Bike friendly Madison, WI

Cycling in Madison WI

Cycling in Madison WI

Business took me on my first trip ever to Wisconsin and Madison. Over the years I’ve read about Madison’s cycling friendliness, it’s ranked 7th by Bicycling Magazine, and now had my first opportunity to see it up close.

The first clue came at the airport at the Madison tourism/information station where their bike map was prominently displayed. No ordinary bike map, this one comes with extensive, detailed and illustrated instructions for riding safely, commuting, registration and laws, pre-ride checklists, parental advice, and links to government resources, bicycle organizations and contacts. If not already, this map and information should be a standard everywhere.

For routes, the map shows bike lanes or paved shoulders, bike paths, and even where the bike path runs on sidewalks. Bike boxes provide an extra margin of safety, these set the traffic back a few feet from the intersection. And bike boulevards are specially marked low volume, low speed, local streets that “take the shared roadway bike facility to a new level.”

Madison appeared to be on the flat side. Although I didn’t get a chance to ride, I saw lots of bikes on porches and locked-up in racks around the city.

After seeing this, I’m going to contact the city to see if we can put together a few basic maps and add signage, as David Marcus suggested in a comment to an earlier blog post.

6 thoughts on “Bike friendly Madison, WI

  1. Maybe this is something we could do ourselves. Who better to map the bike routes of Norwalk than Norwalk cyclists?

    Perhaps SWRPA or City Hall could lend us somebody with GIS skills to help put together the map? Otherwise, we could build it as a custom map on Google Maps. The bicycle layer ( already has most of Norwalk’s trails mapped out.

    • Thanks David. Would you like to write a little about it? I would be happy to post it. —–Original Message—–

    • Great idea. Some kind of synchronicity is happening: I had a similar but more limited thought yesterday following the parade on how to help commuters see that riding to the station is safe and do-able in 20 minutes or less. On the way in to work today it seemed that a good number of people would find a maximum ride of 3 miles realistic and perhaps worth trying. To map the routes, all that needs to be done is to draw 3-mile radius circles around the train stations and start plotting some routes. I’ll check out the bike layer you mentioned; maybe it’s already done. If not, I’m most familiar with riding to the E. Norwalk and S. Norwalk stations. I really don’t know Rowayton. If you would like to, we can work on this jointly. Which station would you like to plan? —–Original Message—–

    • I think I know all the stations well enough to plot routes to them…except for Merritt 7, which is pretty tough to reach on bike.

      I put together a first stab at a bike map for Norwalk. I mapped out the trails and roads with shoulders, as well as the roads that aren’t very nice to bike. It doesn’t really highlight preferred routes to destinations like train stations, although maybe that should be included?

      Check it out and let me know what you think…

    • David – you did a lot of great work. We can take the map to my contact Kathy Hebert in City Hall – she’s the head of Norwalk’s administrative services and a support of efforts to make Norwalk more bike friendly and see what she suggests. In reply to your question, yes, adding routes to the stations would be a good idea, as would locating bike racks throughout the city. There are a lot of directions this map can take to develop further. How about talking it over one day?

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