madisonforall produced an excellent video detailing and commenting on the city’s four proposed design alternatives for John Nolen Drive @ North Shore Dr. This one of the busiest bike/ped/car intersections in the city and there are several components of its current design that can make it rather treacherous for bicyclists and pedestrians. Spoiler: Several of the proposed alternatives are just as bad and there’s important work to be done!
Bicycle Benefits organizers are looking for ambassadors who would be willing to “ride around the area to see if they have signage up, BB stickers stocked and employees [that are] in the know.” If this sounds like your jam then hit up email@example.com.
Transportation Policy and Planning Board is meeting next Monday, April 3 @ 5pm. No specific agenda posted yet, but they will probably cover items from the last meeting that was cancelled.
Spring is officially here! To start off the season, we can expect mild weather this week and the disappearance of the remaining snow. This is a good time of year to tune up your bike and perform an ABC (Air, Brakes, Chain) check.
TC and TPPB Cancelled
The Transportation Commission (TC) meeting on Wednesday and the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) meeting on Monday were cancelled this week.
Capitol City Path Extension
The city of Madison has submitted plans to the Transportations Alternatives Program (TAP) to extend the Capital City Path to connect with the Glacial Drumlin State Trail. This state trail currently runs 52 miles between the cities of Waukesha and Cottage Grove, stopping short of Madison. Recent permission from the Wisconsin DOT to share the rail corridor passing under the 39/90 interstate highway has cleared the final major barrier to accomplish this project. However, only part of the trail lies within Madison city limits and action by Dane County is needed to complete the final connection to Cottage Grove.
Remember, Madison Bikes is a 501(c)(3) and does not endorse or oppose specific political candidates.
BCycle 2023 Launch
Madison BCycle stations reopened on March 15th for 2023. This year new stations were added in Fitchburg, the Sequoya Branch Library and many others. You can view a full map of available stations here: https://madison.bcycle.com/nav/map
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The Transportation Commission (TC) and the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) are having a joint meeting on Monday. One of the main agenda items is a proposal to combine the two bodies into one. Currently, the TPPB is tasked with making higher-level policy decisions about transportation, whereas the TC’s job is to make sure those policies are implemented. However, what counts as a policy decision and what counts as implementation isn’t always neatly delineated, leading to duplication and friction between the work of the two bodies. If the proposal moves forward, the two bodies would be combined into a new Transportation Commission.
After the joint meeting, the TPPB will have its own separate meeting, and there are several agenda items related to biking: First, a proposal to remove the prohibition of “trick riding” and riding on footbridges from our ordinances. What is “trick riding” and why is it prohibited? Well, that’s not really spelled out, and that’s part of the problem: Many municipalities have ordinances that make it illegal to ride no-handed, to engage in “fancy riding,” to ride without both feet on the pedals, and so on. These laws are rarely enforced, but when they are, research shows that they are almost always enforced in a racially discriminatory way. And in terms of safety they don’t have any positive impact. Is it a good idea to ride no-handed or pop a wheelie on a busy downtown street? Probably not. But an ordinance prohibiting it doesn’t improve safety. Madison already repealed the mandatory bike registration ordinance in 2020, and abolishing this ordinance is another step in the vein of decriminalizing biking. For a more in-depth perspective on this topic, I highly recommend this episode of the Arrested Mobility podcast and this BikeWalk Kansas City guide.
The other proposed ordinance changes are about bike shops: Did you know that if you want to open a bike shop in Madison you have to get a license first and then pay $100 a year to maintain that license? Or that you can be fined $10 for loaning a bike to a friend if it doesn’t have proper safety equipment? These ordinances are on the chopping block. You can register in support or opposition to any of the items here: https://www.cityofmadison.com/city-hall/committees/meeting-schedule/register
In addition to the joint meeting on Monday, the Transportation Commission is also meeting on Wednesday. The agenda is short and the only possibly bike-relevant item is a reconstruction of a stretch of Harvey St and Schmitt Pl. Harvey St runs parallel to University Ave, and as the University Ave reconstruction doesn’t include any bike facilities, this may be an opportunity for improving a parallel (but discontinuous) route.
On Wednesday it’s time for the monthly Madison Queer Ride. 6pm, Law Park. “We will bike across Monona via John Nolen, take the Wingra path through to the SW Commuter and then make our way back to Law Park. Social hour and warmup at Garth’s.”
