Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: City Meetings and Advocacy Wins

What else is there to say, except that those are some sweet, sweet purple kicks? Photo credit: Harald Kliems

This Week

On Monday at 6:30pm the city will be hosting a Vilas Park Master Plan Public Meeting (virtual, registration is required). This promises to be a real humdinger of an event, so get involved in the process to evolve one of the crown jewels of the Madison park system! Several cycling-related issues are front-and-center including whether or not Vilas Park Dr should go car-free.

On Wednesday the city’s Transportation Commission will be meeting virtually. Check out the agenda, which looks to be stacked with a little something for everyone.

The Bombay Bicycle Club has restarted a limited selection of weekend group rides for current members only, with 12 ft spacing during the rides along with other common-sense restrictions. Check your inbox for your emails from them for the details. Not quite ready for a ride with a group? Remember that BBC has a great collection of area rides with full routes and cue sheets available for your perusal and you can ride these at your leisure (although there’s nothing leisurely about many of those routes!).

Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP) is organizing the CORP 100: a self-supported, fund-raising ride challenge that runs through the end of August. “Choose from routes of 100 km or 100 miles to experience as much Madison-area trail as possible. From urban jump lines & pump tracks, to old school tech-gnar, this ride connects nine different trail networks with a mix of urban bike paths, gravel and scenic driftless roads.” For all the details, check out their event page.

Finally, it’s worth echoing the advice and sentiment on the ongoing protests from this week’s Bike Madison email:

Please expect and respect disruptions to bicycle routes as people gather to exercise their first amendment rights here in Madison. If your route is blocked, please wait respectfully or take a different route to your destination.

Last Week

There was a discussion on the Facebook community about how the iconic Merrimac Ferry was closed to cyclists and pedestrians due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. As Robbie observed, this was problematic as it is part of the public state highway system and there were no similar restrictions on motorcycles or convertibles. The good news is that after a brief email campaign and investigation, the ferry has been reopened to everyone! Nice work!

Cyclist aboard the Merrimac Ferry
Madison Bikes board member Liz Jesse on board the Merrimac Ferry just a few years back. Photo Credit: Ben Sandee

BCycle opened up a new station on the near east side last week. This week also marks the one year anniversary of the Madison BCycle fleet going all-electric! Might be a good time to revisit one of our most popular blog posts ever, detailing first impressions of those bikes. How have those bikes been working for you? 

The Bike Fed posted an in-depth article about how the “Safe Routes Partnership no longer emphasizes enforcement and instead challenges us to improve our forms of engagement.” Definitely worth the read.

Next Week

Put it on your calendar! On Monday, June 29 the city will host #5 in the series of meetings about the Wilson Street Corridor Study (virtual, registration required). According to the page, “Addendum 2” to the interim recommendation is due to be published on Tuesday, June 23 (that’s this week!); many of us will be taking a close look and discussing it in advance of next week’s meeting. One likely spot for that conversation will be our Facebook group. You might also be interested in revisiting some of our previous coverage of the Wilson Street project here and here.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: Vilas Park Plan, Farmer’s Markets and Virtual Everything Else

We’re a third of the way through May already and let’s hope that we’re done with the snow until November. Go ahead and take those studded tires off — you heard it here firstlast! There’s a lot going on this week so we’ll dive right in.

The City of Madison Parks Division has entered Phase II in the plan to make some major improvements to Vilas Park, several of which directly impact cycling through and around the park. There are three separate proposals detailed, but a well-designed survey does a great job of helping you identify which elements from each of the proposals you liked and disliked, so we can presume that the resulting plan may incorporate elements from each of them. In addition to important cycling changes, you can also comment on ice skating, parking, shelter placement and wetland planning. Something for everyone!

Vilas Park Master Plan Concept B Drawing

Vilas Park Master Plan Concept B Drawing. Source: VPMP

Just gotta’ give another shout-out to the Bike Madison team who are delivering comprehensive email updates on cycling in Madison every Friday. With construction season in full-swing, this is an important way to stay on top of things and plan your safe routes. A few highlights from last week’s blast:

  • It’s chip sealing and crack sealing season again and it will affect roads all over the city throughout the summer.
  • Trying to reduce the load on the heavily-used SW Commuter Path? Don’t plan to use Gregory St. as your alternate route because it’s under construction until October.

The Dane County Farmer’s Market is pickup-only for now at an alternative site near the Colosseum (aka The Alliant Energy Center). On both Wednesdays and Saturdays there are dedicated windows for bicycle and pedestrians. Many of the smaller farmer’s markets in town are taking similar precautions, so do your research before you head out to pick up your chard.

This Week

On Monday at 4pm there is a free Health-Oriented Transportation (HOT) webinar titled Reducing Car Use: Project by Project. You can RSVP here.

