At the request of those riding in previous months, two longer distances will be offered, about 12 and about 20 miles, principally on multi-use paths. Helmets are required. Rides will start with the topic of the month, short safety briefing, and ABC Quick Checks of bikes. The topic for September will be cool weather riding. On line registration and liability waiver are required, but can be done at ride time.

Sunday

The Bi-weekly Ride for Trans Rights will meet at Law Park at 9 am. 

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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Newsletter Weekly Update

Get out and ride

People gather before the Madison Bikes and Madison is for People social ride on Friday, August 25, 2023
Photo by Beth Skogen

In case you missed it last week…

Social Ride with Madison is for People

After a stretch of weather that made any physical activity — or even being outside — extremely uncomfortable, if not dangerous, the weather cooled just in time for our social ride in partnership with Madison is for People. It was a great ride, with more than 50 people joining us, far more than we expected. After meeting at Law Park by Machinery Row, we rode counterclockwise around the lake and ended at the East Side Club for socializing and beverages. 

Madison is for People has geared up in the last year to push for more housing and better, denser land use in the city. This makes walking, biking, and transit use easier as well, and gives more people an opportunity to live where car-free or car-lite living is practical. There is a lot of overlap in our messages, and it was great for the two groups to learn a bit more about what the other was doing.

In addition to learning about each other and enjoying a relaxed ride, this event made clear that there is a real desire for rides that make everyone feel welcome, rides where we take it slow and just enjoy the company.

What else should we do at community metings?

We’ve been looking for ideas on what we should do at our monthly community meetings, and these rides are one idea. What else would you like to see at the community meetings, especially when the weather is less accommodating to being outside? Talks and information? Movies? Social opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to see, or maybe if you have an idea that you’d like to present. You can email us at info@madisonbikes.org

The week ahead

There aren’t any city meetings that directly affect bicycling, but if you are ever interesting in seeing what committees are doing, you can access the weekly city meeting schedule and then click through to agendas on the city’s website. For instance, you might want to know what the Plan Commission or the Sustainable Madison Committee is up to this week. 

There are a couple of bike-related events this week. We won’t be holding our usual community meeting, because we just had the social ride. 

Monday, Bike Fitchburg will be meeting on at 7 pm at Oasis Café, 2690 Research Park Dr E, Fitchburg. 

Friday, the Bi-weekly Ride for Trans Rights will meet at 6:00 pm at Law Park. More information can be found at their Facebook event.

Watch out for your bike

There has been an uptick in stolen bikes posted on our Facebook Community page. Maybe this is due to all the new people in town and thieves taking advantage of people not locking their bikes, or maybe all the moving in and out has allowed unauthorized people into buildings and garages. Either way, be especially careful to lock your bike if you are in a new apartment or aren’t sure about the security of a location. And remember that you can register your bike or report a stolen bike at the BikeIndex, a national database. 

And watch out on the streets too

With all the new people in town, as well as dorm move-in Aug 30 and Sept 1, there are a lot of people that aren’t used to seeing bicyclists everywhere. And people may be lost, frustrated, tired, or generally unaware of how things roll (and walk) in Madison. Bike crashes go up significantly every year in late-August and early-September, so take it easy, and have some patience with all the new folks.

Join our board!

If you would like to help with our mission, consider joining the Madison Bikes board of directors. We are an all-volunteer organization, so the board both shapes policy and the activities we undertake as well as often doing the day-to-day work. We are always looking for people to join the board, as people step down, move, or need to change their time allocation. Everyone has a talent and skills we can use, but most important is probably enthusiasm to move bicycling and policy forward in Madison. Fill out the application by September 29. Terms start in January.

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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Newsletter Weekly Update

Speak up about future plans

Row upon row of full bike racks at dusk at Fete de Marquette. Woman in a green shirt and black pants arrives on a blue bike.
Photo credit: Christo Alexander

One of our board members attended Fete de Marquette, and sent the photo above with the comment, “I haven’t seen this many bikes since Amsterdam!” That’s what we like to hear. 

What happened in the last week?

On Tuesday, the Madison Council approved the geometry of the reconstruction of John Nolen Dr from Lakeside to North Shore Dr. Although it is not in this portion of the project, the Council added a requirement that City Engineering study an underpass of John Nolen between North Shore Dr and Broom. Thanks to all who wrote in and/or testified to show support for this infrastructure. We need to continue to ask for what we want and show that bicycle and pedestrian connections across busy roads are important for the health and future of our community.

Although it is NOT open yet, the overpass of University Bay Dr is getting very close. I actually saw someone biking over the bridge on Sunday. Please wait until it is officially open, especially during the week when work is going on. The city reports that the Campus Dr Path should reopen the morning of July 19, and the overpass will probably be open by the end of the month. (All deadlines are estimates.)

