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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 acereraser » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:37 pm

rabble wrote:It is interesting to me that all the animosity from ninjy and sylvie is towards the city, the bikers, and anyone who had or might have had a hand in the project EXCEPT for the railroad which could have easily made the whole thing unnecessary.


I stopped at Vic Pierce Monday evening, and chatted with a couple workers there about it, mostly because it was presently occurring. They had mixed feelings about the new configuration, but with fair reasoning, instead of anything like anti-bike bias. One of the guys also drives beer truck, and delivers to Busse's Markway. He figures he will have to park illegally on the side street, because he can't just park in front on Sherman anymore, even temporarily. They did agree with me that up until the change, riding a bike on Sherman seemed to be asking for trouble, and some change should be made.

They also had no idea about the Sherman Flyer bike path plan, how long it has been drawn up, and that the railroad company was not even responding to the city's inquiries for years. Next time I'm in (or anywhere else the topic comes up), I will be sure to mention the Cap Times article.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby sylvie » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:08 pm

I am trying to refrain from using the word "sneaky" but usually the alder or someone sends out postcards whenever there is a meeting to discuss something of community import- whether, e.g., it's the city well next to Shabazz or killing geese in the park.

Many people were unaware of this until after it was a done deal; I'm sure you know that. I'm all for democracy and can live with what the majority wants most of the time but am not happy when some try to get things through quietly because they fear there would be a lot of objections.

To repeat - I will wait and see how this turns out and what the neighbors think of it - all of them - I just don't like the process.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:11 pm

sylvie wrote:I am trying to refrain from using the word "sneaky" but usually the alder or someone sends out postcards whenever there is a meeting to discuss something of community import- whether, e.g., it's the city well next to Shabazz or killing geese in the park.


Have you talked to your alder about this?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby gargantua » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:24 pm

I don't think we should let the railroad off the hook for their part in all this. It is a pattern of behavior I saw all too well years ago when I worked at DOT. We had a paper mill, employing hundreds, literally begging a railroad for service....and they were on the rail line! They came to us to ask the Governor (Doyle) to intervene because the railroad would not respond to them.

To the best of my knowledge, Doyle declined to intervene because there was no reason to believe the railroad would be any more responsive to him.

Moral: For those of us who fancy rail....they need to lose that "fuck you" behavior post haste.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Bad Gradger » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:58 pm

Funny, I got a postcard and so did the other 100 people who showed up at the meeting last fall. I wonder if sylvie threw hers out with the junk mail?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby scottyp65 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:39 am

The thing that really bothers me most about this whole situation is that I understand people's complaints about the old configuration of Sherman Avenue. I agree we can improve on that model, and that biking on that road was downright dangerous. My main issue is we went from a solution that catered to commuter traffic over everyone else to a solution that caters to 100-150 bikers over everyone else. Nobody bothered to figure out what was best for the homeowners, the businesses, the neighborhood residences or any long term vision that we have for Sherman Avenue. And on top of that, it gets frustrating listening to the obnoxious attitude people on this board have for anyone who expresses a different opinion.

Why do we have to wait for a few businesses to go belly up before we assess if this is the right move? Is that fair to those business owners? Why would anyone take a chance to open a new business on this side of town if your going to run them out of business the first chance you get.

I looked at a map for about 10 seconds and saw an obvious route for a bike path that seems to meet everyone's needs. Send it down Fremont Ave to Logan to Hooker over the RR tracks to Kensington in Maple Bluff and come out where Sherman and Fordem intersect. Have to build a path over the tracks and around the country club, but that should be easy. Why wasn't this route considered? Nobody even talked to Maple Bluff about any alternatives.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby scottyp65 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:58 am

gargantua wrote:
scottyp65 wrote: As of today, that is going to businesses on Packers Ave and in other parts of the city.


OK. We get it. You don't care about the businesses on N. Sherman that much after all.

And since I live in another part of the city, thank you very much for your money.


No you don't get it. Let me explain. I do most of my shopping and errands at places convenient to my routes to and from work. When I set my goal to spend more money on the north side, I deliberately changed my commuter route to Sherman Avenue to make the businesses there the most convenient for me to stop for gas, stop at Pierce's, pick something up for dinner, get a haircut, etc. Now that my route has changed back to Packers, I will stop at other places. It has nothing to do with how much I care about the north side businesses. I'm not going to go out of my way to fill up with gas on the Citgo on Sherman when I can go to the gas station on Packers/Pennsylvania that I will drive by twice a day.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby minicat » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:24 am

scottyp65 wrote:

I looked at a map for about 10 seconds and saw an obvious route for a bike path that seems to meet everyone's needs. Send it down Fremont Ave to Logan to Hooker over the RR tracks to Kensington in Maple Bluff and come out where Sherman and Fordem intersect. Have to build a path over the tracks and around the country club, but that should be easy. Why wasn't this route considered? Nobody even talked to Maple Bluff about any alternatives.


