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North Sherman Avenue Proposal

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:38 pm

DCB wrote:
Ninja wrote:I’m pretty disgusted by this whole idea. Why Sherman? I drive the entire length at least twice a day and I see a bike commuter maybe once or twice a week, tops.

Many bicyclists avoid the road because it appears dangerous. The plan is to make it less dangerous. Then,you'll see more bike commuters.
Duh.


Fair enough. But why, instead of waiting and hoping for the phantom riders to appear in order to justify this at a later date, would it not be implemented in a neighborhood that alraedy has bike riders who are visible to the naked eye, and who are currently riding with an obviously inadequate infrastructure? Is this a Field of Dreams type thing?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby minicat » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:52 pm

Prepare to see a lot of "phantom riders" this summer. Some sort of legitimate bicycle route to the north side has been needed for many years, and thank goodness the alder (Satya) and the city council finally did something about it, rather than another 15 years of NIMBYs like Ninja complaining and blocking progress.

I rode on Sherman most days last summer because it was the most direct and least hilly route to downtown (the marked bicycle route which winds around randomly in the neighborhood east of Sherman really, really sucks, as does riding on the sidewalk). And it was scary as hell some days. I nearly got run down or knocked over by people who refused to move over to the left lane probably a dozen different times.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby massimo » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:09 am

Ninja wrote:Why not do something like this in the Vilas neighborhood (ie Monroe, Regent) instead? There are tons of actual bikers there - no expectancy-based extrapolations of data necessary. There are virtually no bike lanes anywhere. It’s illegal to ride on most of the sidewalks. And it’s an already-strong economy focused almost entirely on boutique businesses and student services rather than gas stations and commuter services like we have on Sherman.

There are bike paths all over that part of town. The SW commuter path runs parallel to Monroe for just about the entire length of that street. Plus, on Monroe itself, it's true there are no bike lanes but for a good part of it you have one lane of traffic and one lane occupied by parked cars, making biking a much more comfortable proposition.

I just don't understand this idea that making cars drive in single file is going to kill business on this street. Where other than Vic Pierce are people going to one-eye drive to extend their late night buzz (assuming that Maple Bluff follows suit)?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:22 am

massimo wrote:(assuming that Maple Bluff follows suit)?

Maple Bluff's public hearing on the matter is tonight. I suspect strong (read: passionate) arguments on both sides.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby DCB » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:06 am

Ninja wrote:Fair enough. But why, instead of waiting and hoping for the phantom riders to appear in order to justify this at a later date, would it not be implemented in a neighborhood that alraedy has bike riders who are visible to the naked eye, and who are currently riding with an obviously inadequate infrastructure? Is this a Field of Dreams type thing?


The Sherman Ave. proposal didn't just pop up out of nowhere. It is the result of years of discussion about improving bike/ped access in that area. Many citizens actively lobbied for those improvements.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby barney » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:39 am

DCB wrote:
Ninja wrote:Fair enough. But why, instead of waiting and hoping for the phantom riders to appear in order to justify this at a later date, would it not be implemented in a neighborhood that alraedy has bike riders who are visible to the naked eye, and who are currently riding with an obviously inadequate infrastructure? Is this a Field of Dreams type thing?


The Sherman Ave. proposal didn't just pop up out of nowhere. It is the result of years of discussion about improving bike/ped access in that area. Many citizens actively lobbied for those improvements.


And I believe the wait was for Northport/Packers to be improved so it could serve as the primary artery that it was designed to be (see East Wash vs. Willy Street).

I hope Maple Bluff decides to participate - anyone know if there are assessments, or are Madison, and Maple Bluff if they go along, just coughing up the money?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby rabble » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Ninja wrote:Fair enough. But why, instead of waiting and hoping for the phantom riders to appear in order to justify this at a later date, would it not be implemented in a neighborhood that alraedy has bike riders who are visible to the naked eye, and who are currently riding with an obviously inadequate infrastructure? Is this a Field of Dreams type thing?

This question kept bugging me and I couldn't figure out why.

I think I might have figured it out. Ninja seems to be assuming that if one sees lots of bicyclists in an area it means they need more bike paths and if you don't, then no bike lane is needed.

I think that notion is totally bassackwards but I bet he isn't the only one who thinks that way. That could well be the unspoken impetus to much of the push against this project and loss of business is just easier to vocalize and push.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:26 pm

rabble wrote:
Ninja wrote:Fair enough. But why, instead of waiting and hoping for the phantom riders to appear in order to justify this at a later date, would it not be implemented in a neighborhood that alraedy has bike riders who are visible to the naked eye, and who are currently riding with an obviously inadequate infrastructure? Is this a Field of Dreams type thing?

This question kept bugging me and I couldn't figure out why.

I think I might have figured it out. Ninja seems to be assuming that if one sees lots of bicyclists in an area it means they need more bike paths and if you don't, then no bike lane is needed.


I believe in serving an existing demand, not just doing superficial things to look cool.

The Overture Center is, in my opinion, a prime example of Madison's tendency to do the latter. There's no need or demand for an "arts district" in this town, but we got one, and the consequences have been significant. Same thing would have happened with a commuter train between Madison and Milwaukee. Same thing will likely happen some day with a municipal public market.

