Categories
Weekly Update

BCycle Kicks Off, Olbrich Park Path and TC recap

Two cyclists on BCycles dressed for cool weather
Two BCycle riders dressed for cool weather (Cyclists of Madison)

Can you believe that just seven days ago we were digging out from a wet messy snow storm? What a difference a week makes!

In addition to great bicycling weather, warmer temperatures mean that the street sweepers can get their brush on at night. Spring street sweeping keeps a lot of sand and salt out of the storm sewers (and the lakes!) and of course makes for safer and cleaner bicycling. According to the street sweeping site, shared-use paths are cleared using lighter equipment several times per year, so expect to see those vehicles out as well and if there are any major problem areas, use Report A Problem to let the city know.

This Week

On Monday at 5pm, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board will meet (agenda) and it looks like you’ll be able to enjoy a presentation about the Transportation Improvement Program, which discusses a whole cargo bike-full of bicycling improvements from 2023-2028.

On Tuesday, BCycle season officially kicks off. This year you’ll find a bunch of new stations (eight announced to be available at launch with more to come) and 75 new bikes in the system. The prices are increasing slightly, but until March 15 you can still lock-in last year’s annual rate and save yourself $15. I’m not sure if that includes tomorrow, March 15, or not, so best do it ASAP using the code BACKTOBCYCLE.

Atwood Avenue is being reworked from Cottage Grove Road to South Fair Oaks Avenue and there will be many bicycling improvements. The biggest change is routing of a new multi-use path through Olbrich Park for which the city has an open survey. In case you are unfamiliar, this area is part of the iconic Lake Loop around Lake Monona.

One of the four options for routing the multi-use path through Olbrich Park (City of Madison)

Here’s a quick cheat-sheet:

  • Design option #1 routes closer to the lake than the existing route.
  • Design option #2 is similar to what exists now but would not be a year round bike route because it crosses the bottom of the sledding hill. Parks would not clear the path in the winter, similar to some parts of the Garner Park and Elver Park path systems.
  • Design option #3 is similar to #2 except that it routes around the bottom of the sledding hill to allow for snow removal.
  • Design option #4 (submitted by local neighborhood groups) would take the path completely out of the park, making it a longer route and adding elevation and an additional conflict point at the parking lot entrance.

Expect to hear a lot more about this in weeks and months to come. The work is scheduled to be done in 2025 but the city is trying to move it up to next year.

Last Week

Last week had a stacked Transportation Commission meeting. Here are a couple of the highlights:

  • The commission unanimously approved the proposed design for Hammersley Road. The rebuild includes a multi-use path on one side, and it greatly improves the crossing of Whitney Way by turning a turn lane into a center island. The project still needs to go through the Board of Public Works and the Common Council. The district’s Alder, Yanette Figueroa Cole, spoke in favor of the project, despite the vocal opposition from some residents. Consider sending the Alder an email thanking her for the support of the project: district10@cityofmadison.com
  • Staff presented an option that will turn on-street parking into a buffered bike lanes on Tokay Boulevard between Whitney Way and Segoe. The project will come back to the commission again at a later point, but commissioners supported the overall design.

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
Weekly Update

Hammersly Road, Tokay Boulevard , Transportation Operation Report

We received a taste of spring this week and the city street sweepers were out clearing the grit off the roads, but it looks like we have at least one more snow in store. It might be time to start getting your bike tuned-up and cleaned for spring, particularly if you’re a winter rider!

Hammersley Road Reconstruction

The current proposal to include a multi-use path along Hammersly Road will be up for discussion again at the Transportation Commission meeting on Wednesday at 5pmItem #5 (see previous MB blog post for background). The multi-use path could really use a boost of community support to ensure its included in the final design. Please register to voice your support at the TC, particularly if you live in this area and would love to walk or bike on a low-stress path.

Proposal to Add Buffered Bike Lanes to Tokay Blvd

Good news! The proposal to add buffered bike lanes on Tokay Boulevard from Whitney Way to Segoe Road (Item #7) will also be discussed at the Transportation Commission Wednesday at 5pm. View street geometry PDF.

Proposed Geometry of Tokay/Segoe Intersection (City of Madison)


2021 Madison Transportation Operation Report

This twenty page report is a treasure trove of data about the modes of transportation we use and Madison transportation priorities for next year. The report contains a lot of graphics and easily digestible facts comparing usage trends over the past three years. My brief synopsis is that both car, and unfortunately, bike counts are down compared with pre-pandemic levels. A Greater Madison MPO Tele Work survey indicates this trend is likely due to a greater number of people working from home on a full or part time basis. Of course it’s difficult to predict if this trend will continue.

Weekday Traffic on Atwood (City of Madison)
Bicycle Count on Capital City Trail by Month (City of Madison)

Traffic Fatalities

The report also shows traffic crashes and fatalities in Madison have increased significantly since 2019, matching the national trend. Notably, East Washington Ave alone accounted for one third of all Madison traffic fatalities and all victims were vulnerable users (pedestrians and cyclists)! This is very alarming and is a tragic example of why we urgently need to put more resources into to efforts like Vision Zero.

Traffic Related Fatal Crashes by Year (City of Madison)

Parking

For a second year in a row the city Parking Division reported a budget deficit which required them to pull $3.3M from reserves. The loss was attributed to loss of revenue and weak demand for parking garage spaces. Unlike the majority of this report, which has a progressive vision supporting all modes of transportation (car, bike, walk, bus, etc..), the parking division is hoping for a “stronger recovery and increase in parking demand…”. This statement makes me ponder how the incentives for the “car” Parking Division (to increase car parking demand) is at odds with the transportation departments overall goals and priorities (Vision Zero, Complete Green Streets, BRT, transportation equity, etc…). Do we really want to “increase parking demand”?

Parking Garage Occupancy by Year (City of Madison)
Parking Revenue by Year (City of Madison)

Traffic Engineering Accomplishments

The city has a long list of accomplishments from 2021 and most are focused on improving our transportation infrastructure to support all modes of transportation. It’s a respectable list and shows all the hard work accomplished by the city staff and leadership. I think we are moving in the right direction as a city and the rate of improvement has accelerated since 2019. Lots of work remains, but I’m proud of Madison and happy to call this my home. Thank you!

University Avenue Bike Path Detour Ended

The bike path is completely open [..]. All path closures have been removed. Any detour signs that remain will be removed soon. The detour across University Avenue will be required one more time for the final path restoration. The final restoration will take place this spring after the asphalt plants open up in approximately 2 months. [..] Other work in the area will include replacement of a chain link fence between the RR and the path and landscape restoration.

Eric Hjellen – MMSD Project Engineer

Bike Lanes to be Added Under Troy Drive Railroad Bridge

The new bridge proposed would span the entire right of way, allowing for two vehicle lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road. This is a much-needed improvement to facilitate safe travel for all modes of transportation. Read more

City of Madison
Troy Drive Railroad Bridge (http://johnmarvigbridges.org/)

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
Weekly Update

Military Ridge closure; Garver Path drainage trouble; City is hiring

Last week, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) held a public meeting on the planned construction of a “force main” between Verona and Madison. This pressurized sewer line will move sewage from the area to the Nine Spring Wastewater Treatment Plant. Why is this relevant for the Madison Bikes community? Because the project potentially would severely impact the Military Ridge State Trail. At this point, MMSD is evaluating four alternative routes:

Map of the four alternatives for the relief sewer (Image: MMSD)

You can see that all alternatives would either run along the Military Ridge and Ice Age Trails, or at least cross it, potentially closing it for a long time. The Military Ridge State Trail is the only safe bike connection between Madison and Verona. For the sections impacted by Alternatives 3 and 4, there is no safe detour option. Maple Grove Road has heavy car traffic and only a narrow shoulder:

Conditions on Maple Grove Rd (Image: Google Street View

Alternatives 1 and 2 affect a different segment of the trail, but it seems that it would easier to create safe detours. You can provide feedback on the project with this brief survey. The survey closes on March 2, so please respond quickly. Here’s the alternatives analysis presented at the meeting:

MMSD alternatives evaluation (Image: MMSD)

Last chance to apply as Ped Bike Outreach Specialist

Today (2/28, 11:59pm) is the deadline to apply as the Pedestrian Bicycle Outreach Specialist for the City of Madison:

The City of Madison is looking to hire a Pedestrian Bicycle Outreach Specialist responsible for educating pedestrians, bicycles, motorists and other active transportation users on safe practices. The position performs community education, community outreach, and project coordination within the Pedestrian Bicycle Program of the Traffic Engineering Division. The position includes undertaking direct education to youth and adults, establishing and maintaining contacts within the school district and community, doing presentations, overseeing volunteers, coordinating with other education programs and evaluating program efforts. This position will work collaboratively with other staff in the division, the school district, community centers and local non-profits to coordinate education efforts throughout the City. This position works closely with under-represented communities.

