Categories
Bike News Weekly Update

Cedar Street: Take Action, Plenty of Virtual Meetings

Three cyclists enjoying State St with murals behind
Riders enjoying State Street. Photo: Harald Kliems

It’s been a beautiful week for cycling! Cooler temperatures have given us an early taste of autumn and people are taking advantage.

State Street is a very interesting destination right now, as it is ped/bike only and there are many beautiful and powerful artifacts of our times on display. Mifflin St from the Capital Square all the way to the Yahara River is closed to all but local automobile traffic, which makes for a relaxing, low-stress ride with plenty of room for physical distancing.

Last week

In our Facebook group, there was a lively discussion about why the Military Ridge Trail in Verona hasn’t been paved yet. (Spoiler alert: Largely snowmobile access, but do catch up for yourself, it’s interesting reading.)

On Saturday, Urban Triage helped organize the Voices of the Youth’s Ride & Grub. You can see photos and other info on their site.

We hosted a guest blog post from Sally Lehner, where she discussed a petition to keep a portion of the Arboretum drive car-free. The petition had over 850 signatures as of Monday morning. We’ve also had a spirited discussion on our Facebook group, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This Week

In last week’s update, we reported that the Transportation Commission approved a low-stress design for the new Cedar Street extension. Because of the projected number of cars on the street, the design features buffered bike lanes on both sides of the street, and on-street car parking in front of the to-be-built supermarket.

Proposed design of Cedar St, showing parking and buffered bike lanes
Proposed design of Cedar St, showing parking and buffered bike lanes

The design will get its final approval at the Common Council meeting on Tuesday night. Street space is always contested, and some registrants at the Transportation Commission meeting advocated for taking away the buffer from the lanes or even building a street without bike accommodations at all. Please consider registering in support of the low-stress design (use agenda item #60869). You can register your support or opposition without the need to speak at the meeting, and you can also send your comments by email to allalders@cityofmadison.com.

On Monday, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) is meeting at 5:00. The agenda looks relatively light this month!

On Tuesday, the Common Council meets at 6:30 with a stacked agenda, including the aforementioned Cedar St item tucked away in there.

On Wednesday, the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board (MATPB) is meeting at 6:00. You can read the agenda here.

Far Out!

A gentle reminder that there’s still time to read the virtual book club selection for next Friday, August 14: Cyclescapes of the Unequal City: Bicycle Infrastructure and Uneven Development by John G. Stehlin. Event details 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

Cedar Street, COVID Biking Metrics, Aldo Leopold Pilot Trail, Oscar Mayer

Most of the day to day was excellent for biking if you could put up with the heat and humidity. Lots of people were out on the south west path, but most people were taking it slow to stay cool.

Cedar Street Extension

Last week the Transportation Commission approved a design for the new Cedar Street extension on the south side. This new street is part of the Truman Olson Redevelopment project and will be the main access to the supermarket that will replace the existing Pick’n’Save on Park Street. The approved street design includes on-street car parking for the supermarket and buffered bike lanes on both sides of the street. Traffic Engineering projects that the street will see about 5000 cars per day, which means that the buffered design is necessary to make this a low-stress bike route. Still to be resolved is the crossing of Cedar at Park St. Allowing people to safely walk and bike across the four lanes of Park St is challenging, and the commission and residents testifying didn’t like any of the proposed designs. Engineering will seek additional public input before bringing the design back to the Transportation Commission.

COVID-19 Biking Metrics

Streetlight Data released a report on biking metrics during COVID-19. Based on location data from smart phones and navigation devices, Streetlight compared “bicycle miles traveled” in May 2019 and 2020. For the Madison metro area (which consists of Columbia, Dane, Green, and Iowa counties), they found an increase of 20-49%. How do these numbers compare to the two bike counters on the Southwest Path and Cap City Trail? Our board member Harald took a look: The counters also show an increase compared to last year. But the increase is smaller (9%), and compared to years before 2019, the 2020 numbers are actually lower.

