City of

District 13

Alder Tag Evers

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Alder Tag Evers

Contact Information

Home Address:

2329 Keyes Ave
Madison , WI 53711

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Evers’ Blog

District 13 Updates: Make Your Vote Count, Vilas Park Drive

October 27, 2020 10:40 PM

Hi Everyone,

Just two items.  

Make Your Vote Count

You've no doubt heard the US Supreme Court ruled that only ballots received by election day will be counted. If you were planning on mailing your ballot, I urge you to shift gears. At this point, if you really want to be 100% sure your ballot gets counted, you'll look at other options.

For a list of available options, including in-person early voting locations and the locations of secure ballot drop boxes, please click here.

Vilas Park Drive -- Should it Reopen?

Tomorrow, Wed Oct 28, the Transportation Commission will take up a proposal to remove all barriers on Vilas Park Drive open it up again to drive-through traffic. This would mean allowing commuter traffic (which exceeded, pre-pandemic, 200 cars per hour during the afternoon commute and comprised about 96% of all motor traffic in the park throughout the week).

The following is shared with permission by Jim Lorman, Greenbush resident and member of the Vilas Park Master Plan's Resident Resource Group:

Vilas Park Drive, Shared Streets Program, and Vilas Park Master Plan

The opening up of Vilas Park Drive to bikers and pedestrians (i.e., closure to drive-through motor traffic) this past summer (part of the larger Shared Streets program throughout the city) has been widely recognized as creating a dramatic transformation of the Vilas Park lakeshore to a wonderfully vibrant area for park users, including small children riding scooters or bikes with training wheels, adults with walkers or in wheelchairs, and lots of people hammocking, picnicking, and generally enjoying a much quieter, more peaceful shoreline than we've ever had.

Largely because of peoples' positive experience with this change, there was overwhelming community support for the option (of the three options presented by the consultants in the draft Vilas Master Plan last May) of permanently restricting drive-through motor traffic on Vilas Park Drive. That design is now included in the final draft of the Vilas Park Master Plan, hopefully on its way for final approval by the of this year or early next year.

The Parks Department has expressed hope that the reconstruction of the drive to its new configuration (with a bike/pedestrian multi-use path from the west, and 2-way motor traffic entering from the east and extending only as far as the shelter) will occur in 2024.

How to manage traffic before the Master Plan is Implemented

That leaves the issue of how to manage traffic for the next few years until that reconfiguration can be done. Both Parks and Traffic Engineering have indicated some support for options that would at least separate motor traffic from bike/ped traffic (by using some type of bollards or cones), if not restricting through motor traffic entirely (similar to what we've had over the summer and fall, but perhaps with more car access - for example by placing a barrier just east of the entrance to the shelter parking lot, along with appropriate signage, providing car access to the shoreline and park facilities from either end and along much of the drive.

It's my belief that, although there are a few challenges on how to implement the details of these kinds of options, these are not big challenges and do not justify opening up the drive to through traffic that is not at least separated from pedestrians, if not bikers, even in winter.

Here are my reasons for thinking that opening up the drive now to unrestricted through traffic (especially with no separation between cars and pedestrians) is not a good idea:

  • By this time, everyone (drivers, walkers, runners, bikers, skateboarders...) has gotten use to the restriction on drive-through traffic. Commuters have found and are using alternative routes; pedestrians feel safe; and park users are using the area in myriad ways that are more appropriate to a park and shoreline than ever before. Each future change in configuration or rules will result in a new period of adjustment with likely confusion, frustration, and risk to safety.
  • While it's true that bike and pedestrian use declines dramatically in winter, there are still significant numbers who continue to use it in all weather, and more who would use it (especially on nicer days, even in winter) if they could feel as safe and relaxed as they do now.
  • Since there is no clear or firm commitment on exactly when and how motor traffic will again be restricted in the spring, it seems very likely that we will have some really good weather (e.g., in March and April, or even in the next month or so) that will call out more pedestrians and bikers and result in safety compromises before any such new restrictions are implemented.

Options for submitting your input on this issue

  • Send comments to all members of the Transportation Commission prior to Wednesday's meeting (10/28 at 5:00 pm) at:  (and copy our Alder: Tag Evers,
  • Register in opposition of proposal to open Vilas Park Drive to commuter traffic*. You can do this NOW, without actually joining the virtual meeting on Wednesday. Simply:
  • Go to For Item #7, check "Oppose"
  • Register to speak (on-line) at Wednesday's 5 pm meeting, by going to, filling out the form and checking "Yes, I want to speak."

*The relevant agenda item (#7) is listed as "Update on Shared Streets," with no specific action provided. But I understand that the "update" is a proposal to close down all "Shared Streets" and to include Vilas Park Drive as part of this. (That is, Traffic Engineering and Parks plan to open Vilas Park Drive again to commuter traffic, soon and at least for the winter.) There is no opportunity on the registration form to explain what exactly you are opposed to – the only option (short of sending written comments to the Transportation Commission member at the above address, or registering to speak at the virtual meeting) is to simply check the "Oppose" box. I assume they will infer what that means, although it won't be clear whether you oppose closing down ALL the "shared streets" or just Vilas Park Drive. (Yes, it's an imperfect system for public input.)

I share this realizing not everyone is on the same page, that there are residents who do want to see the Drive opened back up. While I support keeping the Drive closed, please note your voice matters and you have every opportunity to make yours heard.


I know many of you are struggling with fatigue of various sorts: pandemic fatigue, election fatigue, Zoom fatigue, and just plain old fatigue fatigue -- tired of being tired and feeling overwhelmed. 

Remember when we said last spring "This is a marthon, not a sprint" ?  Marathons are hard. Fatigue sets in. You feel like quitting. But there are help stations along the way. Make sure you are finding yours. Reach out, ask for help. If you don't know where to turn, email, and one of the District 13 Alliance volunteers will be in touch.

That's all for now. 

Take care and stay safe.





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