Find out more and apply here.

Bike Fitchburg Board Meeting

As always on the 4th Monday of the month, Bike Fitchburg have their board meeting. The meeting will be online. Find more information on Facebook.

Garver Path drainage troubles

On our Facebook Community Group, there was a discussion about the paving quality of bike paths in general and the new Garver Path in particular: A member of our community slipped and fell in an icy puddle on the path. There was a thoughtful discussion in the comments, and the Alder for the district chimed in as well. The bottom line: Contractors sometime mess up, and the path will be fixed in the spring. And if you ever encounter drainage issues on a bike path, please let the city know.

Drainage issues on the Garver Path (Image: District 15 Alder Grant Foster)

Car free spaces: Yes, we have one

We’ll end this update with a video. YouTube channel City Beautiful explored what happens when US cities close streets to car traffic. One of the examples: State Street in Madison (skip ahead to 3:35 in the video to get to the Madison portion). Unfortunately the footage is from winter, and so State Street doesn’t look as bustling as it does in summer.

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
Weekly Update

Vision Zero, Hammersley, Safe Streets Madison; BCycle; Wheels for Winners

The Transportation Commission has a long agenda this Wednesday. Here are some items of interest to the Madison Bikes community. You can register to speak or email your comments to TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com on any item on the agenda.

Hammersley Reconstruction

We have previously mentioned the upcoming reconstruction of Hammersley Road. One proposed option installs a multi-use path for people walking and biking on side of the street. The project is now back at the Transportation Commission for approval, after having gone through public meetings. What has changed since the previous proposal: Some on-street parking has been added back in. While this has no impact on the multi-use path, it appears to involve the removal of some mature trees. The other change is the crossing of Whitney Way. Crossing the road here has been very challenging, and the multi-use path on Hammersley makes a new design necessary. This is what is being proposed:

Sheboygan Avenue Reconstruction

This project has been at the Transportation Commission previously as well. Currently Sheyboygan Avenue does not have any bike infrastructure, an issue that will become more pressing once the Madison Yards project increases density in the area and bus rapid transit will bring additional buses on the street. No materials have been made available yet, so we don’t know what the latest plans are.

Vision Zero Action Plan

The challenging path to zero by 2030 (Graphic: Harald Kliems)

Vision Zero, the commitment to eliminate all traffic fatalities and injuries in Madison by 2030, now has an action plan. This long document outlines what steps the city is going to take to achieve our goal, and how it will measure progress. Madison Bikes has been on the stakeholder engagement group that provided input on the action plan. The document provides a lot of facts on where crashes occur, who is most affected by them, and what some of the challenges are in making our city safer. Is the action plan as written going to be sufficient to achieve Vision Zero by 2030? We will see. But any vision needs an action plan to have any chance of success. Go take a read!

Safe Streets Madison

Safe Streets Madison is a city program that combines previous traffic safety, bike and walk improvements, and traffic calming programs into one unified program focused on safety and equity. The program already was on the Transportation Commission agenda two weeks ago. That meeting focused on the overall program and how the ranking of projects works in general. This week the first batch of projects will be up for approval. The list of unsafe streets and of gaps in the walking and biking networks is long, and city staff are asking the commission to approve at least $500,000 worth of projects, with more to be approved later in the year. It appears that the proposed projects are the ones in this spreadsheet. They range from very cheap ones such as “yield to pedestrians” signs, to more involved infrastructure projects building sidewalks or installing median islands. One odd item on the list: $15,000 for laser-speed equipment for the police department.

Madison BCycle season starting March 15

The UW campus will have additional BCycle stations (Photo: Harald Kliems)

In just over three weeks, the 2022 Madison BCycle season will start! March 15 is opening day. And there are a number of changes this year: There will be more stations, more bikes, and more time for your rides. The annual subscription costs will increase too, but if you’re already an annual member you can lock in your renewal at the current rate (and discounted rates for UW and MATC affiliates will remain the same). Read the news release for more details.

