Last week we had two public meetings about plans affecting major bike corridors in Madison. Crazylegs
John Nolen Drive/Blair Street
The second-to-last public involvement meeting about the study to finalize plans for the John Nolen Drive and Blair Street corridor happened last Wednesday. Our Action Alert has some background reading. The meeting was well attended, and I saw many Madison Bikes board members and supporters in the audience. I will report in more depth on this in a separate post, but for now let's say that the meeting was mostly encouraging. Strand Associates, the planning firm in charge of the project, and city engineering had clearly taken to heart some of the feedback they received at previous meetings. The plan that they presented as their final recommendation contains significant improvements for people walking and biking. Some aspects that need further work remain, and there is the larger issue that some of the biking and walking improvements such as an underpass under John Nolen Drive at North Shore will only happen many years down the road. But compared to many other major street reconstruction projects that we have seen in Madison in the recent past, I was quite happy with the outcome. Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis. In the meantime you can look at the presentation and exhibits from the meeting here.
Speaking of other street reconstruction projects, our board member Robbie has this to report from last week's Crazylegs meeting:
Urban Assets, a consulting company running the public involvement process for the Monroe Street reconstruction, held the first open house to gather ideas for the triangle of Breese Terrace, Monroe, and Regent Streets. The small street that cuts through the triangle – currently named Crazylegs Lane and an extension of Oakland that continues south towards Vilas Park – will be going away as part of the redesign. This will mean one less street to cross on the Southwest Path and less fragmentation of the remaining plaza. Most people riding bikes probably currently experience this area by biking past it or across it, especially if you use the Southwest Path. But it is also a crossroads of several neighborhoods as well as a transition between campus and neighborhood, commercial to residential, and downtown to west side.
Fortunately, everyone agreed that the path needed to be maintained or even improved, and various ideas to build on the existing use primarily as a bicycle corridors were offered. Another connection that was deemed important to maintain was the connection between the SW Path and Oakland, as this is a critical link for those living to the south of the Camp Randall area.
We went out and walked around the triangle and discussed what we liked, what we didn’t, and what we might like to see there. More green space, seating, a bike repair station, vending during football games and other events, a place for gathering or performances, artwork? Any and all are under consideration. Based on the discussion and input during the workshop on Tuesday, Ken Saiki Designs will come up with some suggested improvements and present them on September 14 at Wingra School. There will also be ideas for the entrance to Wingra Park, which we considered during a previous meeting.
If you are interested in what stays the same or changes in either of these locations, mark your calendar to attend. The link above is a sign up, but that’s just so they can plan for how many people to expect. Alder Sara Eskrich’s webpage is a good place to keep track of all the meetings, designs, and discussions.
Mondays Around Monona started last week (picture on the top) and will continue into the fall. Join We Are All Mechanics for a loop around Lake Monona, open to beginners and more advanced riders alike.
On Tuesday join Bombay Bicycle Club and Madison Bikes for the Wheels for Winners Ride & Social. Support Wheels for Winners by donating bike parts and tools before and after the ride. Any donations are welcome, but they particularly need seats, cable cutters and mountain bike parts. The ride starts at the Olbrich biergarten at 5:30pm, loops around the lake with a stop at Wheels for Winners, and then ends with a social at the beer garden.
The Monroe Street Reconstruction Final Corridor Design Open House will take place on Wednesday. This will be the final public meeting about the general design of the corridor before construction actually starts. Our Madison Bikes Advocacy Committee has its meeting that day as well.
On Saturday, as warm-up for the Tour de Fat Madison with Atlas Genius on August 23, benefiting the Bike Fed, you can join a "bike crawl," starting at the Tip Top Tavern.
Exciting news about the Lower Yahara Trail: September 1 is the official opening date for the new trail connecting Lake Farm Park with MacFarland. Hold the date, and watch out for "construction cranes"... (Photo courtesy of Jim Post)
And don't forget the Madison Bikes Annual Party on September 12 at the High Noon Saloon.
On Tuesday, the Common Council adopted new restrictions on moped parking. Mopeds used to be able to park for free on terraces (the space between sidewalk and roadway), which the public paid for. Effective January 2018, this will no longer be allowed. Instead, developers will have to provide moped parking themselves or strike an agreement with the city for moped parking in the public right-of-way. Especially in busy areas such as downtown, the new rules may help allocate more space for much-needed bike parking.
Also before the Common Council was the development plan for the High-Point/Raymond Road neighborhood in southwest Madison. The most contentious issue in the plan was an extension of Jeffy Trail to connect to Raymond Road. Currently a connection just for people walking and biking, the city had argued that building out the connection for motorized traffic would be important for improving emergency access and connectivity. Neighbors consistently spoke out against the extension, and against the recommendations from the city's Plan Commission, the Common Council agreed with the neighborhood advocates and voted to remove the Jeffy Trail expansion from the plan.
