As we discussed last week in our great Placemaking idea series, there are ways of making the project area welcoming to bicycles. Tonight, the City of Madison’s Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Commission (PBMVC) is considering an ordinance change that would allow bikes to be ridden on the State Street Mall (although this would not cover the University’s portion of the project area, a subject for another day). Even if the city decides not to allow bicycle riding on the mall itself, city and university officials would do well to remember that biking will likely continue, and that the majority of it will occur on the diagonal path through Library Mall to reach the corner of Langdon Street and Park Street (the union, Science Hall, College Library, the Lakeshore Path).
Therefore, the design should include a safe and convenient “Alternate Bike Route” to encourage westbound State Street and Library Mall “pass through” bike traffic north onto Lake Street and west onto Langdon Street. A properly designed alternate bike route for bicyclists traveling from State Street to the Memorial Union, to Helen C. White Library or to the Lakeshore Path (below) would significantly reduce bike traffic on the 700-800 blocks of State Street & the Library Mall. Implementation of an alternate route should decrease bicyclist pass-through traffic and decrease conflicts with pedestrians using the 700-800 blocks of State Street & the Library Mall.