Sewerage District project impacting Military Ridge Trail

The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is holding a first public meeting about a project that may have long impacts on the Military Ridge Trail between Madison and Verona. It looks like all proposed options will lead to a temporary closure of the trail, which does not have a safe detour option. Sign up for the public meeting on Wednesday and learn more about the project here.

A map of the four alternative alignments for the relief sewer (Image: MMSD)

Fat Bike Racing at Blackhawk

The fat bike season is nearing its end. On Saturday morning, you have the opportunity to race on the wonderful trails at Blackhawk Ski Club in Middleton. There are juniors, citizen, and elite race categories, and you get extra points for wearing flannel or Olympic Games-themed costumes. Sign-up at 9am; race at 11 am.

Volunteer at Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Our friends at FB4K Madison are in the peak of their volunteer season and are always in need of more people. Sign up for available shifts here.

Volunteer hours are available Monday – Thursday, 9am-3pm and on some evenings from 6-9pm. We like to have fun while we work and volunteering is a great social outlet during these limited social options.

NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY: We have a spot for everyone at the FB4K Workshop! Whether you come alone, as an individual, or with coworkers, friends or teammates, FB4K is sure to provide a valuable volunteer experience for anyone. 

Support Wheels for Winners fundraiser

Wheels for Winners are doing their big fundraiser for the year, to “help us with our most ambitious project to promote access to bicycling within Communities of Color.” They are very close to reaching their target — you can push them above with your donation.

We will enable 150 people to become bike owners through our well-established earn-a-bike program, (2) furnish a minimum of 100 bikes for bike rodeos, loan-a-bike programs, and similar riding events, (3) repair over 200 bikes at community events, and (4) co-sponsor over 10 community riding events

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
Weekly Update

Bike Advocate Jobs; Group Rides; Policy Meetings; Detour Updates

A Madison bike commuter riding last Friday. Photo: Harald Kliems.

Last Friday’s Winter Bike to Work Day featured lots of fun. Thanks to the volunteers who helped hand out free food and drinks, and to our sponsors who provided deals to people commuting on bikes. Congratulations to Tara Dary, who had the closest guess for the Bike Counter total on the Cap City Path. The number was 262 and Tara guessed 249. That brings the counter to 1,570 for the week! Thank you to Revolution Cycles for the generous prize donation, which will be delivered by bike to Tara by one of our board members.

This Week

Bike advocacy jobs in Madison! This week you can apply for two jobs that support efforts to make Madison a better place for all pedestrians and bicyclists. Traffic Engineering is hiring a permanent Pedestrian Bicyclist Outreach Specialist with competitive pay and great benefits, application deadline 2/28/2022. Details here. The Bike Fed is also hiring an Educational Programs Instructor for the Madison area, application deadline 3/17/2022. Details here.

Detour update: The University Ave bike path detour via Flambeau Rd. through Indian Hills Park is now open, allowing users to avoid detouring via Whitney Way. See below for current detour and part of the path still closed.

On Monday, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) will be discussing plans for new streets in the Oscar Meyer Special Area Plan, which may make it easier to bike to areas of Madison siloed by Packers and Aberg avenues. TPPB will also be discussing making streeteries permanent, and will provide an update on Let’s Talk Streets. Link to more information.

On Tuesday, ride over to Slow Roll Cycles on Monona Drive for their weekly mellow group ride. Details posted on their Instagram and Facebook on Tuesday mornings, rides leave at 6:20 PM. Looks like it might be above freezing this week!

On Wednesday, join a free webinar with Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, for a discussion of Transportation for America’s “Driving Down Emissions” report. The report hones in on solutions to the challenges of making US transportation accessible to anyone, year round, whether they own a car or not. In reducing car dependence, these policies combat the largest driver of climate change in the US – transportation emissions. Registration required, link here.

Graph: EPA Emissions 2019 (https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions)

Wednesday at 5:30 PM, you can participate in long-term regional transportation planning in the Madison metro area. WisDOT, Metro Transit, and local government units in the Madison Area work with Madison MPO to make comprehensive, movable transportation plans for the area that comply with federal law. You can ask questions and provide feedback on the processes found in MPO Public Participation Plan, Regional Transportation Plan 2050, and Transportation Improvement Program during the meeting by registering here. Written comments can also be submitted by March 17th to wisconsin.fhwa@dot.gov.

