Madison will soon have its first bus rapid transit (BRT) route, going from Junction Road on the west side to East Towne Mall on the East Side. How does biking fit in with BRT and local buses? Join our meeting for a presentation from Metro and an opportunity to ask questions and provide comment! Possible topics:
How are bikes are accommodated onboard buses?
What kind of bike parking should be provided at stations?
What is important for making safe and comfortable interactions between bikes and buses in bus lanes?
What improvements for biking come as part of the BRT route?
We are seeking applicants for our Board of Directors! Harald covered the gig in detail here; I also tried to list as much as I could remember about the work Madison Bikes has accomplished in just the past few years. Please share the Board application with those who you think might be a good fit. If you are at all in doubt, we would love to talk with you.
The city held a session about John Nolen Drive, which is set for reconstruction in the next few years. Take their survey if you haven’t yet, and please share with others who get around by bike, bus, wheels, and feet. So far, the city has noted that the survey indicates “John Nolen Drive should be an automobile centered corridor” route, although as someone who has witnessed crashes on the narrow trail along the causeway, and has looked wistfully over at the multiple, mostly-empty traffic lanes while the multi-use trail was packed with cyclists, children, workers, couples, and joggers, I would argue that John Nolen could actually be much more than just what it is. This is especially important given the reality that we will very likely see denser development in areas like Bram’s Addition and other surrounding neighborhoods, and we should be doing better to connect those folks to the city safely and easily (including by bike and by transit).
Speaking of surveys, take the second Let’s Talk Streets survey. In direct contrast to the John Nolen discussion, this survey is looking for your approval to move forward with a vision of our streets being first for people and their safety. Really, take the survey!
Whoosh! It’s budget season. You might want to spend time brushing up on the Executive Budget, both capital and operational. Finance Committee hearings kickoff this week. On Monday, October 11, the Finance Committee will hear about Transportation (Public Works will come on Tuesday, October 12). Meetings start at 4:30 pm. I’d recommend checking out the map of the Capital Improvements budget items. Dane County also has a proposed Executive Budget out from County Exec Joe Parisi; I’m actually going to pass you over to Madison Bikes Community Facebook member Craig Weinhold, who summarized the bike-related items in that budget well here. You can read the budget memo here (bike stuff on pages 19-20).
Also on Wednesday at 6:30 pm, the Parks Commission will meet. A few of its items are relevant to the biking community, including options for a new multi-use path through Olbrich Park. You might also be interested in learning more about the PARC and Ride grant from Dane County.
There’s a lot going on with transportation in Madison and Dane County these days, and it’s hard to follow. I wanted to shout out to Madison Bikes’ President Harald Kleims (who also serves on the Transportation Commission) for writing a great Twitter thread about his perspective on the Bus Rapid Transit discussion and stop options. I’m the first one to jump into some jokes on this issue, but if you haven’t been following, I think Harald lays out clearly why no options are perfect (turns out, nothing is!), but why State Street is generally a better routing option.
Want to become more involved in local bicycle advocacy? Consider joining the Madison Bikes board of directors.
Madison Bikes is looking for people who are dedicated, passionate, strong communicators, good compromisers, organized, and able to commit time and energy to promote biking as a priority in the city of Madison. There are no paid staff and everything we do—from fundraising to advocacy to communications to events—is done by our 15-member volunteer board and volunteers.
We are currently accepting applications for at least one seat on our Board of Directors, with elections taking place in December.
Our organization is committed to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic board committed to equity and anti-racism in our work. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, and other groups who are underrepresented in bike advocacy.
The Madison Bikes board is an all-volunteer working board. At a minimum, we expect board members to:
Attend our monthly board meetings (6-8 pm every third Monday of the month, virtual for the foreseeable future), and our community/work meetings (6-7:30 pm on the fourth Monday of the month)
Commit to doing work outside of meetings, for example organizing Madison Bike Week, attending public meetings, or writing for our blog.
Have a passion for our organization’s vision: Making Madison a city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year-round.
Be committed to be on the board for at least one year
Other examples of things our board members do:
Write for our blog
Plan, organize, and promote events like Madison Bike Week, Winter Bike Week, or the Winter Bike Fashion Show (online or in-person events when those return)
Attend city-held meetings (public input meetings, City Council meetings, local and regional transportation committee meetings)
Mobilize the community to advocate for bike projects
Meet and liaise with community partners (neighborhood associations, non-profits, other bike advocacy groups)
Contribute to fundraising and organizational development efforts
As of Friday, the bike roundabout that links the Capitol City, Military Ridge, and Cannonball trails, commonly known as the Velo Underround, has been officially reopened! The roundabout had been closed for several months this summer to improve storm water drainage from the site. According to the MMSD, this project finished two months ahead of schedule.
