Archive for July, 2010

Wisconsin’s Roads Get National Recognition

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 29th , 2010.

Upper Midwest riders have recognized the incredible roads of SW Wisconsin for decades, but in the last few days the word has gotten out to a wider population. In its bid for the 2014 Olympics, Chicago’s Olympic Committee picked a route around Blue Mounds State Park, west of Madison for the challenging terrain and the low traffic roads according to the New York Times. Chicago lost out, but cyclists can still ride the route. For a complete guide to the roads in the area, check the Madison and Dane County Bike Map.

Another national publication, Adventure Cycling, featured Trempealeau County, along the Mississippi River as another cyclist’s destination.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc

Beer Line construction starts

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 26th , 2010.

A story in this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that construction has finally started on the extension of the Beer Line Trail that would follow the Milwaukee River from North Avenue to Locust Street. For several years, the trail came to a dead end in a field shortly after crossing under the North Avenue bridge.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc

More Oak Leaf Trail Construction Closures

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 26th , 2010.

In addition to the bridge over Capitol Drive in Shorewood which is presently being replaced, the trail in Estabrook park is presently closed because of reconstruction of the Estabrook Parkway and the Milwaukee River Parkway is also closed for construction, closing the trail that runs next to it. Probably the most direct detour is to follow Wilson Drive north from Capitol, continuing on Santa Monica Boulevard. Then go west on Bender to rejoin the Oak Leaf trail (see the Milwaukee map for details).

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Terry McGaughey: The Force Behind the Paul Bunyan Trail

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 24th , 2010.

Terry McGaughey, the force behind development and support of the Paul Bunyan Trail near Brainerd, MN died recently at age 71. His first involvement with the trail began in 1983 and he is remembered for his tireless efforts to bring the trail to completion and expansion. He worked effectively with everyone from local city council members to representative Jim Oberstar in the US House of Representatives.

Although I never met Terry in person, it seemed as if I was always seeing his name or hearing about his efforts on behalf of the Paul Bunyan Trail. Have Fun Biking ran this story about him in a recent newsletter. The Paul Bunyan Trail is a featured trail in Bicycle Vacation Guide.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc

A Possible Wisconsin-Illinois Wildlife Refuge

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 20th , 2010. One response

An on-line article published by Milwaukee Magazine describes a proposal for a new national wildlife refuge straddling the state line and covering parts of Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties in Wisconsin and Lake and McHenry counties in Illinois. The proposed refuge would cover much of the lower left-hand corner of the southeast Wisconsin bike map. It would stretch from the Bong recreational area on the east to the area south of Lake Geneva on the west.

This is prime bicycling country, surprisingly undeveloped considering the nearby urban areas. Thus, the proposal seems like good news for bicyclist (unless, of course, it results in more traffic).

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc

Draft Milwaukee Bike Plan Issued

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 20th , 2010.

Milwaukee recently issued a draft of a bicycle plan prepared with the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation. The public comment period runs through the end of July. Clearly the plan is a sign that bicycles are getting a lot more attention in planning transportation in Milwaukee. Here are my comments on the plan:

Bike boulevards. I really like the concept. I think they will do a lot to encourage people to bike (and also strengthen neighborhoods). With that in mind, here are a few more suggestions:

* An east-side alternative to the Prospect/Farwell bike lanes (which
have fairly fast traffic and are often blocked by double-parked
delivery vehicles). Starting at the Urban Ecology Center, it would
go south on Newhall, then switch over to Warren, ending at Ogden.
I took it home from the public meeting. It had little traffic. The
major issues are crossing Brady and North. Also the one-way
streets north of Brady.
* Jefferson St. between the Third Ward and Ogden/Water. Already
interrupted in several places. The sidewalks need to be widened.
Perhaps a place for a cycle track. The tunnel under I794 is narrow
when pedestrians are walking to parking.
* 51st St on the south side. Already has many of the properties of a
bike boulevard with the interruptions at the KK Parkway, the
Morgan/Forest Home triangle, and in Greenfield. A place where joint
planning with Greenfield and West Allis would be useful.
* Keefe/Townsend from Humboldt to Dineen Park

I real bike desert is the far northwest side. I would hope that at least one of the north-south roads connecting to Mequon would be marked for future improvement, with decent shoulders at the very least.

While Roosevelt Blvd itself is very nice, both ends are problematic. Perhaps this is a place where the bicyclist could be directed to use the sidewalk (as in Madison and Evanston). In any case, I think a bike plan should not leave a bicyclist hanging.

I am bothered by the number of proposed bike paths that are shown as existing (also a problem with the free bike map). These include the Beer Line trail between North and Locust and between Locust and Burleigh, the KK trail (page 24 describes it as existing) along Rosedale, several proposed branches of the Hank Aaron trail (as well as HAST routes on roads), and a proposed rail conversion south of Washington. Perhaps these should be converted to yellow on the maps, so it is clear they are proposed trails (perhaps proposed county trails could also be shown, to see how they would fit in, as well as any proposals from suburbs).

I would like to see more discussion on the effect of traffic signals on bicyclists. Particular problems are inaccessible walk buttons (or ones that don’t work), buried sensors that don’t detect bicycles (all of them, in my experience), and the very long signal cycle time that seems standard in Wisconsin. (I recently spent a few days bicycling in Chico, CA and was struck that the typical signal seemed less than half that in Milwaukee. There was much less temptation to run the light. A signal on a trail went to yellow for the cars as soon as I pushed it.)

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Twin Cities Bicycle Detours

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 20th , 2010.

This is from the Bicycle Update subscribers email:

Bicycle detours are currently in place on the Hiawatha LRT Trail under I-94 and the Camden Bridge over the Mississippi River. The Hiawatha LRT Trail detour is intermittent, and is anticipated to take place on July 20th and 21st, as well as July 26th to 30th. A detour route will be signed. The Camden Bridge over the Mississippi River detour is in place throughout the summer. The detour is signed and available online (pdf). For further details on those and other bicycle detours in Minneapolis, visit our detours website.

One more detour: The Cedar Lake Bike Trail will be extended beyond the Twins Stadium and to the Mississippi River this fall. Estimated completion date is in November. The trail may be closed at the downtown end while construction crews build the connector between the existing trail and the new extension.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Lake Elmo/Lakeland/Woodbury Changes

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 12th , 2010.

Old Bike Trail Acess I-94

The reconstruction of I-94 between Minnesota and Wisconsin several years ago created a new alignment for the bike path over the St. Croix River. The new path crosses the river on the south bridge of I-94 instead of the north bridge. As a result, the access trail from the north side has been closed. Vegetation is slowly encroaching on the trail.

The change has made Rivercrest Rd and 21st St from the north unnecessary. They will not be designated as bike routes in the 2011 update of the Twin Cities Bike Map.

Other changes: 24th St N, from the NE corner of Tartan Park in Lake Elmo, now connects the two broken segments of 20th St between Tartan Park and Neal Ave. The road provides a more direct connection to Neal Ave and points north.

Woodbury: More trails and new alignments. Woodbury’s trail system is quite extensive, but utterly confusing because it has no trail signage.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

Campus Drive Trail Addition

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 1st , 2010.

A new section of bike trail stretches between the UW campus and Highland Ave. The trail starts just west of Babcock Hall (a great place for ice cream or sandwiches) and roughly runs north of and parallel to the railroad tracks.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News