On Thursday, a public information meeting about Russell Street reconstruction will happen at 6:00 pm. This small street can be used to access Atwood businesses and restaurants from the Cap City path, and its pavement is of particularly poor quality. Link 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
Weekly Update

Winter Bike (To Work) Day

A cyclist rides past the Southwest Path’s Bike Counter. Photo: Cyclists of Madison Twitter.

This week has an exciting day for Madison Bikes. Friday is International Winter Bike To/From Work/Anywhere Day, and to celebrate, we have a special announcement! Announcing the International Winter Bike to Work Day “Guess the Bike Counter” contest!

Guess the correct total # of riders that pass by the bike counter at Capital City Trail @ N. Shore Dr. from 12:00am to 11:59pm on Friday, February 11th. Guesses must be submitted by 11:59pm on Thursday, February 10th – no late entries will be accepted. Submit by email (liz@madisonbikes.org) – one guess/entry per person. The prize, donated by Revolution Cycles, will be bike delivered to you by a Madison Bikes board member (if you are located in Madison).
Good luck!!

This Week

First up this week is a pair of public information meetings for the Hammersley Road Resurfacing Project. The pair of meetings is to allow more of the public to participate in the planning process. The first meeting is Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM, and the second is Wednesday at noon.

Hammersley Road is scheduled to be resurfaced between Brookwood and the W Beltline Frontage Rd in 2022 and 2023. The current plans are to remove on-street parking and bike lanes, replacing the bike lanes with an off-street multi-use path on the north side of the street.

Hammersley Rd Project Limits. City of Madison.

To learn more about the Hammersley Rd project, and how to participate in one of the public meetings, check out the project’s webpage. Also be sure to take the survey.

Wednesday also has a meeting of Madison’s Transportation Commission. The big items on the agenda are related to the permanent continuation of Madison’s Streatery program that allowed restaurants to use street space for expanded dining areas. A few other items are updates on 2022 Transportation projects, but there isn’t much info about them other than locations.

As mentioned earlier, Thursday at midnight is when guesses due for the “Guess the Bike Counter” contest for Winter Bike to Work Day.

On Friday, February 11, join Madison Bikes and our partners as we celebrate International Winter Bike to/from Work (or anywhere) Day:

International Winter Bike to Work Day is a real thing…and we’re loving it! Join us on your way home from work or school and enjoy a warm beverage, a hot fire and some friendly winter biking conversations. Coffee donated by Lodgic Everyday Community.

In addition to various specials all day around the city, join us between 3pm and 5pm along the Capital City Trail — near the timekeeper between the convention center and the causeway. We’ll have treats, a hot fire, warm beverages and a lot of the enthusiasm!

On Sunday, Freewheel is restarting its Sunday Volunteer Day. This volunteer opportunity is at the Madison Bicycle Resource Center on S Pinkney St. Learn more about this volunteer opportunity 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.

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Bike News E-Mail Weekly Update

Draft Transit Network Redesign; Hammersley Public Meeting and Winter Bike to Work on the Horizon

Winter riding on streets with juuuust enough ice (Image: Cyclists of Madison)

It’s another quiet week on the Madison cycling news front, but overall it’s been a pretty good stretch to actually get out and ride. The storms last week left a mess in their wake for all road, path and sidewalk users, but temps have warmed enough that the paths and thoroughfares are in pretty good shape.

This Week

On Monday at 5pm the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting virtually — an unusual day of the week for them. The agenda includes a presentation of the Metro Transit Network Redesign Draft Plan. There are several different maps presented, but I’ll include one here as a representative sample.

Metro Transit Network Redesign – Draft Plan (Image: City of Madison)

If this interests you, check out the web site, read through the slides, and maybe listen in on one of these meetings to get a more complete picture.

On Wednesday at 6:30, the Greater Madison MPO Policy Board has their monthly meeting (virtual). Nothing particular important to note on the agenda except for another stab at presenting the Metro Transit Network Redesign Draft Plan along with a BRT update.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison is looking for distribution partners for its spring bike giveaway. The deadline for applications is February 16. In addition they are looking for volunteers to help refurbish their vast stash of bikes. You can come in individually or as part of team and no experience is necessary!

