ACTION ALERT: Transportation and Transit Committee
THURSDAY (9/13/18) 6:30 PM
CITY HALL IN FITCHBURG
This project seems to have the possibility of getting sunk in the toilet much like the reconstruction of East Washington in Madison did!! –several lanes of fast car heaven and pure hell for the non 4 wheel traveler…
FROM KL ENGINEERING, (lead engineering consultant on project) Uff da!
Construct a shared use path from on the west side of Fish Hatchery Road from High Ridge Trail to Post Road with the Fish Hatchery Road project. Include intersection upgrades throughout the project limits, including a bicycle and pedestrian focused crossing at Traceway Drive.
REALLY?!!After researching the mountains of planning documents with tons of public concern,
A shared use path was the best that this organization could come up with? DEPLORABLE!!
After all the studies, that were (at least) referenced, discussing better connections for the neighborhoods involved, and the issues that have been raised in public participation events regarding the existing horrible safety issues…and the Level of Service for bicycling and walking standing at “D” and “F”, respectively traveling in a northerly direction along Fish Hatchery Rd.??
IF you look in the project documents, which are referenced in the agenda packet here: (https://agendas.fitchburgwi.gov/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Documents/ViewDocument/Supporting%20Document%20for%20-%20RESOLUTION%20R-168-18%20(27883).pdf?meetingId=1113&documentType=Agenda&itemId=27883&publishId=27041&isSection=false) you will see a mention of actually converting the bus/bike lane into a third motor vehicle travel lane. On page 7 of the “Bike Ped Design Report” from September 10th, after hearing all the concerns over the years about safety the document states,
“The shared bus/bike/turn lane is being evaluated and may stay as a shared bus/bike/turn lane or may be converted to a third vehicular lane. If converted, some minimal on-road bicycle accommodation could be provided, like a wide outer lane, but would have to be evaluated. In either case, on- street bicycle accommodations will not be ideal”.
Is this REALLY what the neighborhood wants or needs? It is already a deadly STROAD, why make it even worse? AND why would anyone suggest taking away facilities (as junky as they are) that (at least) did some good in providing connections for alternative modes? This recent set of recommendations completely kills that notion. Seriously, it is an active consideration to do just this?
The consultants have failed but the community has made it a clear objective to improve access along this corridor for all types of vehicles and all types of commuters. “The emphasis [should be] along these routes  to provide a consistent network of off -street facilities (shared-use paths and protected bike lanes) or enhanced on -street facilities (buffered bicycle lanes), with conventional bicycle lanes only used where it is not possible to accommodate protected or separated facilities” (Bike and Ped Plan, 2017). But in the KL Engineering Executive Summary, from August 2018, it states that,
“[p]roviding the most comprehensive bicycle facilities would include a shared use path and protected bike lanes. A protected bike lane would require a 5’ – 6’ width adjacent to the gutter and a physical barrier like planters, curb, or posts (minimum of 3’ with shy distance) between the bike lane and vehicular lane. The next step down would be a buffered bike lane which would require a 5’ – 6’ bike lane adjacent to the gutter and 3’ wide pavement markings to delineate the buffered area. Due to the existing right -of-way width, the width needed for travel and turn lanes, and the regulations excluding condemnation for these facilities, the most comprehensive facilities are NOT considered realistic to include in this project. “Providing a shared use path on one side of the road would meet some of the planning recommendations and was recommended in some of the public comments. The existing sidewalk/shared use path would remain on the other side of the roadway”.
BUT, taking away the facilities for cycling that DO exist today IS part of this recommendation.?!! WHAT??????
The First question to consider is how they (the consultants) equate shared use paths with bike lanes on the roadway? By using quite rudimentary logic, in reality the taking away (roadway bike lanes) of such facilities is the complete and total opposite of providing them. (Crickets chirping…) And creating something which is certainly related to bike travel (side path) is somehow the same, or equal substitute? It seems dishonest or at least willfully (if not criminally…ACLU?) ignorant. They are indeed two completely different things and are for two entirely different type of travel. First, the shared us path is great. It is great for walkers and joggers and neighborhood folks on bikes that don’t mind stopping and waiting for a break in the vehicular traffic at every single street crossing. Also, although, pedestrians have the right-of-way, in practice (and especially on this stretch) it never plays out this way!
Second, bike commuters ARE TRAFFIC. They have all the rights and responsibilities as a driver: allow for safe travel of other modes, and do not impede upon others’ ability to get from one destination to another along this “shared” route. A commuting bicyclist may travel 15 mph while a walker may be traveling at 3 mph. This is a tight squeeze on a shared usE path. riding on a sidepath, travelling in the opposite direction of traffic (which is what is being recommended by the consultant) causes major safety concerns. Imagine a driver waiting approaching the intersection at Fish Hatchery from one of the many side streets. As the car approaches, remember, MV drivers are required, like they are taught in drivers ed, to first, look left, look right, then look left again. All being clear, they are free to proceed. This doesn’t quite happen that way. In order for the “wrong-sided” side path scenario to function for the cyclist, the driver would have to reverse that optically challenged bit of logic for their first interaction at the intersection by first looking right, left, then right again. Phewwww, they got through that first bit. Now, after all that, this is what a driver (with safety on the fore of his/her mind) would have to do additionally: THEN, the same driver, after passing the shared use path and allowing that traffic to proceed, as he/she approaches MV area of the intersection, he/she would have to revert back to the left, right, left ‘drivers ed’ way of thinking, again. If all is well with approaching traffic from the north and south, then if his/her brain is not scrambled at this point, he/she can go on their marry little way. Doesn’t this make a person dizzy just thinking of all that is required to accomplish getting through this section? With vehicular traffic at speeds very often above 40mph, that is certainly a very scary prospect. Again, side paths are great, but they are not great for everyone!!
Clearly, the folks who drafted this recommendation don’t use bicycles or—at least—commute by means other than their car much, if at all.
I call for a redraw of these recommendations to ACTUALLY CONSIDER SAFETY, ACCESS and CONVENIENCE FOR ALL TYPES OF TRAVEL!
We need to KEEP the facilities we already have but improve them!!!
FIRST, it should be included in the recommendations to create table top type crossings at all intersections where the shared use path will be crossing side streets running east-west along the Fish Hatchery corridor. This will cause crossing MV traffic to slow down as well as better raise the site lines to eye level for bikers and walkers. The action here is to raise the “cross walk” portion of the path at least one foot (1’) above the street surface for the distance of the roadway and the width of the path (8’ to 10’).
SECOND, it should be included in the recommendation to include roadway facilities for cycling that does not include taking away which is already there! Raise the visibility that there is a distinction between VM lanes and that which is used as the bus/bike way. These should or could include some or all of the following: 1. Colored concrete bus/bike way. This makes it obvious to drivers that this lane is something special and perhaps they should consider using the lane as just another travel lane. 2. Construct a mountable median for buses and cars that would separate the bike/bus lane from the other two full-width VM travel lanes. This would create a deterrent for drivers, although it would be designed in a fashion that would make crossing over the surface of the feature little different from actually changing lanes. It would be visible and the leading edge of the surface would be sensed by drivers when approaching the crest of the separation device. 3. What do you want Fitchburg? What do you want Madison? What do you really, really want?
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL DECISION MAKERS AND TELL THEM TO INCLUDE A PLAN THAT HAS REAL ALTERNATIVES:
YOU CAN WRITE OR CONTACT STAFF AND COMMISSIONERS OF THE TTC HERE: