Ride the Drive is my favorite Madison bike event. For a few hours each year, what is usually a busy thoroughfare full of cars gets transformed into a quiet, peaceful space full of smiling people. Media reports and roadside signs before the event reported that “John Nolen Drive is closed to traffic,” but what those signs should have said is “John Nolen Drive is opened up to people.” This year I was unable to ride the drive myself because of a broken wrist. Instead I took pictures of happy people on bikes, unicycles, inline skates, … Enjoy and let us know what your favorite Ride the Drive moment was!
This week there is only one meeting on the calendar, after last week’s three city transportation meetings. The meeting is tonight already and deals with “proposed bike route system enhancements along West Main Street, South Shore Drive, West Shore Drive, and Gilson Street” (see map above). Read more about the meeting, as well as a short recap of last week’s meetings after the fold.
Water Utility-Engineering, 119 E Olin Ave
“Please join me to hear from city Traffic Engineering staff to learn more about the proposed bike route system enhancements along West Main Street, South Shore Drive, West Shore Drive, and Gilson Street. We will discuss bike/ motorist signing and pavement markings to enhance the bike route system, including the “Bike Boulevard” designation and its associated signing and marking.”
Last week’s highlights
got its first view of the draft Madison in Motion plan. The materials weren’t available ahead of the meeting and still aren’t published on Legistar, but there really isn’t much to see anyway (here’s a version posted to the MiM site). The plan is supposed to be a ‘comprehensive transportation master plan’ that is meant to ‘guide transportation decisions in the City of Madison…to help make Madison a more walkable, bikeable and livable city…’ It should ‘identify the strategies and implementation recommendations…and will include a realistic, strategic implementation plan for the City to follow for the next 25 years…’ Despite recommendations from the oversight committee, the current draft has no measurable goals and no clear vision, especially as it relates to bicycle transportation in Madison. It’s essentially a collection of concepts and a long list of recommendations to just continue what we’re doing. There should be an opportunity for public comment later this summer/fall.
TORC (TRANSPORTATION ORDINANCE REVIEW COMMITTEE)
reviewed the Draft Statement of Purpose drafted by City Attorney Strange. This is a big task and the group seems to be making good progress. The biggest identified gap to date has been in the lack of transportation planning (see issues with Madison in Motion). The discussion has begun to coalesce around the concept of having a more comprehensive Transportation Commission. This commission would be focused on driving transportation strategy and policy. What that means for the current transportation committees/commissions is still to be determined. Alder King called out what may be the most critical decision by this body: can we really make progress with a new centralized Transportation Commission if it doesn’t have a matching staff component? In my opinion, this new committee/commission makes a lot of sense, but only if there’s a matching Director of Transportation to coordinate and support it.
LONG-RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLANNING COMMITTEE (LRTPC)
We try and keep all regular transportation-related city meetings on our Community Bike Calendar. This week’s highlights: The 4th week of the month is always a busy one for city meetings, with meetings of the Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC), the Long Range Transportation Planning Committee (LRTPC), and the recently created Transportation Ordinance Review Ad Hoc Committee (TORC). In addition to those meetings, it’s also the week of one of Madison’s biggest fun bike events, Ride the Drive this coming Sunday.
More details after the fold.
is the main city committee focused on bike-related issues. This month will include a Racial Equity and Social Justice Presentation by Toriana Pettaway and discussion around how we best incorporate this into our transportation planning. Also, a presentation on the status of our Sustainable Master Transportation Plan (Madison in Motion) by Dave Trowbridge. This is one of the few city meetings that is live streamed and available over the web.
Tuesday, 7/26/16, 5pm
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room GR-27, City-County Bldg. Police Conference Room
is an ad hoc committee that’s been meeting since spring. Their charge is to review and rewrite the city’s transportation ordinance. The existing ordinance currently calls for a Director of Transportation (among other things) even though we have not had one at the city for many years. The work done here could lead to a significant restructuring of our transportation committees. This week there will be a review of the Draft Statement of Purpose drafted by City Attorney Strange.
