Improving bicyclist safety increases likelihood of platinum ranking for Madison
By Taylor Curley and Jamie Stark | Wed, 12/07/2011 - 6:39pm
With these additions, City officials are hopeful to make Madison one of four cities in the nation with a platinum bicycle rating. The three cities currently holding the revered platinum rating are Davis, Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; and Portland, Ore.
Platinum is the highest honor bestowed by the League of American Bicyclists followed by gold. Madison ranks as the only city east of the Mississippi River with a gold rating.
While these new additions may push Madison to the top, officials say they were built for safety.
“Everything helps by coincidence,” Arthur Ross, Pedestrian-Bicycle Coordinator for the city of Madison, said. “We do things because they are the right things to do for the community.”
Installed in August, officials said it answered the demand for more cyclist parking around Capitol Square. The rack provides space for ten bikes in what was a one-car parking space.
Bicyclist Anders Hanson, a UW-Madison student, thinks the on-street biking corral is a good addition to Madison. It makes it effortless to find an adequate spot he said.
“The push for platinum is what makes Madison such a good city for biking,” Hanson said. “[Citizens] have access to beautiful paths and so many choices for parking. The City really makes it easy to be active.”
District 4 Ald. Mike Verveer said this corral is a pilot project to see how well the on-street parking concept is accepted.
“Businesses in the area were consulted on this project, and agreed to the trial,” Verveer said. The racks will be removed in November to allow for winter snow plowing he added.
Another change for city bikers is right beneath their tires. In September, MDOT applied green road covering in the bike lanes at the intersections of Johnson and Pinckney Street and Monroe and Regent Street.
Mark Winter, an MDOT traffic engineer, said this project is valuable to the city.
“Although applying the green [paint] is time consuming, it’s worth the minor cost for both bikers and drivers,” Winter said.
Greening bike lanes reminds drivers where bikes may cross busy intersections, Winter said. Designated bike boxes allow left-turning bicyclists to inform drivers of their intentions by waiting in front of cars at intersections.
MDOT plans to order more materials and add green to at least three-high collision intersections within the next year.
Both Ross and Winter agreed the newly implemented projects address bike safety and platinum ranking is a bonus.
Adding the green road covering and bike boxes is also part of Portland’s efforts to make biking safer said Dan Anderson, spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation. And Portland’s platinum status helps more than just bikers.
“The platinum rating helps people and businesses in Portland,” said Anderson. “There’s lower congestion, it puts money in people’s pockets, there are healthier, more energetic employees and customers.”
The focus on bikes sparks business startups, like a bike-themed bar on a trail and an increase in bike service and repair stores he explained.
“We wish Madison the best,” Anderson said. “We certainly like being the only big city with platinum status, but we’re willing to share it.”
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