I don't believe that there are enough bikers on Sherman to justify the economic harm that will come from pushing drivers onto Packers. The daily commuter business that's lost will never be made up by weekend day trippers heading to the Frugal Muse on their bikes. That seems quite elementary to me.

And if everybody's okay with that, then go for it. But all I hear is people talking about this isn't going to hurt these businesses much, if at all. Some have even suggested that it will help. That's absolutely ridiculous. There will be costs associated with this change, and they will be levied against a neighborhood that's already facing serious, serious economic struggles.

Again, if you want to let it die so that bikers will have a more comfortable ride, that's fine. But do it honestly and own the consequences of the policy you endorse.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:47 pm

barney wrote:I hope Maple Bluff decides to participate - anyone know if there are assessments, or are Madison, and Maple Bluff if they go along, just coughing up the money?

I've seen estimates of total cost at $100,000. I can't imagine Maple Bluff would be completely off the hook, but I found this:
The Common Council approved the proposal of the Traffic Engineering Dept. and appropriated $100,000 from the Contingent Reserve to fund it,


edit: The City of Madison Traffic Engineering document (p. 14) indicates that "Cost sharing with the Village of Maple Bluff will need to be determined."
Last edited by jman111 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby acereraser » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:54 pm

Ninja wrote:I believe in serving an existing demand, not just doing superficial things to look cool.


As a new resident of the Northside, I demanded a safe bike path from my alder (Schumacher) in early 2006. That demand still exists, but the bike path does not. At this point, I might settle for a cool-looking superficial one, just for a modicum of satisfaction.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:59 pm

Ninja wrote:I believe in serving an existing demand, not just doing superficial things to look cool.


I live on Commercial Ave. The road was totally gutted a few years back. Prior to that there were no bike lanes and I rarely ever saw a bike on that street. Lo and behold, they put bike lanes in and I see plenty of bike traffic on that street now. I know it's a different area, different dynamics, but it goes against your notion that if you don't see it, the demand doesn't exist.

Also, I like riding out to Cherokee Marsh. It's a beautiful area, but I absolutely hate Sherman for cycling so I rarely go there.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:14 pm

acereraser wrote:As a new resident of the Northside, I demanded a safe bike path from my alder (Schumacher) in early 2006. That demand still exists, but the bike path does not. At this point, I might settle for a cool-looking superficial one, just for a modicum of satisfaction.


And you should absolutely have a bike path to downtown from the Northside. That makes perfect sense.

What I question is the sense of fundamentally altering the entire nature of a street (which happens to be the only spot on the Northside that contains any concentrated economic activity) rather than finding a suitable off-street alternative. And don't front, there is a suitable off-street alternative, even if it's complicated and expensive for the city.

But apparently that's off the table, because this town is run like a hobby. So the expense will be imposed on the businesses on Sherman via a drastic change in car traffic, and that will have consequences for them. And that means consequences for this entire part of town. I'm suprised you're so cavalier about that.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby massimo » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:32 pm

Help me understand something. Aside from the Northgate Shopping Center and Lakewood Plaza (technically in Maple Bluff*), what other concentrated economic activity do we have on Sherman Ave? As far as the north side goes, the bulk of businesses are up near Sherman and Northport, and I'd have to call Northport the major artery in that part of the hood.

Anyway, screw it, I just moved away from near there, good luck with your crappy street.

*--what happened with that public hearing anyway? Wait, LMGTFM...
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:37 pm

massimo wrote:Help me understand something. Aside from the Northgate Shopping Center and Lakewood Plaza (technically in Maple Bluff*), what other concentrated economic activity do we have on Sherman Ave?


I'm sure I'm missing a couple but I count 4 businesses on Packers off the top of my head (PDQ, Smoky Jon's, the Villa and the new Ale Asylum). Compare that to the concentration of businesses on Sherman in the same distance. That's what I mean.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:25 am

The Maple Bluff public hearing offered no particularly unique or helpful insight. The village was apparently not consulted by the city of Madison prior to the city's decision to move forward with this. Madison's traffic engineering rep (who started the hearing with a brief presentation of the project) stated that the Bluff had been "informed" of the city's intentions. I believe his name was David Dryer. The city felt it was appropriate to wait until their plans were finalized to present them to the village, rather than including them in the development of said plans.

The village is faced with either continuing the city's planned conversion through the village segment (from the tracks just south of Roth St to Fordem) or maintaining the current setup for that segment. The "village segment" includes a portion that is entirely within the village and a portion which is shared by the city and village (with the center line as the boundary line). It appears, based on Mr Dryer's statements, that the city plans to cover the costs associated with the conversion for the entire length of the project and also contribute to future maintenance of the village segment.

Those in favor generally cited safety concerns, especially peds and bikes. Opposition came mainly from business concerns, with some discussion of the increased congestion caused by the trains (only having one lane in each direction instead of two to hold backed-up traffic). And one guy seemed pretty convinced that this was the city's first step in introducing light rail right down the middle of N Sherman. He was entertaining, to say the least.
Last edited by jman111 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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