Advancing equity for non-drivers webinar
Did you know that 31% of the Wisconsin population are considered to be “non-drivers”? Some of us are too young or too old to drive, some have health conditions or disabilities that prevent us from driving, and some of us can’t afford to drive (or don’t want to). Nonetheless, everyone has mobility needs, and for non-drivers those needs are often badly met. The Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Board of People with Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights Wisconsin are hosting a “moderated conversation will consider what challenges exist and steps that can be taken in creating transportation equity for non-drivers in Wisconsin.” Tuesday, 11 am to noon on Facebook Live.
Over the weekend it’s time for Bike-O-Rama again. At the Alliant Center you’ll have an opportunity to look at and test ride hundreds (thousands?) of bikes from local retailers. Admission is free.
Fitchburg Bicycle Friendly Community survey
Fitchburg is going for gold. The League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle Friendly Communities program previously awarded Fitchburg silver status, and now the city and advocates are hoping that they can level up. As part of the application and review, the Bike League is looking for input from local riders. So if you want to share your impressions of biking in Fitchburg, take a survey here. The feedback from that survey is aggregated and shared back to the city.
Madison Bike Week is coming! June 3-10
It’s only early March, but it’s never too early to put Madison Bike Week on your calendar. June 3-10 are the dates this year and we’ll soon start releasing more information. If you have any immediate questions or want to become a sponsor, shoot us an email.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Local MTB advocates CORP are looking to hire their first ever Executive Director. $30-50k/y, part time
The City also is looking for candidates for their paid Affirmative Action Student Professionals in Residence internship program. One of the internships is specifically to work on Vision Zero: “The Vision Zero intern will be assisting the Vision Zero staff team, led by Traffic Engineering, with outreach and marketing related to eliminating serious and fatal traffic crashes.”
It’s looking relatively warm this week, but keep the studs on and watch out for freeze/thaw ice patches. For more pictures of people enjoying biking in Madison, visit our Mastodon page.
Tuesday: Madison had a very strong turnout for the Spring primary election, a reflection of the critical importance of this year’s WI supreme court race. That said, kudos to all of you making your voice heard in local aldermanic and mayoral elections as well. Strong local political leadership is a key part of successful of bike safety and accessibility projects in Madison.
Friday: In case you missed it, Madison Bikes provided comments on the city’s Reconnecting Communities federal grant application. The city hopes to build an overpass connecting N. and S. Perry St. on the South Side. Currently, the Beltline cuts these two streets in half. Hopefully, this project could increase bicyclist and pedestrian access across the Beltline.
Monday:Join us on Zoom from 6:00 – 7:30 PM to discuss the three final proposals for the Monona Lakefront Design Project. We plan to assess how each proposal contributes to an all ages and abilities bike network, especially in relation to safe connections from the Cap City across John Nolen to access the Capitol. We’d love to hear what you like about the proposals, what you don’t, and any other ideas you have about the John Nolen Drive project. If you aren’t familiar, feel free to explore the links and join us to learn more.
Wednesday: Madison MPO meets at 6:30 PM this week. TAP project scoring for applications from February is on the agenda. Scores will be used to prioritize distribution of $3.5 million in TAP funds. Link here to the draft project scores plus a link to join the meeting.
In case you missed it, the WI Bike Fed recently discussed Governor Evers’ pledge to leverage more federal and state funds to support TAP projects, along with other important bike policies, in his biennial budget. Governor Evers acknowledged the state has a $7 billion budget surplus, and with Wisconsin ranking 49/50 in per-capita pedestrian and bicyclist spending, spending some of that surplus is long overdue.
Thursday: The city is hosting a public information meeting on the Autumn Ridge Path project. Plans include an enhanced crossing of Milwaukee St. east of HW51 and a bike/ped overpass for HW30 just west of Thomson Dr. The HW30 overpass would be the only low-stress crossing east of HW51, would link nicely with the HW51 overpass, and would serve as an important connection between residential and commercial areas on either side of HW30. Info and meeting registration here.
Welcome to this week’s update! We hope you have been enjoying the wide range of Winter cycling weather we’ve been having. If being on two wheels is bringing you half the joy it’s brought me this season, I’d say you’re doing great. Here’s what you need to know about bike advocacy in Madison this week.