If you would like more information about city construction, detours, etc., the city puts out a bike-specific update each Friday. That will have more information and/or construction news we’ve missed. On the city’s Bike Madison page (not Madison Bikes – very confusing), just look for the link to Bike Madison Updates from the city.

The week ahead

There aren’t any committee meetings this week that directly affect bicycling or transportation in the city. However, there are some planning/transportation meetings and events that might be of interest.

Tuesday

But if you live, work, play, shop, or travel through the west side – from Midvale Blvd to the west Beltline and Lake Mendota to the south Beltline – you may want to attend and comment on the city’s West Side Plan.  The plan will cover land use, transportation, parks and open space, and other elements of the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the next ten years. Two virtual meetings are available: July 18 at 6:30 pm and July 26 at noon. Then there will be an in-person meeting on August 2 in Rennebohm Park from 5:30-7:30 pm — including food as part of the Carts in the Park. You can find out more about the meetings and register on the city’s website. There is also a survey at that link, in case you want to give your thoughts that way.

Also Tuesday, the Lake Monona Waterfront Ad Hoc Committee will meet. This isn’t specifically about the path or any infrastructure, but if you want to see what they are discussing, you can head over to the in-person meeting at 6:00 pm at the new Parks office at 330 E Lakeside – right off the Lake Monona Path. They will be planning a public meeting on the revised plan scheduled for July 24.

Thursday 

July 20, WisDOT is holding its first public involvement meeting for the US 51 (Stoughton Road) South Study on July 20, 5:00-6:30 pm at St Dennis Church on Dempsey Rd. This is an open house, so you can drop in at any time to hear about the study’s purpose and need, existing issues and tour exhibits. If you want to be able to travel easily and safely along and across Stoughton Rd, this will be an important meeting. More information can be found here

Friday

Biweekly Ride to Support Trans Rights. Friday ride leaves at 6 pm from the Walter St entrance to Olbrich Park. The two-hour ride is a casual social loop of Lake Monona. All are welcome. 

Madison Bikes supports trans rights

If you don’t follow our Facebook Community Group, you may have missed some unfortunate nasty business this last week. Someone, or a group of people, have been posting anti-trans stickers and graffiti on area paths, and when a member tried to organize rides to support trans rights, several people ganged up to report the posts, and Facebook automatically removed them. (Automatic deletion of posts by Facebook is a side effect of tightening up security to keep spam and bots out of the group.) 

The posts have been restored, some changes in the deletion policy implemented, and the rides now appear on our weekly calendar. The rides will be held every other Sunday at 9 am and every other Friday at 6 pm. 

The Madison Bikes board issued a statement in support of trans rights:

We, the Board of Madison Bikes, have witnessed an escalating campaign of anti-trans graffiti in our city, including on our paths. Trans cyclists are valued members of our community, we affirm the right of trans people to bike in Madison (and everywhere), and we stand in solidarity with trans people asserting the right to enjoy biking.

The mission of Madison Bikes is to create a place where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably year round.

To be comfortable, one must first be free from harm. The disgusting stickers and graffiti harassing the trans community stand in direct contrast to our mission statement, and are an attempt to create an environment of fear and distrust within our community. We will not tolerate bigotry in this or any other form.

We, the Board of Madison Bikes, will work to ensure that our social media platforms, our events, and our paths and roads are safe and welcoming spaces for everybody, including trans people.

To the trans members of our community, you are welcome and you are wanted the way you are. We pledge to work with and beside you to achieve a better, more inclusive bike culture in Madison.

With respect and love,

The Board of Madison Bikes

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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Newsletter Weekly Update

WisDOT plans and survey

Orange child's bike at bike rack

What’s happened in the last week?

The photo above was taken Saturday evening at Memorial Union. I love that kids are riding their own bikes with their parents to destinations, not just on recreational rides. When I see families biking to events, or a child’s bike locked up to a rack, I know the city is on the right track.

Construction

Detours continue in the campus area. Besides the continuing detour on the Campus Dr Path, the Alicia Ashman Overpass of Campus Drive is closed for repairs until August 1. Although this project appears on a map of construction projects on campus, I couldn’t find any mention of it on the city’s website, despite the fact that the city is doing the work. 

A closure of Shorewood Blvd at University Ave started on Friday, July 7 and will last until Tuesday morning. You won’t be able to cross University Ave or make a turn from/to Shorewood Blvd, but this does not affect the Locust bike route or access to the path east of Shorewood Blvd. So if you are just riding parallel to University Ave there is no impact.

