Friday, May 27, 2011

Thanks to City Engineering for being responsive

Sometimes we need to thank people for doing the right thing. Public employees have gotten beat up a lot in Wisconsin over the last few months, and I'd like to be sure we thanks them when they respond to citizen input and concerns. OK, I may have a bit more pull, because I know who to email or call, due to my alder tenure, but I'm just an average, if well informed citizen.

Yesterday, I sent the email below to the Madison City Engineer, Rob Phillips along with the photo seen below.

Rob - 
Not sure who on your staff is overseeing the N Lake St project. Please forward as needed.
Please see attached photo. It is facing the northbound traffic, i.e. the direction that is allowed during the project.  
Why do bicyclists need to walk? Most bicyclists are going to be going the same speed or faster than the motorized traffic in this area, so I see no reason why they can't ride int he lane, just like everyone else. 
Perhaps this sign is courtesy of the contractor, who simply does not recognize the legal status and abilities of bicyclists. If so, could you have a word with them to have them take it down?
Now, if they want to put that sign up facing southbound - where bicyclists will certainly be wanting to make the transition from Langdon to State St - that would make more sense. However, I am hoping that there will soon be a small counterflow lane on N Lake for bicyclists. The Lakeshore Path => Langdon => State St route is a pretty major bike route without a good alternative. (See below regarding this discussion at a City-UW committee.) 
Moving on to the Langdon project that will be coming up later this summer, at the Joint West Campus Area Committee, we asked if it would be possible to keep a counterflow lane open for bicyclists during the project. I would guess that both the 800 block of Langdon and N Lake between State and Langdon get as much or more bicycle traffic than car traffic in summer. Since the State St Mall does not allow biking, and University is very far out of the way for those trying to get from State St to the Lakeshore Path - a very major bike route - I would hope this request from our meeting could be accommodated.  
Thanks for your help in these matters.
I got an email back this morning, with various City Engineering staff cc'd, agreeing that the sign could be removed. I'm headed down that way now, but I assume that it is either gone or will be soon. 

So, I just wanted to thank City Engineering for responding so quickly. I expected that they would recognize that bicyclists are both legal users of the road, so there is no reason they need to walk their bikes instead of riding them, because this is Madison, and staff are very supportive of bicycling, but taking care of the problem is what really counts.

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