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This planning-level project is a paved multi-use (bicycle / pedestrian) path that will extend the existing Blackhawk Path on the northwest side of Madison (and Village of Shorewood), creating a route to Middleton and ultimately, other communities west. It generally follows the corridor of the former Soo Line railroad, currently owned by WisDOT and operated by Wisconsin Southern Railroad (WSOR). This is an ambitious and potentially very important project in the regional bike transportation network. The existing Blackhawk path provides a direct route to the University, two major hospitals, retail areas and other important commercial and employment destinations, generally paralleling one of the most heavily traveled streets in the City. To the west it serves Madison neighborhoods and traverses the center of Middleton, accessing neighborhoods, the civic center, retail and employment centers. The Madison segment of this project would run from University Avenue to Stonefield Road. Currently this is envisioned as a "rails-with-trails" project, sharing the rail corridor with an active rail line. The necessary agreements and permission from WisDOT and WSOR are not in place at this time. Further west it links a number of outlying communities along Highway 14, including Cross Plains, Mazomanie and Black Earth. Middleton and other communities have done significant planning and bike improvements along this corridor and sponsored the creation of the Good Neighbor Committee to further the regional planning process for this trail.

The length of the project in Madison is approximately 1.8 miles. The ultimate project extends approximately 13 miles beyond Madison.

Construction is not currently scheduled, pending completion of agreements with the railroad and WisDOT securing federal funding.

No cost estimate is available at this time. Most likely, federal funds under the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program will be sought for construction.

Madison, Middleton and other stakeholders continue to meet on a regular basis to advance this project.

Public Comments
Have a question or comment on this project? Use the Public Comment Form.
Posted: 02/05/2013
the hyperlink to the draft master plan in your abstract is broken.

City Staff Response:
Thanks for letting us know. The link to the City of Middleton website is down but we will create a link to the final master plan itself.  For further information you could also contact Penni Klein, City of Middleton Parks & Open Space director at
Posted: 11/18/2011
The hyperlinks (2) in your bikemadison web-site do not work. I wonder about the planning process for areas north of lake Mendota. Is there planning in place for connectivity between Waunakee, Dane, Deforest, Sauk City, Springfield Corners?

City Staff Response:
Sorry about that. We have deleted the links for now and are looking into other sources of information on the planning for this path outside Madison.

For planning of bike facilities in the broader region outside Madison I suggest contacting Bill Schaefer at Regional Planning or Chris James at Dane County Parks