Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Great minds don't always think alike...and that's a good thing!

Getting ready to roll out
I have to say, I feel pretty damn lucky today.  This afternoon, I got to ride around Madison with about 24 other people and discuss how to make the city better for cyclists.  This was all an initiative made possible by the Madison city engineers, Tony Fernandez especially, Arthur Ross and Toole Design Group, who does nationwide infrastructure work that specialized in bike/ped friendly plans.

About 20 of us broke up into three groups, led by the caring folks mentioned above, and rode around the city discussing troublesome intersections, city plans in the works, and how to improve what we have without breaking the bank.  I found myself surrounded by so many important people in the cycling community I could barely contain myself.  People from the DOT, the Pedestrian, Bicycle, Motor Vehicle Commission, the sustainability program at Edgewood College, the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation, Downtown Madison Incorporated, the Global Health Institute, the owner of a bike company, and B Cycle as well.

At each intersection or planned project in the works, we were asked questions by both Toole and the city. The kicker is that we were listened to--100%.  Rarely were their opinions shared, instead they gave us some background knowledge (things like dealing with the railroad commission) the project parameters and then asked us our opinions.

West Washington/Bike Path crossing
I don't know how often this sort of thing goes on in other cities, I hope it happens all the time, but for me, it was a first.  I'm used to bouncing ideas off a group of bike fed staff and board members, I'm used to preaching to the choir, or being a choir member, with my riding friends, and I'm used to going to project meetings on a specific project.  What I'm not used to is having so many great minds evaluate so many issues at one time in a very calm, and kind way.

Talking about what works--intersection of Monroe/Regent/Crazy Legs/Breeze

Although this mobile workshop filled quite quickly, it was only a small part of a four day workshop where anyone could come in and share their ideas.  By allowing anyone and everyone to come in and chat, our great city of Madison got so much stronger in just four days.  Well done!

I am hoping we continue to have meetings like this yearly.  I am hoping that other cities follow suit if they haven't started yet.  I am hoping to get invited back if this flies.  Thank you Toole, Tony Fernandez and Arthur Ross for holding this.  Thanks even more to Robbie and Mary for inviting me!

No comments:

Post a Comment