Get out and vote! Tuesday, February 21st is the Spring Primary to nominate non-partisan candidates to be voted for at the Spring Election. By casting your vote, you are helping to shape the future of your local government and make an impact on issues that matter to you, like the quality of biking in this wonderful city. Earlier this month, we asked the candidates about about their positions on transportation, housing, and sustainability. You can learn more and read the candidates’ responses to the questions here.
Transportation Commission meeting
Wednesday, the Transportation Commission will meet virtually at 5PM. The agenda includes a contract for analysis on pedestrian and bike infrastructure gaps near BRT stations and a TAP grant application for the Glacial Drumlin Connector and West Towne Path projects. The connector project aims to connect the Capital City Trail near I-90 to the Glacial Drumlin trailhead in Cottage Grove, which is a crucial missing link for cyclists heading East from Madison. Check out this link to watch the meeting or learn more.
John Nolen Redesign meeting
There will be a public information meeting on the John Nolen Drive Redesign project on Thursday at 6:30PM. The first phase of the project addresses the causeway from East Lakeside Street to North Shore Drive. The plans include some exciting improvements like expanding the multi-use path to separate bike and pedestrian traffic and a path underpass between North Shore Drive and Broom Street. The project is scheduled to run through 2026.
Looking Ahead: Community Meeting
Finally, we want to hear your input on the Monona Waterfront Design challenge! Join us on Monday, Feb 27th for a community meeting where we will discuss the plans and what they mean for people on bikes. You can find more info on our Facebook event.
The in-person meeting was cancelled last week due to weather and will probably be rescheduled soon. In the meantime, you can make comments on the interactive map. It’s a good opportunity to highlight areas where you enjoy biking or where you wish there were better connections.
In case you missed it last week, the Bike Fed’s summer youth camp programs are open for registration. Also, plenty of good info on the site even if a youth camp isn’t your bag!
On Friday morning, many hearty cyclists came out and stopped by our bike station despite the attempted knockout blow delivered by the big, wet Thursday snowstorm. It was somewhat treacherous conditions for all road, path and sidewalk users due to the late-night freeze following a day of sloppy conditions.
With warmer temperatures than we’ve had in the past, it was good to see faces (both old and new) and sunshine. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, along with our sponsors and partners for the coffee and good times.
Finally, Groundhog’s Day was two week ago, but we still seem to be in this time loop where we get the same big storms on Thursdays. Until then, we’ll see great melting conditions that should leave paths and sideroads pretty rideable (sorry skiers). Watch out for refreezing, but otherwise enjoy!
It’s the 2023 International Bike to work Anywhere Week! Unlike prior years, the weather for winter bike week is expected to be quite balmy with afternoon temperatures exceeding freezing most days. In celebration, the City of Fitchburg and Madison Bikes will be hosting bike commuter stations on Tuesday and Friday respectively. See below for more details…
The Transpiration Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) will be meeting at 5pm this week to primarily discuss amendments to the City of Madison Official Map to include future streets in accordance with the Odana Area Plan.
Celebrate Wisconsin Bike Week 2023 with a pit stop at the Velo UnderRound from 7am to 9am, the confluence of the Badger State and Capital City State Trails and the Southwest, Cannonball, and Military Ridge Paths! Hosted by Bike Fitchburg, the City of Fitchburg, and the Fitchburg Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy bagels and coffee, pick up Dane County bicycle maps, and get minor mechanical adjustments. Learn more about Bike Fitchburg and our local advocacy for everyone who rides or walks. Learn more…
The Transportation Commission will be meeting virtually at 5pm. One potential topic of interest for cyclist is the Davies/Dempsey Project Review and Feedback. This project follows the popular Lake Monona bike route and provides neighborhood access to Frank Allis Elementary School. Traffic Engineering is proposing a 10′ shared-use path along the entire route and a realignment of the Maher Ave. intersection improve pedestrian visibility. It would be great if you could register your support for agenda item #2, if you live in this area or use this route frequently.
International Winter Bike Day 2023!
7-9am: Madison Bikes will be hosting a bike station at the Monona Terrace (next to the bike elevator parking lot). We will have hot coffee donated by Cafe Domestique, snacks and swag!
4-7pm: Bike Happy Hour at the Settle Down Tavern’s (117 S Pinckney St.) outdoor Tundra Club! There will be Tundra Club hot toddy drink specials, solo stoves and fire pits to keep us toasty.