Same railroad that wouldn't respond to city requests for an easement on the other side of Sherman ... also, it's sort of a different point, but why should the bikes have to go way around and out of the way? That's the problem with the Ruskin "bike route" that nobody uses ...

scottyp65 wrote: My main issue is we went from a solution that catered to commuter traffic over everyone else to a solution that caters to 100-150 bikers over everyone else.


Huh? It's not like they closed the road to cars. Why can't cars and bikes share the most direct, least hilly corridor to that side of town?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:53 am

scottyp65 wrote:My main issue is we went from a solution that catered to commuter traffic over everyone else to a solution that caters to 100-150 bikers over everyone else.


Except you can't look at it from individual riders, but rides made. Let's say currently 5 cyclist use Sherman to commute every day. That number is probably way low, but let's keep it at that for arguments sake. That's 5 rides to work, 5 rides back. 10 riders in a day over the course of the biking season is about 6000 commutes for the potential to stop and frequent businesses. Add a nice bike lane and you can easily double that number. You've now got about 12,000 commutes over the course of the season and I believe those numbers to be conservative.

scottyp65 wrote:Why do we have to wait for a few businesses to go belly up before we assess if this is the right move?


scottyp65 wrote:No you don't get it. Let me explain. I do most of my shopping and errands at places convenient to my routes to and from work. When I set my goal to spend more money on the north side, I deliberately changed my commuter route to Sherman Avenue to make the businesses there the most convenient for me to stop for gas, stop at Pierce's, pick something up for dinner, get a haircut, etc.


So you really don't care about the businesses, you care about your convenience which is fine. If you don't want those businesses to go under you still have the power to frequent them. It may just take you a few minutes longer to get to them. If businesses go under because of this, it's not the city's fault, but that of impatient commuters.

I'm fine with other people's opinions, I just disagree that this is going to devastate businesses on Sherman.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby snoqueen » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:02 am

I think Sherman businesses will be fine because they're part of a healthy and prosperous neighborhood full of people who want to go out to eat, drink, and buy stuff. The businesses have a natural market that's not going away.

Send it down Fremont Ave to Logan to Hooker over the RR tracks to Kensington in Maple Bluff and come out where Sherman and Fordem intersect. Have to build a path over the tracks and around the country club, but that should be easy. Why wasn't this route considered?


I too was trying to figure out a route through Brentwood/Maple Bluff but hadn't thought of a little link crossing the tracks, which isn't a crazy idea unless there's some legal reason the railroad, with their helpful attitude, can block even such a minimal request.

Getting from the end of Hooker or Fremont to Kensington is the trick for that link.

There's some precedent for using existing streets in the bike route around Lake Monona, which uses residential Monona streets and then Waunona Way on the south. If Maple Bluff would be as cooperative as Monona, it'd be OK. (Maybe they're fine with this -- I don't know.) Unfortunately both the Monona/Waunona Way and Maple Bluff routes are hilly. This is less than ideal for people pulling kids in trailers and for older or less fit riders. The railroad routes are nearly flat and nearly arrow-straight, which is what makes them so perfect for commuting.

Are there other bike commuters coming in town from the north side who have found workarounds to using Sherman or can explain the reasons it's impossible? We need a way just from the south part of Warner Park to Fordem/Old Sherman. A path north through Warner Park to Sherman or Northport should be a slam dunk because it's all city property, and once at Old Sherman you can pick up the city bike path system at the Yahara River.

Since everyone's been complaining about no public input on the Sherman project, maybe we can crowdsource this last missing piece and come up with something helpful if not ideal.

Why should bikes have to go out of the way if Sherman is the straightest route? They can still use Sherman, particularly if the new lane configuration turns out to be workable (which relies on through traffic accepting the Packers Ave route, and that remains to be seen). We're just seeking a parallel alternate for those who don't like traffic, are out to ride not shop, or do like a more residential route. Why should bikes be stuck on only one thoroughfare?

