Madison Leaders Embark on European Transportation Study

Goal to Transform Madison into a World-class City for Bicycling
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Madison, Wis. (April 5, 2010) –  In an effort to model Madison after the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities, Saris Cycling Group president Chris Fortune is leading  Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and 19 other civic and business leaders on a groundbreaking trip to three  European cities where 25-35% of all daily trips are made by bicycle. In contrast, less than 4% of daily trips are currently made by bicycle in Madison. The delegation will meet with bicycle planning, engineering and design experts in Muenster, Germany, as well as cities in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Nijmegen and Utrecht.

“We are going to study, learn and experience firsthand how these cities have woven bicycling into daily life,” said Chris Fortune, who will travel with the group solely by foot, bike and mass transit during the seven-day trip. “Our goal is to apply what we learn to transform Madison into a world-class city for bicycling.

Approximately 27% of daily trips are made by bike in the Netherlands; 22% in Denmark; and 12% in Germany.  Muenster , one of the cities the delegation will visit, has achieved an enviable bicycle mode share of 35 % by investing significantly in infrastructure improvements, education efforts and promotion over the past three decades. And, to further underscore the success of its efforts,  Munster’s bicycle safety record is far better than U.S. cities like Madison despite having exponentially more people commuting by bike.

“Madison is a very bikable and walkable city with a strong bus system,” said Mayor Cieslewicz.  “But at a time when high-speed rail and a new regional transit authority will open new transit opportunities, I hope to return with fresh ideas on how to make our transportation systems easily accessible to everyone, whether traveling by bike, on foot or in a car.  This is an opportunity to learn from the most transit-friendly cities in the world.”

Cycling has a significant impact on Wisconsin’s economy.  Bicycling contributes $1.5 billion to Wisconsin’s economy annually. Residents generate $388M in economic activity while enjoying Wisconsin’s extensive bicycle infrastructure. Non-residents spend approximately $535M annually on bicycling-related activities in Wisconsin. In addition, Wisconsin’s renowned bicycle industry companies generate an additional $593M in economic impact from manufacturing, sales and service.

“Madison has the potential to be one of the world’s great cities for bicycling,” said Kevin Hardman, executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, who will participate in this trip. “If we work together to create safe places for people to ride, then we can make Madison more environmentally sustainable, more healthy and more competitive economically.”

Joining Chris Fortune on this trip are:

  • Tony Fernandez, City of Madison engineer
  • Al Fish, University of Wisconsin Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities
  • Dan McCormick, City of Madison traffic engineer
  • Susan Schmitz, president of Downtown Madison, Inc.

Additional trip participants include:  Janet Piraino, chief of staff for Mayor Dave Cieslewicz; Allen Arntsen, a partner at Foley & Lardner; Jim Bradley, President and CEO of Home Savings Bank; Tim Erdman, Chairman & CEO of Erdman Holdings Inc. and Erdman Energy Enterprises LLC; Peter Bock, former state legislator; Paul Muench, VP Commercial Leasing for Urban Land Interests; Brian Munson, principal from Vandewalle & Associates; Krista Rettig, director  of advocacy for Trek Bicycles Corporation; Jeff Rosenberg, President of Land Development for Veridian Homes; Gary Peterson, president and certified planner for Sustainable Services.

Accompanying trip leaders: Zach Vanderkooy, project coordinator for Bikes Belong; Gary Sjoquist, advocacy director for Bikes Belong; Susie Weaver, communications coordinator for Wilderness Trail Bikes.

About Saris Cycling Group

Saris Cycling Group, Inc. brings the power of cycling to life and is located in Madison, WI.  Saris Cycling Group is an industry leader, manufacturing Saris Car Racks, Saris Parking and Storage Solutions, CycleOps PowerTap, and CycleOps Trainers.