Bike News

Monday Update: SW Path closure, public market preview, volunteer open house

Last Week

Road construction woes continue. As discussed at length, the big construction projects at the “hairball intersection” (John Nolen/Blount/Williamson) and at First Street have posed challenges to people biking through areas. But as Karla on our Facebook community pointed out: “Even though it’s a cluster right now, at least I can get thru there faster by bike than car. That makes me smile everyday I commute by bike.”

Photo credit: Rick Leib

A group of high school students from Oshkosh came on a field trip to Madison. It wasn’t an ordinary field trip, though: The students were on bikes, and the theme was bike-friendly communities. Our board member Pete Wilson, Steve Arnold from Bike Fitchburg, and a number of other Madison volunteers took the students around town and showed off our city’s bike infrastructure.

This week

SW Path detour signage

Did I mention construction? Well, I have another one for you: From Monday through Friday, between 9am and 3:30pm, the Southwest Path will be closed between Crazylegs Plaza and Commonwealth. MGE is working on the power poles in that stretch. Fortunately there will be a good marked detour in place: “The sections of the detour that will use Regent (eastbound) and Monroe (westbound) will have a lane marked off for cyclists to use.”

The bike week starts on Wednesday this week. You can pick between two options. The Madison Public Market project is moving along, and you can get a sneak peek of their building and provide feedback at an open house. The goal for the market is to be a very bike-friendly destination, and at the open house you can offer input on how to best achieve that. Bonus: There will be free food and samples from future market vendors. 5-7pm, 200 N First St (City of Madison Fleet Services Building). RSVP appreciated but not necessary.

Also on Wednesday is the Transportation Commission’s regular meeting. Some items of interest on the agenda:

  • Approval of a million-dollar upgrade to the traffic signals on East Wash. The goal is to “improve travel times and lessen traffic congestion along the entire USH-151/East Washington Ave corridor including 21 signalized intersections.” Color me skeptical about the promise of less congestion — ultimately the improvements in capacity most likely will be eaten up by induced demand (i.e. more people opting to drive). There is no mention of buses specifically. But hopefully the new system will be capable of things that can speed up buses on this future BRT corridor, such as extending the green phase for an approaching bus.
  • Also up for approval is the new bus route to Sun Prairie. While its service will be limited to the morning and evening rush hour only, it’s great to see more transit connections to our neighboring communities.
  • Other proposed changes to Metro service will also be discussed.
  • Most relevant for biking, the commission will receive an update on the “Criteria to Evaluate the Success of the Pilot” of new bike infrastructure on Bassett. In case you missed it previously, the city plans on installing parking-protected bike lanes on a stretch of Bassett, but only on a trial basis for now.

Route 23 proposed map

Proposed Route 23 between Sun Prairie and downtown Madison

Want to test ride a fancy road bike? Come to Neff Cycle Service on Friday afternoon for a BMC demo event, followed by a group ride.

And if you’re interested in supporting Madison Bikes and Madison Bike Week through volunteering, come to the Volunteer Open House at Cafe Domestique. You can help us by distributing posters, chalking the bike paths, helping with our party at the end of week, and more. We know that volunteering for the first time can be daunting, and so we’re hosting a Volunteer Open House where you can ask questions, meet our board members and fellow volunteers. Drop by any time between 5-7 pm at Cafe Domestique, 1408 Williamson Street. Please RSVP by email or on Facebook.

Madison Bike Week is less than a month away!

Speaking of volunteering, on Saturday you can help the Capital City Offroad Pathfinders get our local trails in shape at three different workdays, at Quarry Park, Sheehan Park, and the Farm. Or you join the Bike & Brew Ride. Registration is $25, and the proceeds go to Freewheel Bikes.

And finally, on Saturday REI is hosting their second Big Backyard Bike Bash. Madison Bikes will be tabling at the event, and you can donate used bike and parts to Dreambikes. REI “will have our bike techs on site from 10am – 4pm to perform safety checks on your bicycles and advise you on any repairs or fixes that might be needed to be road worthy. Plus, there will be a bike wash station to keep all the bikes in your quiver clean and looking fresh for a new year. To satisfy your desire to learn new things, we will have classes and presentations running throughout the day on bicycle touring, bikepacking, roadside repair, bicycle shoes and pedal selection and tube and tire selections.”

As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on our Community Bike Calendar. Email us at to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, consider donating to Madison Bikes.