Wednesday, 7/27/16, 5pm
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room GR-27, City-County Bldg. Police Conference Room
is staffed by our Planning division. It typically receives presentations related to long-term transportation planning. This month will see a review of planning data tools including: Urban Footprint, Fiscal Impact Model and Active Living Index and will also have an overview of the Greater Madison Vision Planning Process.
Thursday, 7/28/16, 5pm
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room 108, City-County Bldg.
Ride the Drive
Keep your eyes peeled for the Madison Bikes crew at the event!
Sunday, 7/31/16, 10am-2pm
Madison Bikes is a young organization, and we’re run almost entirely by the volunteers on our board of directors. To become a sustainable and effective organization that can achieve our vision, we need your help. A bike advocacy organization requires many skills and people who are willing to contribute those skills and their time. If you would like to volunteer with us (or have questions about volunteering), please go to our volunteer sign-up form. We really appreciate your help, no matter whether it’s helping out for a single event or signing on as a longterm volunteer. We look forward to hearing back from you and already say thanks for your contribution. Please share this post with others who may be interested in working with Madison Bikes.
Please welcome our guest blogger Elysha Jones. Elysha and her family love biking and live in a car-light household. Elysha tells a great story about having out-of-town guests and showing them how awesome biking in Madison can be. Especially for those of us who already regularly ride, it is easy to forget how others perceive biking—dangerous, weird, requiring special gear, not for families, and so on. Elysha’s post puts this in perspective and reminds us that getting around by bike in Madison is pretty convenient and fun. Thanks for sharing, Elysha!
A little background on us: Scott, my husband, and I were both born and raised in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. During a visit to Amsterdam we fell in love with the biking life. But back home in the suburbs we found that we couldn’t bike everywhere like the Dutch did. So we decided to move some place more bike/pedestrian friendly, and Madison fit the bill for us. For five years now we have called Madison home, and we haven’t looked back.
This past weekend our friends from St. Louis came to visit. Weeks before the visit I talked with Becky about all the stuff we could do here, and I kept mentioning that biking would really be the best way to go to all the different places. She was very skeptical and told me she wasn’t sure she could handle biking with her two kids (ages ten and eight). I told her I have a bakfiets and could borrow a long tail bike from a friend. Another excuse for Becky not wanting to bike was curbs: Becky was sure there would be curbs that we would have to maneuver. So on one of my many errands by bike I stopped every now and then to take pictures of the bike trails and streets they intersect with and sent them to her. Again she worried: What should she wear while biking?! She didn’t own “bike clothes” and neither did her husband. And again I tried to reassure her by taking pictures of me in my “biking” outfits, that is, just regular clothes. Still, Becky remained unconvinced and tried one more excuse: Her husband, he didn’t want to bike at all. He thought it was really weird and had no desire to do it all. So I hatched a plan to convince him it was normal to bike around in Madison.
When they got into town, on Friday, we took them out to dinner. We live just a bit off of Atwood, and so we walked down to Glass Nickel Pizza and then walked from there to the Chocolate Shoppe. I made sure we walked down the bike path. I wanted to normalize biking as much as I could. I also made sure to point out all the “regular” people biking by and the Bicycle Benefit stickers at all the places we went to and explaining to them what they get for that little sticker on their helmet. Finally, we got back to our house and they were a bit unsure of biking still. But I could tell: At this point they were at least thinking of it as a possibility. I thought it would be best if I showed the kids the bikes they could ride on and let the grownups see our bikes too. I opened our garage door and told them to go ahead and pick out bikes that would work for them. They had a blast in our mini bike shop. They all picked out bikes and we went for a quick ride around our neighborhood. There was a lot of laughter and cheering. It seemed like my plan was working!
Saturday morning I suggested we bike to the farmers market on the Square. They all agreed, and the 12 of us made our way downtown. Our friends were impressed by the bike paths and the bike elevator and cars stopping for us! After walking around the Square I suggested we bike down State Street to the Union Terrace. Again, this was a huge surprise to them: a street just for bikes and special vehicles! They loved the Union too, and when we got home and they realized they had biked 12 miles round trip, they were all pleasantly surprised. “It didn’t seem that long!”