In Monona, bikers can use the residential street route (marked) or ride on a new bike path on rebuilt Monona Drive, which IMO is only for the hardcore due to all the driveways. I've only seen a few bikes on it, but it's a separate lane and if you want it, it's there. Two alternatives are good, and the same could be said for the Sherman neighborhoods.

It's my experience bikers tend to be like water flowing or ants marching, and somehow find and use the best way regardless of all the engineering in the world. They'll cut through parking lots, jump curbs, and do whatever it takes and the way they mysteriously reach unanimity on some shortcut is nothing less than amazing. So far they've been stymied by the railroad in this case. I think the railroad also tried to stop the Capital City Trail where it crosses the tracks and connects with Waunona Way, but that was like stopping the ants marching and they finally gave up. Maybe it can be done again.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:07 am

Also, everyone keeps focusing on cyclists, but another piece of this is making it safer for pedestrians. By making it one lane, you slow down and reduce traffic making it easier for folks in the neighborhood to frequent those businesses.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Matt Logan » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:28 am

I rode down N Sherman on my bicycle Tuesday during rush hour. The reconfiguration seems to be working great. There were no "backups for miles" as opponents had suggested. Traffic was definitely moving more slowly - and not just because one person in front might be going slow - I saw individual cars with no one in front of them travelling slowly too. There were plenty of gaps for pedestrians (and drivers) crossing N. Sherman to use.

slow2.jpg
The N. Sherman Reconfiguration is slowing down traffic!
slow2.jpg (47.8 KiB) Viewed 168 times


I expected to see a lot more confusion as people grew accustomed to the reconfiguration, but there simply wasn't any. In short, the reconfiguration seems to be a win for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

On the topic of why not an alternate route: I looked 10 years ago, and quickly realized that N. Sherman is the flattest and most direct route available to Northside businesses on bicycle. I currently live in the Marquette neighborhood, and the reconfiguration now creates a route that is almost all paths and bike lanes that puts the businesses within a 10-minute bike ride from my neighborhood. Before the reconfiguration, the quickest path/lane route took 40 minutes. I hope the Northside businesses are trying to tap into the new market they just got connected to so they can win too!
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby jman111 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:13 am

From an unrelated article about Yellow Jersey's move, but this quote seems applicable here:
But Mary Carbine, the executive director of the Madison Central Business Improvement District, says there is really nothing surprising about the move.

"The one thing that is constant about State Street or any other small business environment is that it is always changing," Carbine says. "It is sad to see such a longtime business go but change is really a constant and businesses change to respond to the market."
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby minicat » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:17 am

Sno, Scottyp is right on about Fremont being the best of various alternate routes if you don't want to be on Sherman. It's the least out of the way, particularly if you do some sidewalk riding for a few blocks at either end (it ends at the park on the north end and dead ends a couple blocks before Aberg at the south end). However, after exploring every route in that area I have to say I'm not sure where the railroad tracks are, though, in relation to where Fremont ends. Wouldn't that also involve going through some apartment complex parking lots or back yards or something to even get to where the tracks go through? I've sure never crossed them on any streets.

A scenic option if you're coming from west of Sherman and north of Northport is to cut back around the Warner Park Lagoon; following the path all the way back through the park dumps you out on Sheridan, which gradually will wind you around to about a block south of Aberg as well (via a couple turns). This has some pretty good hills, though.

It's all in where you're going to/coming from as far as what's going to be out of the way. Anyone living on the east side of Sherman would find the Fremont route somewhat out of the way, and obviously going thru Warner Park is way out of the way. Folks over there are mostly stuck with that horrible Ruskin-based up-and-downhill, uncontrolled intersections mess.

Ultimately, North Sherman is easily the most direct and flattest route ...
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby snoqueen » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:57 am

Wouldn't that also involve going through some apartment complex parking lots or back yards or something to even get to where the tracks go through?


I had to look at google maps to see where the tracks run -- they're not visible from anywhere, but they go parallel to Sheridan for quite a ways, behind people's houses.

I think a bike path would need to go over part of the Maplewood (?) condo property (toward the back) in order to make a crossing of the railroad tracks. I bet an easement could be negotiated, since it could be an asset to the condo association to have such easy bike path access.

I agree about the two sides of Sherman having different workable routes.

There's an official bike route that winds around in the hills on either side of Buckeye Rd on the east side (in an effort to provide a route around the lake that doesn't use the sidewalk along Atwood/Monona Dr). Hardly anybody uses that more than once. So if a route is both hilly and totally out-of-the-way, we can pretty much guess it won't work on the north side either.
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