Oscar Mayer Area Plan Adopted

After a very long Madison City Council meeting last week a plan preserving the high density affordable housing for the Oscar Mayer Area was adopted and expanding the preserved wetland open space to 14.1 acres. This plan is expected to create more than 2,500 affordable housing units near Madison’s urban core that will be well connected by transit, biking and walking. In addition, Coolidge street will be restricted to bike and pedestrians to reduced car traffic through the neighborhood.

https://www.cityofmadison.com/dpced/planning/oscar-mayer/2614/

Aldo Leopold Pilot Trail Project

Madison Parks in conjunction with IMBA is developing a professionally built mountain bike park off the Cannonball Path on the City’s south side. This week good progress was made, the first trail was “burned” in and updated/larger signage will be put up soon. IMBA is also working with City Staff to build skills development features along the trail.

Additional development phases are planned over the next two years. Phase 1 design work will be taking place late summer and through the fall with the goal to build Phase 1 summer 2021. Phase 2 is planned for 2022. Visit Capital Off Road Pathfinders or Facebook to learn more.

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
Bike News Weekly Update

Monday Update: Wilson St, Vision Zero, Traffic Calming

The resurfacing of the Southwest Path unfortunately got a little delayed by the heavy rains last week. It seems like the contractors were mostly done by Friday, but apparently some work remains to be done. Please respect the closure signs and follow the signed detours.

The old pavement was already ground off last Tuesday.

As of today, there is an extensive public health order in place that require everyone older than 5 to wear masks/face coverings when inside in Madison and Dane County. More and more people have also been biking with face masks, even though that is not required at this point. Madison Bikes is working on making masks and mask DIY kits available to the community — our custom fabric order has just shipped! Stay tuned for more details. Please follow this and all order public health orders to protect yourself and others.

Madison Bikes custom fabric

The new week starts of with the inaugural meeting of a new city subcommittee. The current process by which we/the City decide who does and doesn’t get traffic calming (most often in the form of speed bumps) has been problematic in several regard. Probably some of the readers of this post have tried to get speed bumps on their street, signed a petition in support or opposition, or have shown up to a public hearing on the topic. To fix some of the issues and develop a more systematic and equitable approach to traffic calming, the Traffic Calming Subcommittee was created. (Disclaimer: I’m one of its members). Tonight, Monday 5pm is the committee’s first meeting, and you can watch it online. The full agenda is available here–mostly administrative stuff such as selecting a chair and defining the scope and timeline of the work.

The Common Council meets on Tuesday. One important on the agenda: There will be a vote on the Vision Zero resolution that we mentioned in last week’s update. The Transportation Policy and Planning Board during their meeting last week added an important amendment to the initial resolution, which acknowledges that eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries (the goal of Vision Zero) must not come at the expense of racist traffic enforcement:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vision Zero Action Plan will document the disproportionate effects of traffic enforcement and the impacts of traffic injuries and fatalities on people of color and that a plan is developed that works to reduce and eliminate those harms; and,

Other cities and organizations, such as Our Streets Minneapolis, the Vision Zero Network, or the Safe Routes Partnership have spoken out strongly about the dangers that traffic stops pose to Black people, Indigenous People, and People of Color, and Madison Bikes shares these concerns. A street on which you’re safe from traffic violence but not from police is not a safe street.

The Transportation Policy and Planning Board is back to a bi-monthly meeting schedule. On Wednesday, some of the items on the agenda are:

  • A presentation on the Department of Transportation’s (DoT) budget request. Our city’s budget is under tremendous financial strain, and we’ll have to see how the DoT is going to prioritize capital and operations expenses for the upcoming budget period. In times of budget crises, there is always a risk that investments in walking and biking will be cut back, even when they only make up a minuscule proportion of transportation spending when compared to the cost of car infrastructure
  • The Wilson Street Corridor Study will be on the agenda once more. We’re getting quite close to finalizing this important bike corridor, and the proposed designs look promising. You can read the full report here. One key recommendation is a two-way cycletrack on Wilson between Broom and Blair!
Screenshot from the Wilson Street Corridor Study, recommending a two-way cycletrack.


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.