Cyclists rally to ‘Take Back the Streets’

MADISON, Wis. — A group of local bikers gathered outside of the City’s Municipal Building Saturday morning for a ‘Take Back the Streets Rally’ demanding an end to traffic related deaths in Madison.

Led by Madison Bikes the group called on city leaders to create a credible action plan for their Vision Zero initiative which seeks to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries on city streets by 2030.

“It needs to be a concrete plan that anyone can look at and question and we can all fill good about,” said Dayna Long, a Madison biker and member of the area’s Democratic Socialist of America organization.

A plan she said given the racial disparities in enforcement shouldn’t involve more police.

“Whenever we ask for more police presence we are asking for more of that disparity and I’m not comfortable with that, I don’t think it’s fine,” she said. “But on top of that it’s just not a very creative solution, we can’t treat this problem as if it’s just some drivers behaving badly.”

On East Washington alone four people just this year have been killed in traffic incidents.

Madison Bikes president Harald Kliems said though he’s not an engineer he believes streets can be built in a way that encourages people to drive safely.

“I mean we acknowledge people make mistakes,” he said. “Build roads that are forgiving, where a mistake does not lead to death.”

District 15 Alderman Grant Foster said since the Vision Zero initiative was announced in July of last year the city has begun working on a proposal but that the plan still needs a lot of work.

“It is not very specific,” he said. “If that were the final product I would not have confidence that we’re going to get to zero deaths in eight years.”

Foster also encouraged people looking to get involve and give feedback on the City’s initiative to contact their alderperson to get a copy of the draft and find out when the plan will next be before the Transportation Policy and Planning Board.