On Monday, the City’s Transportation Policy is meeting online at 5:00 PM. Much of the agenda will be focused on transit planning. There will be at least two semi-bike related items. The first is a discussion item on the lowering of speed limits on East Washington. The second is about the Draft Vision Zero Action Plan.
On Wednesday, the more region-focused Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization is meeting at 6:30 PM. On the agenda is adopting the five year 2022-2026 Transportation Improvement Program. This is a planning document that goes into detail about projects that should be considered over the next five years in Madison and Dane County. There will also be an update on the Connect Greater Madison Regional Transportation Plan 2050. This is a more forward thinking plan about where we would like to see Dane County’s transportation network by 2050.
Late last week, work finally began on adding the long-discussed buffered bike lane improvements to Whitney Way. These changes extend from Old Middleton Rd to Tokay Blvd, which the city has identified as an important cycling transportation corridor to improve, connecting the Westgate and Odana Rd areas (and points south of that) with the Old Middleton Rd area (and points north and west). The project has undergone several public meetings, neighborhood meetings, council votes, it’s been tied to BRT and then severed from BRT and now here we are — it’s really happening!
Tom Lynch, Director of Transportation for the City of Madison, has often said that “paint is cheap” so you can see where it’s being used liberally attempting to separate bikes from cars.
Work continues Monday morning, as you can see with from these fresh pics.
Not limited to the buffered bike lanes, new pedestrian striping and new green box indicators at the high-traffic intersections will help drivers and cyclists understand how traffic is intended to flow.
Casual observations this morning show a bit of confusion on the part of drivers, probably wondering where their usual right turn lane has gone. It will take some time for all of the work to be completed, and, as we are creatures of habit, it will take even more time for traffic to adjust.
Additional components to the larger project include the removal of parking from Whitney Way and reducing the speed to 25mph north of Mineral Point Rd and 30mph south of there. It’s unclear if that’s happening as part of this particular set of work or a future effort. Eventually, dedicated BRT lanes and stations will be routed through most of this corridor, which will mean even more paint and construction projects too!
On Monday at 6:00pm, check out the monthly Madison Bikes Community Meeting via Zoom. Topics for discussion are still being worked out, but might include some combination of a brief Bike Week debrief and/or this year’s Winter Bike Fashion Show or who knows what else? After a summer of being focused on Bike Week, it will be nice to look forward to new projects and events.
On Monday at 6:30pm, Bike Fitchburg is having their monthly Board meeting at the Fitchburg Public Library. Over the weekend they held their Pick Me Up At the Border fundraiser/ride to the Illinois border, and during bike week they put on a great Bike Rodeo event for the community.
I hope you were able to join in the Madison Bike Week festivities last week, including the end of week party on Friday and Tuesday ride with the Mayor. Its great to see so many people and businesses supporting biking in Madison.
There are many transportation meetings this week, because both the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) and the Transportation Commission (TC) are meeting this week.
Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting virtually at 5pm. The agenda includes a review of the Draft Greater East Towne Area Plan. The presented “street ideas” add generous protected bike boulevards and cycle tracks to East Towne, High Crossing and Zeier Road. I believe the City did a nice job on this and I look forward to seeing this plan move forward. The big topic for this week is the 2022 Capital Budget, which is dominated by the $166M BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project (71% is federally funded). Plus, I am pleased to see the Mayor also included $2M for Safe Streets Madison (combination of Neighborhood Traffic Mgmt., Safe Routes to School, Ped/Bike Enhancement and Vision Zero) and $613k for the city wide 20 is Plenty implementation. This budget proposal clearly shows Mayor Satya’s steadfast support of non-automobile modes of transportation Madison needs to thrive and be an enjoyable place to live.
The Transportation Commission (TC) is meeting at 5pm virtually and you must pre-register if you wish to speak at the meeting. The beginning of the meeting is mainly focused around authorizations for the east-west BRT project. Followed by authorization for the Judge Doyle Square Development Project and an update to parking restrictions on 1080 Walsh Road. The item of most interest to cycles is likely the #10 2022 Public Works Transportation Projects List. The following list is a summary of the bike bike/ped projects planned for next year. The plan also includes numerous road construction, reconstruction, and resurfacing projects.