On Wednesday at 5pm there is a virtual Transportation Commission meeting and you can read the full agenda here. You might take the opportunity to hit the subscribe button on the City of Madison Youtube Channel if that’s your thing, or there are several other ways to participate.

On Thursday at 12pm there is a free Spanish-language Learn to Ride Webinar with Q&A that is “intended for parents, guardians, teachers or other caregivers that are there supporting children learning how to ride a bicycle. Also for adults that would like to learn how to ride a bicycle.” This is happening every Thursday in May, alternating between Spanish and English.

B-Cycle bikes are out and about and maybe you’ve seen an uptick in riding this month due to their Virtual Bike Month Challenges? This week’s prizes will be given for longest individual trip and most total miles for the week. Click through the link to read more about how to use B-Cycles safely today and for the the month-long challenges.

a cyclist on a b-cycle

Contented B-Cyclist Last Weekend. Source: Harald Kliems @ Cyclists of Madison.

Last Week

The Isthmus posted an in-depth article about how our local bike shops are adjusting to our new ways of life.

There was a lively discussion on the Madison Bikes Facebook community about plans to accelerate existing plans to reallocate space on the roadways due to decreased automobile traffic. This will be on the June Transportation Commission agenda, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted an article about how Milwaukee is testing out the Saris Wave dividers with some of their bike lanes. You might have seen these in use at various events around Madison, including last year’s Bratcakes on the Bike Path as part of Bike Week.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Categories
Bike News

Weekly Update: Spring election, and (of course) COVID-19

Since everything is effectively canceled for the foreseeable future, this will be a bit of a short update. Bike shops are able to remain open under the Governor’s Safer At Home order, but they are all operating with precautions in place to protect public health and the health of their employees. Madison Bikes, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Bike Fed, has created a statewide visual map of bike shops dedicated to information about how your local bike shop is operating during these difficult times. The page is constantly updated as new information rolls in.

Speaking of the Bike Fed: They have just launched a new website! Looks pretty slick and has lot of content. Check it out.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin’s Spring Election and Presidential Preference Vote is set to go forward, with curbside voting available at all of Madison’s polling locations. Biking to the curbside voting station is an option. Voters are being encouraged to bring their own blue or black ballpoint pens. The election results are set to be announced April 13 to allow for people who requested absentee ballots by last Friday to fill them out and mail them in. Some voting locations have changed, so please check this map or enter your address here.

In addition, biking has been listed as an appropriate activity, when practiced alone or within a household, and adhering to appropriate social distancing, during this crisis. In order to make sure people stay safe, the city has posted signs by all its paths in an attempt to educate path users on proper distancing during this pandemic. Madison Bikes President Harald Kliems used himself to demonstrate what six feet means on a path, and the post was even retweeted by none other than Gary Fisher, the legendary bike maker!

On our Facebook Group there have been a lot of discussions on how to bike, roll, walk, and run safely and courteously. And the City has put together these guidelines (en español).

Some tips:

  • stay single file
  • consider avoiding the paths and ride in the streets if you’re comfortable doing so (much less car traffic than usual!)
  • ride the paths early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds
  • discover some less popular paths
  • slow down

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: Path Guidelines and Virtual Meetings

COVID-19 multi-use page signage, detailing 6 ft buffers

It’s a unique and uncertain time to be alive on our planet Earth. For many of us, COVID-19 dominates our daily lives and we find ourselves unable to focus on much else. Nonetheless, our collective journey around the Sun continues and that means that in the northern hemisphere, the spring cycling season is rolling northwards. We’ll soon find ourselves enveloped in a warm blanket of sunny days, budding trees, blooming flowers, and (for those of us with seasonal allergies) itchy, watery eyes. We’re ready for it this year, more than ever!

This week, many city meetings have been cancelled. However on Monday the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) meeting is scheduled for 5:00 PM. You can use Zoom to attend the meeting virtually, as described in the agenda. Top billing is probably the COVID-19 transportation update but some BRT goodness will be discussed as well.

One construction item to note is that on Wednesday, Old Sauk Rd between Pleasant View and Pioneer will be closed for the month of April. Separate bicycle and car detours will be posted, but you may have your own preferred route. This is a very popular way to get out of town on bike, but what’s your favorite these days? Let us know on Twitter @MadisonBikes.

One bit of good news we can pass along is that on the east side, improvements are planned to help cyclists navigate the High Crossing Boulevard/Nelson Rd intersection. Thanks to our friends at Sun Prairie Moves for the heads-up!

