City seeks public input on new parking-protected bike lane

The city of Madison is testing its first parking-protected bike lane on North Basset Street. Construction began in August and is now ready to use.

The idea is to protect bikers from cars on the street by placing parked cars in between the two. Vehicles park in between flexible posts on the right side of the street to separate cyclists from the driving lane on the street.

Biker Helena Pliscka said she was confused by the new lane at first but caught on quick.

“I definitely feel safer,” she said. “There’s an actual car that’s in between me and another car that’s not moving.”

Chloe Strait lives on North Basset Street and said she’s seen the traffic get better since the bike lane opened up.

“It flows a lot better,” Strait said. “Before, the street used to be really crazy and you couldn’t even cut across in the middle. I don’t bike personally but it looks like it is a lot safer for the bikes and then also provides a lot more parking on the street because the only place people could park before was on Mifflin.”

Not everyone who lives on North Basset Street agrees that the parking-protected bike lane is a good idea. Homeowner Bill Ellickson said, “I’m not a big fan. I don’t think it was thought out very well in respect to snow removal and getting rid of the trash.”

Ellickson said since the bike lane opened up, his trash has not been picked up several times.

According to a city press release, “Protected bike lanes provide a safer, bike-friendly route for the cycling community, and welcome a wider range of riders. Parking-protected bike lanes also require mindful attention from the public as it requires change in the current habitual use of streets.”

The city is testing this bike lane for one year, monitoring how the public uses the lane from a safety and functionality perspective. According to the press release, the city is also tracking how the lane is maintained for plowing, street sweeping and refuse collection.

The city wants to hear your thoughts. If you would like to comment, email Renee Callaway, the city of Madison pedestrian and bicycle administrator: recallaway@cityofmadison.com.

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