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.

Categories
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.

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E-Mail In Depth Internal news

Bye bye 2021

It’s the very last day of the Madison Bike Year 2021. Last year’s post was titled “A Madison Bikes year like no other.” Looking back that was certainly true, and looking back at 2021, many of the themes — COVID being the big one persisted. Let’s look back at some of the events of the year.

Winter Biking

In a normal year, we would have done something to celebrate Winter Bike Day in person. But with winter bike counts down and an ongoing pandemic we decided to it call off for 2021. Promoting biking year-round is nonetheless an important part of our mission. We decided to produce a video for this purpose and released it January:

Madison Bikes Winter TV, Episode 2: Staying Warm 

What better way to welcome spring than to wash your salty winter bike, or to get your summer bike out of storage and make sure it is working well. In April we partnered with BikEquity, Wheels for Winners, Down With Bikes, and DreamBikes and hosted a Spring Wash and Safety Check event near Brittingham Park. 

Spring Bike Wash

Finally, in November we teamed up with Madison Park and Metro and hosted an outdoor winter biking get together at Tenney Park. On a cold and windy fall day, current and would-be winter riders joined over hot coffee (thank you, Cafe Domestique!), exchanged knowledge, and practiced putting their bikes on a Metro bus.

Tenney Shelter with several people and bicycles in front of it. In the foreground a cargo bicycle and a Madison Bikes flag. In the background a Metro transit bus.

Cyclists of Madison turns 1

April was also the month to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the launch of Cyclists of Madison. Each day we post one photo of someone riding a bike in Madison, from an ever growing pool of photos. Even though I have taken the pictures myself and therefore in theory know them, it still brings me joy to check Twitter and see which one has been posted today. A big shout-out to Ben Sandee without whose programming skills this idea would never have turned into something real.

News from the Madison bike ecosystem

Madison Bikes is only one of many organizations that make up our city’s bike ecosystem.

One addition in 2021: Madison Adaptive Cycling. Their mission is to “provide an outdoor cycling experience for differently-abled individuals of all ages.” They hosted a first few events and are set to have an official launch in 2022.

Not a new organization, Freewheel had a big moment in 2021: The Madison Bike Center at the Judge Doyle Square development downtown finally opened its doors to the public. They suffered many delays from forces beyond their control — a malfunctioning sprinkler turning the parking garage into an ice cave, supply chain issues, and so on. But they have been open for a few months now. Go check them out!

BikEquity’s mobile bike library

BikEquity, started in 2020, really took off this year. BikEquity’s mission is “to provides resources, mentorship, and education so that everyone can enjoy cycling for recreation, fitness, and transportation, regardless of income, age, race, or ability.” They put that mission into practice by organizing “bike clubs” for kids and community ride, they provide bikes for those who otherwise don’t have access to them with their bike library, and they host numerous bike repair events in the community.

Bye Heather, hi Marybeth!

Summer brought a bittersweet transition: Our VP, Heather Pape, left Madison for Salt Lake City. It was sad to see her go, but we’re also very happy for her: Her new job is with a transit agency where she can use her many talents to improve public transportation for everyone. Our new VP? The awesome Marybeth McGinnis.

Ride the Drive: A new format, with new issues

Madison Parks has been organizing Ride the Drive for many years. This year they changed the format and it did not turn out well. The idea seemed fine: Instead of a single event downtown, why not have smaller events spread out through the city, centered around our city parks? In practice, it didn’t work out well.

BikEquity at Ride the Drive in Marlborough Park

The way the event is organized requires a huge amount of volunteers. Finding those turned out to be difficult, and it was more difficult in some parts of the city than in others. So on very short notice, one of the four events, around Marlborough Park was significantly cut back: No opening up of public streets to people biking and rolling, and only a few hours of events. Community organizations like BikEquity, who were scheduled to offer programming at the event only learned about this at the last minute, and many residents of the area were not aware either. This left a very bitter aftertaste to the event. As part of the Just Bikes Coalition we have had discussions with Parks to address these issues in future editions of Ride the Drive. How do we ensure that community organizations are fully included in the event? How can we allocate resources so that the event has equitable outcomes, no matter where in town it takes place? Can it be done with less reliance on volunteers?

