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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


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 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.

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

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 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.

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.


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.


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


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 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.

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.


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. 


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


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.


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 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.

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 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.

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


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.


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 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.

Newsletter 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 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 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.

Newsletter 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 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.

Newsletter 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 

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 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.

Newsletter 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


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.


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


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 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.