On Sunday I suggested we go to the zoo and I said whoever wanted to drive could and whoever wanted to bike could. All the kids wanted to bike, and my friend’s husband wanted to bike too!! Even though he said he was a bit sore from all the biking the day before, he still chose biking over driving! So we all biked to the zoo and then on to Ella’s Deli for ice cream. Their kids chatted about how they wanted to live in Madison when they got older, and our friends were able to see how and why biking was such a big part of our lives. It was a huge success and made us really appreciate the biking infrastructure that Madison has.
The City of Fitchburg—currently ranked a “silver” Bicycle-Friendly Community—is updating their Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The meeting will take place on July 21, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Kids Crossing Shelter at McKee Farms Park. If you can’t make it to the meeting, there is also a website with information about the plan and the opportunity to take a survey and provide input. Read the full announcement below.
Public Open House and Workshop – Update to City of Fitchburg Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan – July 21
6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Thursday, July 21
McKee Farms Park – Kids Crossing Shelter (just west of main park shelter, by Kids Crossing Playground)
Fitchburg has recently begun the process of updating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, to maintain and improve options for biking and walking in the City. A key component of the Plan update is to gather input and feedback from City residents and those that bike and walk in Fitchburg. As such, the City will be holding a public open house and meeting on Thursday, July 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Kids Crossing Shelter at McKee Farms Park (The shelter is located just west of the main park shelter, by Kids Crossing Playground). The open house/workshop will consist of a short presentation at 6.00 p.m., followed by various opportunities to provide input and feedback.
Additionally, the City has other tools that can also be utilized to provide feedback on the Plan update, including a public opinion survey and an interactive map. The survey and map will be available until July 31.
Where should the city invest in bike infrastructure in the coming budget period? That is the question that the Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) is asking you. And we want to hear from you too, as well as provide guidance on how to maximize the impact of your suggestions. The meeting is already today, June 28 at 5:30pm, but you will have time to provide written input until July 8. Let’s start with the actual announcement from PBMVC:
The Madison Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission will hold a public hearing to receive comments on potential pedestrian and bicycle projects the City should consider undertaking in the 2017-2019 Capital Budgets to increase opportunities for walking and bicycling in Madison.
The intent of the public hearing is to hear suggestions for new capital (construction) projects. Please note that concerns about routine maintenance and operational issues can be directed to the appropriate agency or the City’s Report-a-Problem webpage http://www.cityofmadison.com/reportaproblem.
The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Room 260 of the Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. NOTE: If you need an interpreter, materials in alternate formats or other accommodations to access this meeting, please contact the Traffic Engineering Division at 608-266-4761. Please do so no later than 9:00 a.m. on the Thursday preceding the meeting so that proper arrangements can be made.
Written comments will also be accepted through Friday July 8, 2016, and should be addressed to the Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission, c/o City Traffic Engineering Division, PO Box 2986, Madison WI 53701-2986, or email to email@example.com.
The results of the public hearing and written comments will be used to develop a list of projects to be considered for inclusion in the 2017-2019 construction work program.
Sounds slightly complicated, doesn’t it? What exactly is a “new capital (construction) project”? How much money are we talking about? What happens to your suggestions once they have been submitted to the PBMVC? Is sending your suggestions to PBMVC the most impactful way to improve biking?
Here’s our advice:
- Any input is valuable. The only way that gaps in Madison’s bike infrastructure network will be addressed is if the city hears from you. So consider taking the time attending the meeting or submitting your comments in writing.
- That said, there is no guarantee that your input will lead to action. One of our goals at Madison Bikes is to hold the city accountable for not merely asking for public input but actually transforming it into concrete action. One way to help with this to cc’ing your Alder in your email. You can look up your Alder and their contact information here.
- Don’t assume that someone else has already made the same suggestion. Yes, most likely someone will send in input about the horrible intersection at John Nolen/Blair/Wilson/Williamson. But the more people voice their concern, the more likely it is that something will be done to fix it.