Loading up the trailers

On a more positive note: Fellow board member Pete and I had great fun using our Madison Bikes trailer to help BikEquity transport a large number of bikes to and from the event!

Deadly Streets, Vision Zero, and a protest

2021 was a deadly year for too many people on our streets. A string of deadly crashes on East Washington Ave prompted us to form a coalition with other groups and hold a Safe Streets protest in July. Last year, the City committed itself to Vision Zero, that is, eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. That is an ambitious goal, and without pressure from citizens and activists we will not reach it. The July protest was only one part of our work on this, and there is definitely more to come in 2022.

Dayna Long from DSA Madison addressing the crowd at the Safe Streets protest

Madison Bike Week, and a grant for Padres e Hijos En Accion

After a mostly virtual 2020 Bike Week, this year’s edition was a bit more normal. One innovation this year: As part of our commitment to racial and social justice, for the first time we offered a grant program for groups an individuals who wanted to host a Bike Week activity but needed financial resources to do so. Padres e Hijos en Accion, a community organization centered on Latino kids with disabilities and their families, received a grant for an event that brought together biking and community gardening at Quann Park. We will definitely run the grant program again next year and hope to support even more grantees.

Mayor Satya helping us kick off Madison Bike Week 2021

Madison Bike Week is possible only through the hard work of our board members and volunteers, the support of our community and from the City, and of course our Bike Week sponsors. Thank you so much, Trek and Madicon BCycle, the MGE Foundation, Wheel & Sprocket, Black Saddle Bike Shop, and Schwinn.

New infrastructure, planned or built

Buffered bike lanes on Odana!

Advocating for safe and comfortable bike infrastructure has always been a core element of our organization’s work. 2021 saw a lot of great projects being built or approved. And those projects included some that probably would not have been possible a few years ago: On Whitney Way, a lane of on-street parking was converted into a buffered bike lane, despite the vocal opposition of some residents. A similar design was approved for Old Middleton Road, to be built in 2022. Milwaukee Street between Fair Oaks and Woodmans finally got a bike lane. Odana was converted from 2 travel lanes to one travel lane, a center turn lane and a bike lane.

Buffered bike lanes (and a lower speed limit) on Whitney Way

Other projects ended up less ambitious: W Washington Ave was rebuilt not with protected bike lanes but a mix of unprotected lanes and a shared bus/bike lane, plus a semi-protected intersection at Bassett St. And the plans for the East-West BRT route include at best modest improvements for people biking aside from the Whitney Way lanes mentioned above.

We also saw several new path projects: The Garver Path was mostly completed, as was the final phase of the Demetral Park Path. And a lot of people were relieved when the long-term construction on the Cannonball and Military Ridge trails was completed a few weeks ahead of schedule. A different kind of trail project was the opening of the pump track in Aldo Leopold Park. Captial Offroad Pathfinders (CORP) and Madison Parks did an awesome job there.

Bus/bike lane on W Washington Ave

The most exciting project coming next year: The Cannonball Path will finally be extended past Fish Hatchery Road and connected to the Wingra Creek Path.

2022: We’re ready

The COVID pandemic has been and continues to be hard for so many people, and it has been hard for us as an organization as well. Not being able to meet in person with our fellow board members and the larger community. People dealing with additional stress and grief in their private and professional lives. City meetings that were more accessible because they were hosted online — but then also the feeling of having to attend ever more of them. It all adds up. And so I am very grateful to all the people on our board who kept up with it all and made our little all-volunteer organization what it is. In November we did a strategic planning session to help us figure out where we’re going and how we can work toward our vision in the most effective manner. Who knows what the new year will bring, but whatever it is, I do know that I’m part of an amazing group of people. We’ll continue to work toward our vision: A city where anyone can ride a bicycle conveniently and comfortably to any place in the city and neighboring communities year round. Please join us in that effort. Happy New Year.

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Bike News E-Mail Weekly Update

Bye-bye BCycle, TPPB meeting

Cyclists of all ages doing some gift delivery. Photo: Cyclists of Madison/Harald Kliems

Last Week

The Wisconsin State Journal posted a profile of Ben Dickmeyer, the city’s newly-hired Bicycle Recovery Specialist. Find out what all goes into his work and read it for free with no paywall this week on articles from the madison.com site.

BCycle bikes are gone for the season. Maybe take the opportunity to complete their annual survey to help shape the future of BCycle in Madison. Did you know you can check out a BCycle pass from your local library? Well, you probably can’t right now, but you’ll be able to when they come back in March. We look forward to the day when we can enjoy them year-round!

On that note, revisit this 2013 article that describes a pilot program to leave some of the downtown red BCycle bike stations open for the entire winter. Clearly this wasn’t carried forward into the e-bike era, which I suppose makes winter operation trickier due to the need to do battery swaps, reduced battery efficiency in colder temperatures, and snow and ice removal around stations. If we can go to the moon, seems like this might be a solvable problem!

This Week

On Monday the city Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) meets at 5pm (agenda, watch). This is the last meeting of the calendar year and features a few interesting topics.

First, the board will approve the prioritization of the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) application to the federal government. This is a program where the federal government offers grants covering 60-80% of the cost of qualifying infrastructure projects. Cities can submit multiple applications, but they must prioritize them, thus this list.

Map of Potential TAP projects 2022-2024 – Image: City of Madison

The first five (of ten) are:

  1. School Rd – Troy to Wheeler Safe Routes to School/Ped Improvements, Bike Boulevard
  2. East Wash alternative: Reindahl Park to East Springs Dr using local streets to East Washington frontage road Traffic calming, bike boulevard, new bike lanes on frontage road
  3. Badger Rd – N Rusk Ave to Overpass (phase 1) Shared-use path along E Badger Rd to connect Rusk to beltline overpass
  4. West Towne Path – Gammon to Zor Shrine Shared-use path
  5. West Towne Path – Zor Shrine to High Pt Shared-use path

Projects not selected by the feds may still move forward with support from the State or other funding sources.

Then, a discussion of proposed creation of a citywide Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program, which “is a package of information, policies, strategies and incentives designed to encourage users of the transportation system reduce the number and length of SOV [single occupancy vehicle] trips and consider alternative, more sustainable, forms of transportation.” According to the slide material, some of these techniques have been used before to guide development, but this formalizes it as a broad city policy.

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 Tires, Holiday Ride and Upcoming Bike Faculty Improvements

The annual Santa Cycle Rampage event took place this weekend with many riders taking a festive lap around the capitol square to raise money for the Wisconsin BikeFed.

Winter Bike Tires

I hope you were able to enjoy the last breath of fall this weekend as temperatures hovered just above freezing. Freezing temperatures have have made the roads and paths a little icy. For those who are unacquainted with studded winter tires, I recommend considering investing in a pair to keep your winter rides enjoyable (and upright). Winter tires have hardened metal spikes/studs and extra grippy rubber which maintain “reasonable” traction on icy surfaces. A novice winter cyclist might mistakenly believe a knobby mountain bike tire would be perfect for winter riding and they would be correct for snowy conditions, however winter tire metal studs are absolutely necessary to safely navigate icy surfaces. You can stop by any of your local bike stores to pickup a pair which generally run about $80 each and will last 5+ seasons. You won’t regret it.

Thursday – Olin Holiday Lights Ride

Black Saddle, Slow Roll and Revolution Cycles are hosting a casual Lake Monona ride to see the holiday lights including a stop at the Olin park light show. Event officially starts at 6:30 Thursday departing from Slow Roll Cycles. Cyclists are welcome to show up or RSVP through the event on Facebook.

Old Middleton Road to get buffered bike lanes

The Transportation Commission approved the installation of buffered bike lanes on Old Middleton Road, all the way from Eau Claire to Capitol Ave. The general travel lanes will be narrowed to 10 ft, and both sides of the road will have 7-foot bike lanes with a 3-foot buffer. Given the traffic volumes on Old Middleton Road (and a recent spade of crashes), buffered bike lanes are the recommended design to make this road safe and comfortable to ride on. Construction will start next spring.