New Sidewalks 2022 (not sure where)
Safe Streets 2022
Old Middleton Underpass @ Craig Ave
Quiet Zone 2022 @ East Isthmus
Cannonball Path @ Fish Hatchery Rd to Wingra Dr
W Main Bike Blvd 2023 @ Proudfit
W Towne Path Ph 3 2023 @ Commerce to S Junction Road
Just in case you haven’t heard yet — in which case we’ve been doing a terrible communications job — Madison Bike Week 2021 is already underway! While technically it doesn’t start until Sunday, there were a few prologue events on Saturday.
Starting Sunday, there will be commuter stations, movies, bike check-up opportunities, fundraisers, classes, happy hours, social rides, and so much more.
There is simply too much to list individually, but we wanted to highlight a few major events. To see what is happening each day, head on over to the Madison Bike Week 2021 page. The events are neatly color-coded by type of event, and there is even a way to bookmark your favorite events and sync them with your phone or calendar.
Oh, and if you’re subscribed to our newsletter but not actually in Madison: Of course it’s also the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Bike Week all across the state. Find out more here.
There is more infrastructure news, but we are concentrating this week on the Bike Week events. A good place to find out about Madison projects is the city link at the end of this blog post.
Madison Bike Week activities
There are multiple commuter stations, where you can pick up some eats and/or beverages, have your bike checked out, and just generally hang out with other bicyclists. Motorless Motion will have an afternoon commuter station every — for the less morning-oriented among us — while others will be doing the regular morning bike commute station with coffee and such.
Also, discounts are available all week at Pasture and Plenty, BCycle, and Bicycle Benefits. Information on these discounts and all the events can be found on the Madison Bike Week 2021 page.
The Mayor will hold a press conference at 8:30 am in front of the Municipal Building on MLK Blvd downtown, and then go on a short downtown bike ride at 9:00 am. All are welcome to join us.
There are also a ton of other activities on Tuesday, including an open house at the Madison Bike Center to see the beautiful new facilities, a bike maintenance check up and neighborhood ride at the Lussier Center, and a couple of no-drop social rides. Also not to be missed is the morning Cheddar Bacon Waffles commuter stop on the Cap City Trail at Dickinson.
At Lodgic Everyday Kitchen, Forward Madison will hold a fundraiser for Dream Bikes. The event runs from 5:00-7:00 pm, and there is a suggested donation. In addition to food and beverages, there is valet bike parking at the event, a silent auction and raffle, and bike safety checks and a complimentary bike wash. More info and tickets at the link above.
If you or any family or friends need a little refresher on bicycling — maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve been on a bike? — MSCR will hold a series of classes to get folks feeling comfortable on a bike. They are held at several locations around the city, and there is a nominal fee, but you can attend one or all the sessions for the same cost.
In the evening, make sure to head over to Capital Brewery to see “A Bikers Ballad”, hosted by the brewery and Capital Off-Road Pathfinders. This movie is an ode to mountain biking of all sorts. Tickets and more information at the link.
Friday, the big event is the Final Bike Week Party at Brittingham Park from 5:00-8:00 pm. There will be music, beverages for all ages (yes, beer too), food trucks, community groups, a bicycle-based mini library, bike check ups, and general fun and celebration. Family-friendly, and all are welcome.
By the way, we still need volunteers to help us set up, run the event, and clear everything afterward. We are an all-volunteer organization, so we rely on you to get this done. You can sign up and see the shifts here: https://forms.gle/Yj7aczSCTxyftKbk6
We aren’t done yet!
Free Bikes 4 Kidz will be holding a donation drive at multiple locations. If you or a neighbor have an unused or unloved bike in the garage or basement, you can give it to Free Bikes 4 Kidz and help families experience the joys of biking. Kids come in all sizes, so even though we often think of this as collecting “kids’” sizes, older kids can use your bigger bikes. (Free Bikes 4 Kidz also takes financial donations.)
Finally, we want to give a big shoutout to a great organization and event — a chance to try out some adaptive bicycles for kids with special needs. Padres e Hijos en Acción will be holding Bicicletas y Jardinería event at Quann Community Garden, at the corner of Bram St and Koster St, 11:00am-1:00pm.
Phew. That’s a lot of celebrating bicycling. Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters, and to everyone who bikes every day, whether it’s to work, school, errands, meetings, the library, to see friends, or just because you love to go for a spin. This week is a celebration of you, too.