In preparation for the upcoming City of Madison Common Council and Mayoral election, Madison Bikes will be asking candidates to respond to our questionnaire about biking and transportation in Madison. We will post their responses on Feb 16th (my birthday!). We encourage you to take a look and make an informed decision about who to vote for on April 4, 2023.
Bike Network: Madison Bikes wants all residents to have access to a low-stress bike network that makes biking safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, no matter where they live in the city. As mayor, what would you do to makes this vision a reality and close the current gaps in our network?
Transportation Climate Impact: In Madison, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. How do you think the city should go about reducing emissions from that sector over the next 5 years?
New Policies: Over the past years, the city has implemented a number of major policy initiatives around transportation: The Metro Network Redesign, Complete Green Streets, Transit-Oriented Development, Vision Zero, and others. As a mayor, what is next? What are your major policy initiatives around transportation for the next 5 years?
Complete Green Streets: Madison recently adopted a Complete Green Streets policy that prioritizes walking, biking, transit, and green infrastructure over driving and car parking when it comes to allocating our public right of way. Are you committed to implementing this policy, especially when a project requires the removal of car parking or inconveniencing drivers?
Vision Zero: Madison committed to eliminating all fatalities and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2035. Yet in 2022, 14 people were killed, including 3 people riding bikes, and 74 were seriously injured. Which roadways and intersections in your district should be prioritized for safety improvements, and what strategies would you use to ensure improvements are implemented?
Bike Network: Madison Bikes wants all residents to have access to a low-stress bike network that makes biking safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, no matter where they live in the city. Where in your district do you see major gaps in this network and how would you propose to fix these gaps?
Transportation Climate Impact: In Madison, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. How do you think the city should go about reducing emissions from that sector over the next 5 years?
Adventure Bike Summer Camp
This summer Bike Fed is running two youth Adventure Bike Camps (ABC). Campers will experience Madison by bike, and learn to be a safe, independent cyclist. Travel via the Capital City Trail, Southwest Commuter Path, Cannonball Path and more to explore the lakes, UW Arboretum, parks, local shops, and the city’s hidden gems!
June 12-16th from the Madison Bicycle Center for grades 5 and 6
August 7-11th from the Middleton Wheel & Sprocket for grades 6,7 and 8
Job Opportunity: Madison Pedestrian Bicycle Improvement Technician
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has an opening for a part-time bike/ped improvement technician covering the Madison area. Please get the word out to anyone you know who maybe interested.
The Pedestrian Bicycle Section of the Traffic Engineering Division within the Department of Transportation is looking to fill a part-time position that is a key part of making Madison one of the most bicycle and pedestrian friendly cities in the United States. The work involves direct responsibility for a range of specialized programs, projects and activities relating to the support of traffic engineering pedestrian and bicycle projects. In particular, this work involves management of pedestrian bicycle parking and other small infrastructure, assisting with gathering data and counts, assisting with pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding and other signage, and managing bike and pedestrian map creation… Learn more
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.
The Transportation Commission will meet on Wednesday, and the Safe Streets Madison program is on the agenda. As a reminder: Safe Streets Madison was created last year to combine a number of smaller funding pots and use them more effectively. With a data-driven approach, projects are prioritized based on their safety benefits and to close gaps in the biking and walking network, as well as their cost. City staff twice a year create a list of top-scoring projects and then bring that to the Transportation Commission for approval. You can find the first batch of proposed projects, totaling over $600,000, here.
Bike Fitchburg meeting
Bike Fitchburg switched up their monthly meeting format. Each month they will meet at a different bike-friendly business in the city on the 4th Monday. Tonight it is at Race Day Events/Griessmeyer Law on Sub-Zero Parkway. Meeting starts at 7 pm.
Lake Monona Waterfront Design Challenge
The process to create a new master plan for the Lake Monona waterfront between Machinery Row and Olin Park is moving along: The three design teams will present their final proposals at the Central Library on Thursday. The meeting is in person, but it will also be streamed live on City Channel. After the public has provided input on the proposals, an ad-hoc committee will pick one proposal and send it to the Board of Parks Commissioners and the Common Council for approval. Back in December, Madison Bikes presented our priorities and concerns to the ad-hoc committee. You can watch a recording of our presentation here.
International Winter Bike Day: February 10
Save the date: Like every year, Madison Bikes will celebrate International Winter Bike Anywhere Day in early February. This year the day falls on a Friday, and we’re exploring some after-work celebration options. More details to come, here and on Facebook.