City of Madison Logo
Description
This planning-level project is a combination of paved multi-use (bicycle / pedestrian) path and on-street bike improvements that would connect the north side of Madison with the Yahara parkway path and the City's path network in general. It would generally follow the rail corridor from the Yahara River to Sheridan Drive north of Aberg Avenue. From there it would continue on low-volume streets to Troy Drive. The first phase of this project, from the Yahara Parkway path to E Johnson St at Fordem Avenue, was constructed in 2007 and includes a bridge over the Yahara River and crossing improvements at the Fordem intersection. The remainder of the project would require easements from Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) in certain key locations. While the operating railroad, Wisconsin Southern, has been open to discussions, the owner of the property, UPRR, has not. Interstate commerce rules limit the City's ability to use eminent domain powers in this situation, so the project is on indefinite hold until there is a change in the UPRR management philosophy or in the ownership of the rail corridor.

Length
The total length of the project is approximately 3.2 miles, including 1.5 miles of separate path and 1.7 miles of on-street route.

Schedule
Construction is not currently scheduled, pending agreements to secure necessary easements for the corridor.

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

Status
City continues to monitor the status of the rail corridor ownership and will seek discussions if an opportunity arises.

Public Comments
Have a question or comment on this project? Use the Public Comment Form.
Posted: 09/13/2013
I think we need a realistic count of bikes that actually travel on Sherman Ave (400 a day ? not even in the summer have I seen volume bicylists, maybe once a year, Rhythm and Booms) vs. the number of motor vehicles that use the street and what it will do to traffic.

What is the financial cost to the city to make these changes ? What are the possible financial ramifications to the business owners. Is there a way to move the bike path to a less busy street ?

This is not a well thought out plan and should be revisited before spending any money.


Posted: 02/27/2013
When someone wants to turn left on Sherman. That lane then for that brief time becomes a "designated" turn lane. When no one is turning you have two lanes for traffic. I would hate to deal with one lane traffic everyday, when Sherman runs into Fordem traffic backs up and that's only a few blocks I can't imagine the entire street. Where is the designated right turn lane? I'm not sure why there's so much focus on the need for a left turn lane? Now there won't be any passing the entire stretch of Sherman? No thank you
Posted: 02/05/2013
In regards to the 07/31/12 comment, coming from someone who has biked N. Sherman for most of the past 15 years.

In one summer in roughly the early 2000s, there was an experiment done on N. Sherman, changing the flow to one lane + dedicated left-turn lane. It caused _massive_ issues during high-traffic periods, usually related of the high frequency of right-turning traffic on the street.

N. Thompson is usually cited as a success story for the 3-lane style of traffic, however I feel that the two roads are incomparable in this discussion - Thompson has very few non-signaled non-low-volume (i.e. residential) driveways, while Sherman has many, especially from Commercial to Aberg. I remember during that test, the largest issue was being behind a long line of vehicles, usually behind the Sherman/Aberg light, and always going very slow due to the large amount of ancillary traffic turning onto/off Sherman.

The last 2 years, I have biked through the Commercial-Aberg branch of N. Sherman, which I consider the worst part of the area, 10-15 times a week. I would _love_ for there to be an easier way to get around this area, but I see going back to the 3-lane setup actually doing more harm than good. While it solves both of the major complaints people have about Sherman, (speeding + bike accessibility) it would most likely push more traffic onto 113, and reduce traffic some already-struggling businesses in the area.

I am not someone that thinks that there is an easy solution to this issue. The north side has so few arteries that we are surprisingly cramped for expansionary space here. If I were on an advisory body, I would recommend:

- Extend Fordem's layout (2 vehicle lanes, 2 bike lanes, 1 side parking) to Commercial Ave.

- Extend the Trailsway-to-Northport layout (3 vehicle lanes, 2 bike lanes) to somewhere around Mac Pherson/Schlimgen.

- Increase the width of one side's sidewalk in between the two locations to establish a "biking side". (Think the Eastwood section of the Cap. City trail, with Eastwood/Dunning-style intersections to allow for bike traffic to flow easier)

Doing this would slow down traffic in residential portions of N. Sherman, while retaining a layout in it's busiest portions for the highest-capacity traffic areas.

Now, with that being said, a route which follows the tracks from Johnson to Sheridan is orders of magnitudes better.

City Staff Response:
Thanks for the comments.
Posted: 07/31/2012
While I would love to see this path come to fruition as I bicycle commute from the north side of Madison to downtown everyday, there is an easier way to connect the north side to downtown.

Change the lane marking on North Sherman Ave!

There are defined bicycle lanes on Fordem and there are defined bicycle lanes north of Trailsway, why can't the middle section of Sherman Ave be marked the same way?

The right lanes in the 4 lane sections of Sherman are not wide enough for a car and bicycle to share.

Sherman Ave between Fordem and Tenney park is wide enough to support cars and bicycles and is an existing bike-friendly route to the bike path at Tenney park.