I hope everyone had a restful Labor Day weekend. Our newsletter took the day off as well, and here we are, on a Tuesday. The long weekend also meant that not much is happening in terms of city meetings. But! Madison Bike Week is just around the corner. Technically, Bike Week starts on Sunday, but there will be three “prologue” events on Saturday:
Fitchburg’s Jamestown Neighborhood is hosting a bike rodeo — if you can volunteer, please sign yourself up
The Badgers are having a home game, and as per usual, the Bike Fed provides valet parking right next to the bike path
And finally, Delta Beer Lab and Hop Haus Fitchburg are hosting the second edition of the Madison Brewery Bike Race. “There is no marked course – just get from one brewery to the other and back as fast (or slow) as you can. Race for time or ride for fun.” Pre-registration is required.
One way in which you can help make Bike Week a success is by signing up for a volunteer shift at the Madison Bikes Bike Week Party on Sep 17, from 5-8pm. We need help with setting up/breaking down, handing out drink tickets and pouring drinks, and a few other things. You can sign up here: https://forms.gle/Yj7aczSCTxyftKbk6 Thank you!
Oh, and if you’re subscribed to our newsletter but not actually in Madison: Of course it’s also the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Bike Week all across the state. Find out more here.
This Monday there are two area bike organizations having meetings. First up is the Madison Bikes Community Meeting at 6:00 PM. You can join the meeting by following the directions in the Google Calendar entry.
The next meeting on Monday is the Bike Fitchburg monthly meeting. This meeting starts at 6:30 PM and takes place at the Fitchburg Public Library.
On Wednesday, Madison’s Transportation Commission is meeting at 5 PM. On the agenda is a fairly important item related to Madison’s bike network. Specifically, the TC is considering a new alternate to the previously adopted route through Olbrich Park as part of the Atwood Avenue Project. This path not only helps improve commuting from the near east side to Monona, but it is also a critical piece of Madison’s extremely popular Lake Loop recreational route.
The public is encouraged to give feedback on this proposed change, so I encourage you to look through this and provide feedback on the changes proposed. The next public meeting after Wednesday’s TC meeting will be the Sept. 22 Board of Park Commissioners.
Option 1, shown above, was the routing in the documents approved by the Common Council on July 24, 2018. This option was arrived at after nearly a year of public input. However, this option did see opposition from some people who did not want the future multi-use path to use the existing multi-use path in the park.
Some time after the passage of the Atwood Avenue plan, Option 2 was shown as part of the 30% design plans. This option took the proposed path off of the existing path, but also created a conflict point at the bottom of the very popular Olbrich Park sledding hill. For that reason, this option fails to meet the city’s goals of providing safe, equitable, year-round bicycle access. This is why we’re now seeing Option 3.
Option 3 routes the Option 2 path around a significant curve to the southwest to move the path’s route away from the runout on the sledding hill while maintaining still keeping the new path off the existing path along the lake shore.
Bike Week is now three weeks away. Be sure to check out Madison Bike’s Bike Week page to learn about what exciting events are in store! Last Friday, Madison Bikes Board Member Robbie Webber had an interview on WORT’s Friday 8 O’Clock Buzz about Bike Week. You can listen to it here.
It wouldn’t be August in Wisconsin without some severe weather interspersed among our beautiful late summer, sun-filled days. As discussed in our Facebook Group, sometimes it makes sense to bring your bow saw or even a battery-powered chainsaw (don’t forget your chaps!) on a ride if you can. Use sound judgement and keep it slow going through the debris fields; if you’re unlucky, even a small twig can take out a rear derailleur!
On Monday at 5pm, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board is meeting virtually. Nothing particularly earth-shattering going on, but some Odana Area Plan updates and a few transit updates might be worth checking out.
Also on Monday at 6pm sharp @ Orton Park, maybe you want to check out the Monday 40 “party pace” ride? This week they’re heading towards Kegonsa State Park and it looks like a lot of fun! This group has really taken off and there’s room for riders of all ability levels. Sounds like as the days get shorter, so too will the distances, so this might be last the last forty-miler of the season. In a couple of weeks, they’re hosting an 18-mile Lake Waubesa ride for Bike Week, so keep an eye out for that.
Events are starting to roll in for Madison Bike Week 2021, happening September 12-18! We’ll be having our end-of-week party on the 18th and we’re looking for a few volunteers for that. If you’re interested in being on that list, send us an email. And of course, if you’d like to host an event, you’ve still got a couple of weeks to register and get yourself on the schedule.
Finally, if you work in Dane County, teleworked at any time during the pandemic, and have 8-10 minutes to donate to the cause, Greater Madison MPO, Sustain Dane, and Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change are partnering to conduct a survey: Greater Madison Telework Survey 2021.