- Consider including examples of what has worked well. If there is bike infrastructure that you think has worked well and should be considered elsewhere (e.g. bike-specific signals, turn restrictions, a buffered bike lane), mention it in your input.
- Try to be specific. Instead of only saying “The intersection at John Nolen is a big mess,” consider adding detail, for example “When crossing from the Capital City path towards Machinery Row Bikes, you can’t make it across the intersection in one signal phase” or, “Drivers turning across the park into the Law Park parking lot frequently don’t pay attention to people cycling on the path.”
- Don’t be afraid to think big. Yes, some projects may be “too expensive” or “not politically feasible” right now. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work on changing that.
- Don’t be afraid to think small. Sometimes it’s a little thing that can make your and everyone else’s biking experience so much better. A missing curb cut, a traffic signal that doesn’t detect bikes, a bike lane that ends just half a block before a popular destination, …
- If you have a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member who’s interested in biking but thinks it’s not safe enough, encourage them to provide input as well. It’s important to create facilities that people of all ages and all abilities feel comfortable on.
Here are some text snippets that you can use:
Dear PBMVC members, dear Alder [name]:
Thank you for asking the public for input on improving biking and walking in Madison.
I’d bike more if […]
A gap in the system that is a problem for me is [location].
A road that really needs better accommodations for cycling/walking is […]
I can’t get to [location] by bike because […]
There needs to be more bike parking in the following public areas [street, park, library, public building, etc.]
[Location] is an intersection/road that is hard to cross, and that keeps me from biking/walking.
Thank you for considering my suggestions.
[Name and full address]
Monroe Street will be reconstructed in 2017. On June 13 the first of a number of public meetings will take place, providing you an important opportunity to provide input early on in the process. The meeting will take place at the Wingra School Gymnasium (second floor), 718 Gilmore Street, from 7–9 pm. Registration is recommended but optional.
Right now biking and walking on Monroe Street isn’t always a pleasant experience: Crosswalks are frequently ignored by people driving, sidewalks are narrow, and the lack of bike infrastructure makes people cycling either entirely avoid Monroe or ride on the sidewalk. Reconstructing Monroe Street provides an immensely important opportunity to rethink how space should be allocated on this important corridor. Providing input on what you want changed on Monroe at this early stage of decision making is crucial. The amount of right-of-way between buildings is limited, meaning that trade-offs will be necessary. So please attend this meeting and make sure that the new Monroe Street will become a better place.
Update 4/6: A previous version of this post had the location of one of the commuter stations wrong. Fixed below.
Madison Bike Week kicked off on Thursday with the New Belgium Clips & Beer Film Tour at Olin Park. The main chunk of Bike Week will be happening next week though. Madison Bikes folks will be at both the commuter station near Machinery Row/John Nolen between Broom Street and Monona Terrace as well as at the one at Crazylegs/Camp Randall Monday to Friday between 7 and 9 am. We’ll have awesome spoke cards, sign-up sheets for our newsletter, and you can talk with us about all things Madison Bikes.
Location of the two commuter stations:
We’re looking forward to meeting you in person, either at the commuter stations or at one of the many other Bike Week events!
The east side contingent of Madison Bikes is planning a casual group ride to the New Belgium Clips Beer & Film Tour (benefiting the Wisconsin Bike Fed) at Olin Park tomorrow, June 2. Departure is at the intersection of South Fair
Oaks Avenue and the Cap City Bike Trail at 6:45pm. More details after the fold or on Facebook.
Join the ‘East Side Bike Caravan’ to Olin Park!
Stop departures will be prompt. We’ll ride on the Cap City Trail the entire route from S. Fair Oaks Ave to Olin Park.
Anybody who misses a stop can join in anywhere along the way!
DEPART 6:45 S. Fair Oaks Ave & Cap City Trail
ARRIVAL 6:52p / DEPART 7:00p Cap City Trail behind Mickey’s Tavern (Thornton St.)
ARRIVAL 7:07p / DEPART 7:20p Cap City Trail at Machinery Row Bicycles (Blair St.)
7:30p ARRIVAL at Olin Park