Next Week

You can register for one of the Hammersley Road Resurfacing public meetings scheduled for next Tuesday, February 8 and Wednesday, February 9.

Proposed plan for Hammersley Rd (Image: City of Madison)

In short, the two-year plan removes bicycle lanes and on-street parking and adds a city-maintained multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians. This stretch of the road currently lacks sidewalks, so this is a big improvement for pedestrians. This path will also connect up cleanly to the Southwest Commuter Path at the bridge across the beltline.

Property owners will not be responsible for snow removal and will not pay assessments for the construction of the path, nevertheless I’d expect quite a vocal minority in opposition.

You have until March 2 to respond to the city’s public survey about this project.

Finally, on Friday, February 11, join Madison Bikes and our partners as we celebrate International Winter Bike to/from Work (or anywhere) Day:

International Winter Bike to Work Day is a real thing…and we’re loving it! Join us on your way home from work or school and enjoy a warm beverage, a hot fire and some friendly winter biking conversations. Coffee donated by Lodgic Everyday Community.

In addition to various specials all day around the city, join us between 3pm and 5pm along the Capital City Trail — near the timekeeper between the convention center and the causeway. We’ll have treats, a hot fire, warm beverages and a lot of the enthusiasm!

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.

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Weekly Update

Winter Bike Event and Lip Balm…

This is a perfect time of year to catch beautiful sunrises over lake Monona along the cap city path at approximately 7:20am. The crisp cold air and clear blue sky’s have made an impressive display, the image above, just about every day last week. This week I am looking forward to a muted ride through the snow dusted landscape. These are joyful surprises which make winter biking worth all the effort.

Lip Balm Trick

Do you struggle to keep your nose and cheeks warm on cold blustery days when the windchill drops below zero? Scarves and neck gators work for a short while but quickly become frosted up. My recommended solution is to apply a thin layer of chap stick or lip balm to your nose and cheeks to keep them warm. Counterintuitively, the lip balm does not insulate your skin from the cold instead this trick works by creating a wind barrier. The lip balm wind barrier decreases the windchill factor and thus helps keep your face warmer. This is particularly important for cyclist because biking effectively increases the windchill.

Friday Feb. 11th – International Winter Bike Day

Join us in a few week for the International Winter Bike to Work Day! This year Madison Bikes is partnering with local businesses to encourage people to brave the cold by offering discounts to winter cyclists. In addition, we will also have some refreshments and fire pit setup at the John Nolan Dr. bike path counter starting at 3pm. Check the link below for details and to follow the event on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1NSqx5Wah

WisDOT Non-Driving Population Map

This is an interesting tool created by the Wisconsin DOT showing the estimated number of non-driving people throughout the state. I was surprised to see many estimates greater than 40% in both rural and urban areas. WiscDOT estimates Madison has between 30-40% non-driving population. This provides some food for thought and will hopefully be used to more equitably allocate public space and tax dollars for future transportation projects. https://wisdot.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5a275fcc732f48be98cb9913102ae07f

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.

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Weekly Update

Slow season for biking

Winter cyclist in Crazylegs Plaza

With the chilly temperatures and no big city meetings this week, it’s a little slow for the Monday update. So most of this is a recap or the past week and some posts from our Facebook discussions.

The past week in review:

Several projects came before the Transportation Commission last week. We received a briefing on the results of surveys and meetings with community groups about a future reconstruction of John Nolen Dr from Olin Ave to North Shore Dr (the city portion of that road.) There was strong support for improvements to the path, with near unanimous support for more space for non-motorized traffic and separation of pedestrians and bicyclists. Improved crossings, a slower speed limit, and more green space were also widely supported.

We also heard about plans for reconstruction of Lake Mendota Dr within the city and Hammersly Rd both east and west of Whitney Way. And on a bright note, there was strong support for improved walking and bicycling infrastructure, even if that means loss of parking or adding curb and gutter where there are none now. 

As a long-time watcher of and participant in city meetings, this is a real change from past years, when any discussion of losing parking on a residential street would rile neighbors, even in areas where houses have ample driveway parking. In past years adding curb and gutter also seemed controversial because residents claimed it would, “change the character of the neighborhood.” In truth, many worry about the assessments that come with adding sidewalks and the responsibility of shoveling them in the winter. 