A few days ago, a fallen tree cause a blockage of the Cannonball Path near Post Rd, but it was cleared by 9 am the same day as it was reported – within 3 hours. Pretty good response. 

Tourism

According to the Wisconsin State Journal and the Cap Times, Destination Madison (formerly the Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau) has launched Madison By Bike, a website to encourage bicycle tourism. It features four rides: Cap City Trail, Cannonball, SW Path and Lakeshore Path. Visitors can download a pass that suggests stops along the way and shows businesses with discounts. It also gives you a discount on BCycle, in case you need a bike.

The week ahead

Wednesday

Transportation Commission will get a first look at opportunities for the city to improve connections across and along Hwy 151 and Interstate 90/94/39 where they meet. WisDOT is planning work in this area starting in 2027, and the city might as well get the best connections that it can. WisDOT likely will want to widen the interstate, so let’s get what we want out of this work.

There are 5 alternatives, all of which have pluses and minuses. But one of the primary stated city goals is to provide a connection to the American Center without needing to cross any freeway interchanges. This would make walking and biking in the area much easier, but also provide drivers a way to make the short trip to all the services in that development without using the freeway portion of Hwy 151.

Another goal is to slow traffic coming off of both the interstate and 151 northeast of E Washington Ave. Because people are coming off freeways, it’s hard to get them to slow down to safe urban speeds, and this part of E Washington has proven especially deadly over the years for pedestrians and bicyclists, with speed being a contributing factor in many of the fatalities. 

This is just the beginning of the discussion about this project, but if you have strong feelings about one of the alternatives, please feel free to comment. 

The TC will also be discussing several topics about the Transit Network Resign and an update on the Complete and Green Streets work. Full agenda and how to watch or comment can be found here

Also on Wednesday is the monthly Queer Bike Ride. The ride is “party pace,” and all bodies welcome. It leaves from Law Park by Machinery Row at 6:00 pm. More information on Instagram.

Saturday 

Move ‘N Grove 4BGC will be held at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, 7 am – 2 pm to support Boys and Girls Club and the new McKenzie Regional Workforce Center. This all-day, family-friendly event will also feature the grand opening of the center. There are bike routes of various lengths and shuttles to be sure everyone gets to tour the new skilled trades and entrepreneurship center. 

Before July 14

Wisconsin DOT is updating their Active Transportation Plan, and they want your opinion. Please take their survey and submit comments. Your voice is important, because WisDOT needs to hear that walking, biking, and other active transportation is important to you and the state in general. Remember when taking the survey that major roads in Madison are also state highways. Examples include South Park St, John Nolen Dr, South Blair St, and East Washington – all Hwy 151. Stoughton Rd is Hwy 51; University Ave west of the Beltline is Hwy 14; etc.

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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Newsletter Weekly Update

Are we having fun at Bike Week?

Craig Jackson from Budget Bikes provides bike repairs at Crazy Legs Plaza

We’ve been having a blast at the Bike Week events so far, and there is so much more to come.

On Saturday, West side alders and constituents had a chance to look at both new infrastructure and locations where things were not so great for biking. There was also a gathering to test out cargo bikes. And of course, the Trek Pride Ride in partnership with the Flamingos game. 

Cargo bike demonstration and testing

Sunday, a few of us went on a signal and detection tour to see all the nerdy things the city is doing to make it easier and safer to get across the street on bike routes. Thanks, Jerry Schippa!

Jerry Schippa demonstrates where a near-side bike signal would be installed

The week ahead

Before we get into all the upcoming events for Bike Week, there is one city meeting of interest to bicyclists. Wednesday, the Transportation Commission meets and has an agenda item labeled, “Approving roadway geometry for the reconstruction of John Nolen Drive from North Shore Drive to Lakeside Street.”  It is unclear as of this writing whether this is the final approval of the North Shore Dr intersection. TC meets online. If you want to comment or watch the meeting, instructions are at the link above.

On to Bike Week!

And there are so many more events to check out. We know you’ll find something fun every day.

Madison Bikes board members love to meet people in person and chat about what’s on your mind, so please say hello at the events.

In case you haven’t peeked at the schedule – have we not reminded you enough? – you can take a look here.

Just a few of the events coming up:

Monday there are two morning commuter stations, two happy hour events, and a class to teach adults how to ride.

Tuesday features a ton of commuter stations in both the morning and the afternoon all across the city, a free sample of natural deodorant at the Cheddar Bacon Waffles event, and a chance to try out the bike racks on buses (and maybe pick up a pass for a couple of free bus rides.) There is also a social ride leaving from Olbrich Park.