A commuter bicycle leaning against a statue of Bucky Badger

Here in Wisconsin we’re all players in the Safer at Home game, but thankfully the rules allow for and encourage safe cycling. Here are some guidelines from the city (espanol) with respect to safe usage of our multi-use paths:

Tips for Everyone

  • Do not go out if you or someone in your household feels sick.
  • If you can, choose less frequented paths or go at less popular times.
  • Always keep 6 feet away from people you do not live with including when passing people.
  • If you use earbuds to listen to a portable device, keep the volume low enough to hear what is happening around you.

Tips for Walking /Running

  • When in busy areas, walk single file lines or with just one child when out with household members. .
  • Avoid stopping on the path as it makes it hard for other users to pass safely. If you need to stop, step off in an area as far off the path as possible.
  • When walking with your dog, please keep it under control and away from other users.

Tips for Bicycling/Rolling

  • Ride cautiously and within your ability level.
  • Do not forget to let others know you are passing.
  • Only pass when you can maintain 6 feet of distance from other users.
  • Do not pass in between people walking in opposite directions.
  • No group riding or rolling with people outside your household.
  • When active with household members, keep your group small.

For more about this, including some more pictures of the new signage on the paths, you can check out a facebook post and engage others in a (hopefully) productive discussion.

Many businesses are closed as part of the COVID-19 response, but from the start Wisconsin has identified bicycle shops as essential services. It’s worth noting that other parts of the country weren’t quite so fortunate and had to advocate for that recognition.

Continuing the work from last week, Madison Bikes and the Bike Fed have collaborated on a statewide visual map of bike shops and their status. We will continue to keep this updated as new information rolls in.

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out the city’s Bike Madison page.

Categories
Bike News

Monday Update: Spring Rides and Cleanups

We were able to steer clear of the worst of the snow over the weekend, so the roads should be in pretty good condition. The city had warned about the possibility of needing to bust out the salt trucks again, but it doesn’t seem to have been a major salt event. So you have the go-ahead to keep tuning up and starting to ride your summer bikes! No need to worry about this happening:

Rusty chain on a turquoise frame

Photo credit: J. Michel (aka: Mitch) Carriere, CC BY-NC-ND

This Week

Tuesday

At 6:30 PM the Common Council is meeting in 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room 201 (City-County Building). The full agenda is available. There are two items of note:

  1. The council will vote to accept the permanent easement granted to city for a pedestrian/bike path on the east side near the Highway 30/US 151 interchange. In effect, enables the creation of a small section of trail cutting through from Rethke Ave to Burke Ave, a nice alternative to Commercial and probably formalizing a defacto path anyways.
  2. The council will vote on up to $10,000 in cooperative in development funds for Madison Freewheel Bicycle Company, to be used to improve and expand the co-op. In addition, these funds will be used to help in the planning for their work as the bicycle concessionaire for the Judge Doyle Square project.

From 2pm to 6pm, Moots will be at Machinery Row Bicycles to demo new gravel bikes and more.

Wednesday

It’s your day off from bicycling-related news, nothing of note. Enjoy a chance of AM thunderstorms and afternoon sun? Make your own news!

Thursday

Bombay Bicycle Club has a social ride at 5:30 pm, starting in Cottage Grove at Fireman’s Park (~25 miles). See their ride guide for their entire schedule of rides.

Friday

At 6:30pm, help celebrate the grand opening of Slow Roll Cycles on Monona Drive with free food and music along with a silent auction to benefit Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP) and a presentation from Liv Cycling.

Saturday

All day Saturday, continue the Slow Roll Cycles grand opening with a raffle, free bike tuneups, a no drop ride at 10am and free giveaways for kids.

Too muddy to ride? From 8am to 3pm, there’s a CORP workday at the Quarry Ridge trails in Fitchburg.

Middleton more your style? From 9am to 12pm there’s another CORP workday at the Pleasant View MTB trails.

Sunday

Bombay Bicycle Club has a ride leaving from Middleton’s Lakeview Park at 9am (54 mile) and heading north as far as Gibraltar Rock near the Merrimac Ferry. See their ride guide for their entire schedule of rides and details about the alternate start for the shorter 30 mile loop.

You Might Have Missed It

Madison Bikes has a very active Facebook community so sometimes some discussions slip through the cracks. Here are some interesting ones you might want to check out from this week:

Upcoming

Wheel and Sprocket is looking for a few ride leaders to help out at their first annual Ride of Silence on May 15. This is a nationwide event that honors and remembers cyclists we’ve lost on the road.

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) is looking for volunteers to help at Learn 2 Ride events on Sunday, May 5 and Sunday, May 19. Do you remember where and how you learned 2 ride and who taught you? Sign up to help right here!

And of course, Madison Bike Week will be here in just a few weeks. Mark your calendars for June 1 through June 8!

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.