However, the project on Hammersley Rd will feature an 8-10 foot wide multi-use path on the north side of the road, but no sidewalk on the south side. The multi-use path was warmly supported by residents who said they needed a place to walk and bike, especially with children. The fact that the city will pay to construct and maintain the path surely helped ease concerns about cost and maintenance. 

The week ahead

There aren’t any city meetings affecting bicycle interests this week, so no need to prepare comments for anything. And we have nothing on the Madison Bikes calendar for the week as well. But this might be a good time to remind people that any events you’d like to see on the calendar can be sent to Info@MadisonBikes.org with the subject like “Madison Bikes Calendar.” 

What we’re talking about

A few items from other groups and what we are talking about on our Madison Bikes Community Facebook group:

Bicycle mechanics are sick of seeing bikes come in that are made to fail and cannot be repaired. We’ve all seen sad “bicycle shaped objects” that look like transportation, fun, or recreation, but are just cheap junk that will break a child’s (or novice adult’s) heart and steal their money. Vice and Bicycle Retailer, as well as other outlets ran stories. 

Wisconsin Bike Fed sends a reminder that you can be included in their annual Ride Guide if you get your submission in by February 7. Rides, fundraisers, club events, races, classes, and other events are listed for free. Advocacy groups, businesses, clubs, and other organizations can also request a listing.

On Facebook community members engaged in a debate about, “What’s up with the flashing red light that means it’s “safe” for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross Highland on the Campus Dr Path?” (And is it actually safe to cross when that light is flashing?)

And a national economic media site suggests Baraboo for a letter writer who asks, “Can you suggest some walkable small towns (3,000-10,000 population) that are county seats and/or college towns, politically liberal, and have easy access to rivers and bike trails?” 

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
Weekly Update

New paths at TC; bike swap

Have you been riding outdoors lately? I admit, the cold has made me hide inside for several days in a row. But prompted by someone’s question about trail conditions on our Facebook group, I decided to do a Capital City Trail loop on Sunday. Was it cold? Yes. Was it enjoyable? Also yes! There’s just something to riding on a crisp, sunny winter day.

Be prepared for icy patches on the trails

The Transportation Commission meets on Wednesday and has several bike projects on the agenda. Let’s go through them one by one.

Odana Road Cycletrack

Last year, we saw Odana Road west of Midvale getting a mix of buffered and unbuffered bike lanes. East of Midvale, Odana already has bike lanes, but now they might see a big upgrade along the golf course: The proposal calls for a two-way cycletrack, separated from the general travel lane by delineators, on the side of the golf course and a buffered bike lane on the other side of the street. Because Odana Road is so wide on this stretch, this does not even require the removal of car parking.

Odana Road proposal with cycletrack on the south and buffered bike lane on the north side

Hammersley Road

Hammersley Road is an important east-west connection, which currently lacks sidewalks. East of Whitney Way the street has painted bike lanes; west of Whitney Way there is no bike infrastructure at all. Over the next two years, Hammersley will be reconstructed between the SW Path crossing and Brookwood Road. The designs presented to the Transportation Commission include several options, one of which would include an 8-10-foot-wide shared use path on one side:

Design option for Hammersley west of Whitney Way

Alternative options would install sidewalks on both street and not include bike infrastructure.

Lake Mendota Drive

Lake Mendota Drive is a scenic, low traffic route along the shore. But if you have ridden there recently, you probably needed to focus on the bumps and potholes on the road rather than enjoying the scenery. In addition to the bad road surface, the street also lacks sidewalks. The city plans to rebuild the street over the next few years, starting with the stretch farthest to the west in 2022. No specific design is proposed yet, but some ideas include traffic calming features and installation of a sidewalk on at least one side of the street.

If you want to provide input on any of these projects, you can email your comments to TransportationCommission@cityofmadison.com or sign up to speak at the meeting here: https://www.cityofmadison.com/MeetingRegistration

Brazen Dropouts Bike Swap

The bike corral a the Brazen Dropouts swap offers all types of bikes

On Saturday, Brazen Dropouts are hosting their annual bike swap at the Alliant Center. The swap is a great opportunity to buy used bike parts and accessories as well as complete bikes. General admission is $5; $10 for early birds, and free after noon.

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.