Cap City Trail, Jackson St, and Ohio Ave improvements

On the other side of the isthmus, a street reconstruction project will include improvements to the Capital City Trail near Atwood Avenue. The crossings of the trail with Jackson Street and Ohio Ave are not only bumpy, but there also are frequent conflicts with people in cars crossing the path. As part of a larger project, improvements are coming: Jackson and Ohio will both be turned into one-way streets and narrowed significantly.

Where the streets cross the Cap City Trail, the trail will be kept at grade and there will be stop signs for cars. To still allow people on bikes to access Atwood Avenue in both directions, an 8-foot widened sidewalk will be built along Jackson and Ohio.

Finally, the project includes space for a new BCycle station at the corner of the Cap City and Ohio!

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

December brings flurry of activity

We don’t have any snow yet, but it’s coming!

After a slow couple of weeks, what with Thanksgiving and then few meetings afterward, we are going to see a bunch of activity before the end of the year. We are also seeing the first snowfall/freezing temperatures, so I hope everyone has figured out their winter biking options. If not, swing on by the Madison Bikes Community Facebook group, where there will be plenty of discussions of how to cope with/enjoy winter on a bike.

The week ahead

Monday

A reminder that a portion of the Blackhawk Path through Shorewood Hills will be closed starting today. The portion that will be closed runs from Tomahawk Trail to about where the path crosses under University Ave. The closure is expected to last six weeks. More information on the project, as well as maps of detours, can be found here

The Transportation Planning and Policy Board meeting was cancelled, so nothing to report for that. 

Tuesday

The University Bicycle Resource Center will have an in-person class from noon-1:30 pm: Bike Through Winter. The UBRC is located in the parking garage under Helen C White Library, across Park St from Memorial Union. You can also check out recordingings of all their past classes on YouTube.  

Wednesday

The Transportation Commission will virtually meet at 5 pm. You can view the agenda, watch online, or comment by email or during the meeting here. On the agenda are a few items of interest to bicyclists. 

  • An update on the buffered bike lanes that were passed at the last TC meeting. Not sure what the update is about, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a few comments in support. I think staff were surprised how easily it went after the difficulties getting the lanes on Whitney Way. 
  • Update on reconstruction of St Paul Ave on the east side. This project will include raised crossings for the Cap City Trail at Ohio Ave and Jackson St, so fewer bumps riding that section of path!
  • If you are interested in how the new system to allocate funding for traffic calming, Vision Zero, bike/ped improvements, and school zone safety is coming along, there will be a discussion and a review of a list of projects under the title of Safe Streets Madison. 
  • The committee will also review the signal priority list, deciding where new traffic signals should be placed. 
  • Finally, the committee will review the crash report from 2020 and discuss what it shows us. The report shows the most common crash types and locations for motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and mopeds. There’s a lot to learn in this report. 

Thursday

The Plan Commission will hold a special session to discuss a proposed Transit-Oriented Development overlay zoning for the BRT route and surrounding areas. TOD zoning specifically calls out improvements in bicycling and walking connections to facilitate both access to high capacity transit and to discourage auto-oriented land use. Although this is not bicycle-specific, it will be an interesting discussion to hear and will give us some insights into future non-auto development that is likely to happen along the BRT routes. The meeting starts at 5:00 pm, and you can stream it or watch it later here.

Saturday

Finally, it’s time for the Santa Rampage! Starting at 9:00 am at various locations to converge on Library Mall at 11:00 am, make sure to wear your holiday finest — don’t show up without a costume, but it doesn’t have to be Santa — and ride the streets of Madison spreading cheer and raising funds for Bike Fed’s efforts across the state. This is a slow roll, family-friendly event, so bring everyone.

This year, there will also be a clothing drive for kids that may not have warm stuff for winter. More details, timing, routes, and registration can be found at the event page or by contacting Caitlin Hussey at Caitlin@wisconsinbikefed.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.