The one big bike advocacy item on the calendar this week is the public input meeting on the Blair Street/John Nolen Drive corridor on Wednesday. Improving conditions for people walking and biking has consistently featured on top of the list of concerns. But the options presented so far fall short of a significant improvement in several ways. This is the second-to-last public meeting on the topic, making it crucial to get good turn-out and making sure that our voices will be heard. Learn more in this blog post and RSVP on our Facebook event.
Mark the Date
Next week Tuesday, Bombay Bicycle Club, co-sponsored by Madison Bikes, are hosting the Wheels for Winners Ride & Social. Start saving your used bike parts and tools and donate them to Wheels for Winners before or after the ride.
And on September 12, we will have the Madison Bikes Annual Party at the High Noon Saloon. More information to come soon!
Image credit: Kidical Mass Madison
Last Friday's screening and discussion of "Citizen Jane: Battle for the City" that Madison Bikes co-organized was a great success. The UW Cinematheque was fully packed and some people even had to be turned away. Thanks everyone for coming!
A pretty quiet week is coming up, with two family events on the weekend.
On Saturday, it’s the last Fitchburg family bike ride of the summer. Meet at the Leopold Community School at 9:30am.
And on Sunday, join the Kidical Mass ride to the splash pad at Goodman Center. Starting point is The Cargo Bike Shop on Willy Street.
There are a number of items of interest on this Tuesday’s Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission agenda.
First up on the agenda is the 2016 Crash Report. The good news is a significant reduction in reported crashes involving people on bikes (98, down from 118 in 2015 and 135 in 2012). The bad news is a continued increase in the overall number of crashes in Madison (5,731) resulting in an estimated $113 million in economic loss and the nine traffic related fatalities last year--five of which were pedestrians.
Adopting the Downtown Madison Bicycle & Moped Parking Study is also on the agenda. This is a study that was commissioned several years ago and is coming in front of PBMVC after going through the Plan Commission and Transit/Parking Commission. There are several recommendations from the study that Planning Division staff have taken issue with. You can review that difference of opinion in this Staff Report.
The final item on the agenda is Amending Section 12.167(2)(c) of the Madison General Ordinances to allow bicycles to be ridden within a portion of the West Mifflin Street section of the State Street Pedestrian Mall. This is an important precursor to moving forward with some infrastructure changes that will better facilitate bicycle travel from State/Mifflin/Carroll to Mifflin/Fairchild. This is another item that would benefit from emails/testimony in support.
You can attend this meeting in person and provide comment on any agenda item you wish or you can also watch the meeting online on the City Channel.
On Wednesday, the Middleton Pedestrian, Bike, Transit Committee will meet again after taking a break in June.
On Friday, consider attending Cinematheque’s screening of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City. "a timely tale of what can happen when engaged citizens fight the power for the sake of a better world. Arguably no one did more to shape our understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist and writer who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Director Matt Tyranuer (Valentino: The Last Emperor) vividly brings to life Jacobs' 1960s showdown with ruthless construction kingpin Robert Moses over his plan to raze lower Manhattan to make way for a highway, a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood." Madison Bikes is co-hosting the screening and a discussion with the executive producer of the movie, Juliet Page.
And on Saturday: Join the Clean Lakes Alliance on their Loop the Lake, their "annual bike ride around Lake Monona that highlights our community’s lakes and lakeshore bike paths."
It was great to celebrate all things bike last week! Big thanks to all the sponsors of last week’s events and to the Bike Fed for organizing Bike Week in Madison and all of Wisconsin.
And meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Common Council approved plans to reconstruct Wilson Street as-is, with no accommodations for safe and comfortable bike travel. But thanks to an amendment proposed by Alder Demarb at the Board of Public Works, and to all the comments received by residents about the need for bike facilities, the resolution also included language to “develop a plan for a bike friendly corridor on Wilson St, by the time the Judge Doyle Square Project is complete.” Construction is currently slated to be completed in 2020, at which time the eastern half of this street project (between MLK and King) will be reconstructed.
The Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission will take up the charge to develop this plan in the coming months and we’ll need your continued support to land on a recommended cross section that provides for safe and comfortable bike travel in both directions on Wilson Street. One possible design that has received positive feedback is a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of the street. Stay tuned and stay involved.
On Wednesday, Sustain Dane’s WOW Bike Tour: Sustainability Stories heads out from Lowell Elementary school at 5:15.