Bike Week is a wrap, but more work to do!

Bike Week is a wrap!

Wow. We can’t even begin to recap everything that happened. We got some great press coverage. The weather was fantastic last all week, and there were events all over Madison – and beyond – put on by many, many partners and venues. Even after the week started, people were sending us additional events, and we ended up with over 75 events on the calendar. You can see photos of all the fun on our Instagram account.

We wrapped up with a rockin’ party at Brittingham Park with music by DJ Robin Davies, tables from bike groups and nonprofits, food carts, Klarbrunn donated by Willy St Co-op, and beer donated by Hop Garden, Ale Asylum, Working Draft, Karben4, and Funk Factory.  

From Ride the Drive through all the commuter stations, Bacon on the Bike Path, Bratcakes, Cheddar-Bacon Waffles, and so many more, we would like to once again thank our sponsors: Trek/Bicycle, Unity Point Health/Meriter/UW Health, Pacific Cycle/Schwinn, Planet Bike, Slow Roll/Giant, MG&E, and the City of Madison. We also couldn't have done it without our volunteers and all the people who showed up. Whether you tried biking just once last week or it's a regular habit for you, thank you all!

The week ahead

We’re sort of glad to have a slow week coming up after all the fun and activity of Bike Week. But there are still important meetings happening that will shape our city and bike routes for years to come. Both the West Wilson/Broom project and the University Ave reconstruction are incredibly critical links in our bicycle network. Your input is important.

Wednesday

The Transportation Commission will meet at 5:00 pm in room 215 of the Madison Municipal Bldg. On the agenda is final approval of the W Wilson St–Broom Street project that we have written about in the past. On Wilson St, there will be buffered bike lanes from Broom to Hamilton, but buffered lanes will disappear at Hamilton to accommodate turning traffic. On Broom a multi-use path will be built in place of the east side sidewalk from John Nolen Dr to Wilson, and a cycle track will be built from Wilson to Doty.

Thursday

Public input session for the planned University Ave reconstruction in 2021 will be held at the UW Credit Union building at 3500 University Ave. The meeting will start at 6:00 pm, and there will be a presentation by City of Madison Engineering at 6:30 pm. The project will rebuild the road from Shorewood Blvd to University Bay Dr/Farley. This will be a project that could transform a major arterial for decades. Or it could be a business-as-usual rebuild of a dangerous and car-oriented roadway that separates neighborhoods and makes it unpleasant to walk, bike, or take the bus.

As part of this project, sidewalks will be constructed on the north side of University Ave and either an underpass or overpass of University Bay Dr will be built for the Campus Dr Path, we hope. Shorewood Hills will be constructing the last segment of the path – to the west of University Bay Dr – as soon as construction of the buildings currently underway on Marshall Ct are finished. With the improved crossing, this would allow connections to either path or quiet streets all the way to the west end of the Blackhawk Path at Eau Claire Ave.

Crossings of University Ave are difficult and often scary, even when there is a traffic light. A child was killed at the intersection of University Ave and Ridge a couple of years ago. He was trying to cross at a light to reach the Shorewood Hills pool, a favorite summer destination for families and kids on both sides of the road. A ghost bike was present at the intersection until construction started on a new building on the corner.

Although the road itself is wide, busy, and fast, the neighborhoods on both the north and south sides are generally transit-, walking-, and biking-friendly and many people move around without driving. But University Ave presents a serious barrier to this easy movement.

What I call “the hospitals, etc.” --  UW Hospital, the VA Hospital, and the American Family Hospital, plus all the associated clinics and labs, and offices – as well as the beginning of the entire UW campus are also on the north side of the road. These are huge employment centers, and many people who live on the south side or in the Village want to walk or bike there. There are crowds of transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists that want to cross University Ave every day. Unfortunately, there are also huge crowds of people driving to these locations as well, making for tense and difficult interactions at the intersections.

On both the Madison side and the Village side, redevelopment is happening. That means both more walkable and bikeable destinations – stores, apartments, restaurants, and such – plus more people living in close proximity to this major road. University Ave is one of the heaviest transit corridors outside the campus and downtown, and more than a dozen bus routes use the stops. If bus rapid transit (BRT) is built, this will be an even heavier transit corridor. Each of those transit users needs to cross the road at least once a day. This road needs to be much more multi-modal.

This corridor is the perfect example of why we cannot forget the need to CROSS a road as well as move along it. There is a good bike corridor on the north side and the Kendall Ave bike boulevard to the south (although it is several blocks away and separated from University Ave by Quarry Park on the western end of the project), but people still need to cross the road to reach their homes, work, or other destinations. If you wait for a bus on the south side of University, you will often see bicyclists on the sidewalk. Riding on the sidewalk by adults is almost always a sign that there is an unmet need for bike facilities.

This will be an important meeting to show support for bicycle facilities and other transportation options in the area.

Saturday

The Clean Lakes Alliance will hold a fundraising ride around Lake Monona starting at 10 am at Olbrich Park. Find out more about Loop The Lake.

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