Wednesday is the mayoral press conference on the Monona Terrace plaza at Wilson St, plus a chance to join a ride to the event. There is also a social ride geared toward seniors in Fitchburg and a class at Centro Hispano to help people feel more comfortable biking around town. And of course, lots of places to get yummy treats.

Thursday has too many to list. Classes, social rides in the morning and evening, commuter stations, a chance to try mountain biking, and places to get your bike repaired. Oh, and a new beer launch to celebrate Bike Week.

Friday, of course, will have a big party in Brittingham Park – all ages welcome. There are also more commuter stations and bike repair locations. And Marquette Middle School students will have a coffee stop and discussion of path etiquette – something that has been a hot topic on our Community Page recently. 

Saturday we finish the week with a class on bike touring, bikepacking, and how to travel by bike. And one final social ride, this one leaving from the Pinney Library and especially geared to families. 

Whew. That’s a lot. See you out there!

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
Newsletter Weekly Update

New Council is a chance to make an impression

Say hello to your alder

Now that alders have taken office, we should feel free to introduce ourselves and offer to be a resource on issues on which you feel strongly, say bicycling and/or transportation in general, land use, road safety, environmental issues, the need to physical activity, etc. 

This is especially true if you have a new alder or there are specific issues in your neighborhood. As the weather gets nicer, maybe offer to go for a bike ride through the district and look at locations that are either very good or very bad for biking. 

Alders can’t be experts on everything, and you can provide that knowledge. Plus, it’s a great way to feel out whether your alder will be an ally on issues you care about and if we can count on their support. 

You can find out who your (new) alder is and how to contact them on the Council page. If you have any questions about how to talk to your alder or point out problem areas, please let the Madison Bikes board know. We can help you make that contact and speak knowledgeably.  

Construction, oh what a mess

As we’ve mentioned on our Facebook Community discussion and in last week’s update, the path that runs along University Ave is going to be closed for several months. Officially, there is a detour starting at Shorewood Blvd, if you are headed east, that sends you through Shorewood Hills and to the north of all the hospitals before linking up with the path again at Highland. That’s a long detour, so consider your origin and destination and see if you can find a better route. South of University is one option.

East Washington BRT construction has that street messed up as well, down to either one or two lanes, depending on the block, direction of travel, and time of day. And while E Wash isn’t used by a ton of bicyclists, the construction has pushed drivers onto other streets and also made a mess of some cross streets.

Ah, construction season in Wisconsin.

The week ahead

Monday:

Bike Fitchburg monthly meeting, 7:00-8:30 pm at Wheel & Sprocket, 2970 Cahill Main #101

In April we will meet at the Fitchburg location of Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business Wheel & Sprocket. We are grateful to general manager Julien Mathie for hosting us!
 
In 2023 we will meet in-person each month at one of Fitchburg’s Bicycle Friendly Businesses. As arrangements are finalized we will update these invitations. Meetings will be from 7 to 8:30pm on the fourth Monday of each month except December.

Wednesday

Transportation Commission will consider the list of projects submitted for consideration as part of the Safe Streets Madison policy. Agenda and link to watch here.

You can take a look at the list and also notice how they are scored. Projects of this sort previously seemed to be picked based on which neighborhood group or the number of interested people showed up and pleaded for a project. Obviously, this favored well-organized neighborhoods and people with the time and access to show up at city meetings. 

The system has now been changed to try to be more equitable and strategic, and to try to address locations that will have the biggest impact for the most people that really need it.

Points are assigned based on whether a project is in an area or location that: 

  • Is part of the High Injury Network
  • Has a gap in the bike network
  • Has a gap in the pedestrian network

The proposed solution then gets points based on impact on:

  • Safety
  • Addressing gaps in the bike network
  • Addressing gaps in the pedestrian network
  • Environmental justice or social vulnerability inequities

After scoring the location and the possible impacts of the proposed solution, the combined score is then divided by the cost of the project to come up with recommendations for projects for the new year. 

Looking for a job?

A few interesting jobs have been posted that might be of interest to Madison Bikes members. 

Communications Coordinator for the League of American Bicyclists. Based in DC, but a possibility of working remotely. 

Madison Transportation Demand Management Coordinator Help make sure that new developments meet the new TDM requirements to incentivize not driving and reduce single occupancy vehicle travel. This is a great opportunity to shape travel and help those building in the city to build less parking, have fewer car trips among residents and employees, and improve multimodal travel. 

Reminder: Bike Week events registration is now open

Just a reminder that you can register an event for Bike Week — June 3-10 — on the Bike Week page. There’s a short form to fill out, and we’ll get it up on the calendar and promote it. Classes, group rides, commuter stations, discounts, music, poetry, art exhibits, and anything else you can think about is welcome.

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.