Weekly update: our letter to the City and of course, more COVID-19

Person riding family cargo bike in front of Wisconsin State Capitol

We might be social distancing, but Jake Foley sent us this photo of his family enjoying an Easter ride downtown.

COVID-19 and social distancing continue. Because I worked at the polls, I'm currently completely quarantined in my apartment. My biking activity is limited to sadly looking at my locked-up bike from my fire escape - but for those of you allowed to leave the house, stay safe out there and read our updates below!

Madison Bikes letter to the City of Madison on creating space for people during COVID-19

Madison Bikes sent a letter to the City of Madison supporting the idea of opening some lanes and roads to pedestrians and bicycles during the pandemic. These proposals are not meant to encourage group rides or group walks. Across the city, there are severely reduced traffic volumes and a need for folks to be able to safely exercise, as well as for essential workers to get to work across the city, especially with restrictions placed on buses. We believe the City should follow in lead of other cities like Oakland in opening roads to people. Consider, for example, that the average sidewalk is less than 6 feet wide; without opening streets to people, it is impossible for folks to walk to work, the grocery store, or walk their dog without passing close to others.Ā 

Transportation Commission

The Transportation Commission will meet virtually at 5 pm on Wednesday. If you have never been to a Transportation Commission meeting (or any other City meetings), this is a great opportunity. Expect to hear updates from the staff about the work that has been done thus far to address COVID-19 impacts. The Commission will also discuss the Garver Path and the proposed University Avenue reconstruction, which includes a multi-use overpass. We've written about this project before.

You can register to speak at this virtual meeting.Ā 

If you enjoy being able to access these meetings from your home, consider letting the City know that you would appreciate this service after the pandemic. Virtual meetings are great for parents, folks who live far from the Capitol (especially those dependent on bikes and buses for transit), people with disabilities, and more.Ā 

Staying safe while riding

More vulnerable riders, such as those with children, may feel more comfortable on the bike paths.Ā If you are a more experienced rider, consider riding on streets when possible, as paths have at times been crowded. If you usually feel intimidated by riding on the road, we recommend giving it a try - lower car traffic means a lower-stress ride! If you're looking for tips and tricks, we recommend joining our Facebook group.

Governor Evers has closed 40 state parks, forests, and recreational areasĀ due to "unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and the need to protect the health and safety of...visitors and staff." Trails and other areas that are maintained by Dane County and the City of MadisonĀ remain open, but your help is needed to keep these places available. When you ride or walk in these areas, give people at least 6 feet of space. Only pass when you can pass everyone near you with at least 6 feet of space. Wear a cloth mask, stay home if you or someone in your household feels sick, and remain patient. Remember that many of us are cooped up inside, including those with kids. If you are riding recreationally or for mental health, try to choose times that are less busy.

Need a bike or a tune up?Ā 

As a reminder, bike shops are deemed essential businesses. Before turning to your local shop, refer to our map for more information. We appreciate any updates you may have about the status of bike shops. Please keep staff safe by washing your hands, disinfecting your bike before dropping it off, wearing a cloth mask, and keeping your distance. We encourage you to give your business to these shops.

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As always, you can find an overview of all bike events on ourĀ Community Bike Calendar. Email us at info@madisonbikes.org to add your events. And if you value our newsletter and other work, considerĀ donatingĀ to Madison Bikes. For construction updates, check out theĀ city's Bike Madison page.

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