Will mayor's European trip inspire changes for Madison cyclists?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

From an article by Kristin Czubkowski in The Capital Times:

For the average person, spending a week biking in Europe sounds pretty much like a vacation — a more active one than resting on a tropical beach, but a vacation nonetheless. But when the mayor of the second-biggest city in Wisconsin takes several staff members to visit Amsterdam and four other European cities to study biking for a week, it sends a message that improving Madison’s biking culture is a big deal.

Now, two weeks after touching back down in Madison, city bicyclists and bicycle advocates are ready to hear what changes and investment Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is ready to make back home. While some are still skeptical of the need to go abroad to study bike culture when Madison itself has a wealth of resources, nearly all agree that now that the trip has been done, they’re not giving Cieslewicz a pass on making changes.

Does he feel that pressure?

“Oh gosh, yes. It was a big investment of time and resources,” he says in an interview last week, noting that his chief of staff and two high-ranking members of the engineering and traffic engineering departments all traveled with him. “It was a substantial commitment.”

As for what Madison may see in the short term, Cieslewicz says there are a few elements of biking infrastructure on his trip that could be started at least on a trial basis within the next few weeks and months.