Updated: Mar 11
I hope my last message to you as an Alder finds you well and excited for spring! My kids and I have been getting lots of walks in with our new pup and have been enjoying meeting new people at the Monona Dog Park. If you need to apply for a dog or cat license, here is the link to do so. And maybe while you're there, you'll consider applying to serve on a city committee! ;)
Our Transit Commission will have several openings soon. We are seeking regular Monona Transit riders and/or bike commuters. We are currently in discussion with Madison Metro about joining their system rather than providing a separate mass transit option. Madison Metro is redesigning its routes which will be rolled out in 2023. Monona has to make a decision to join or not by June 2022. If you're interested in being a part of the discussion, here is the link to apply.
Below are some updates from the past month and information on things coming up that could impact your daily life in Monona. If you're wondering why you are receiving this city update, I am one of your six alders and I provide these monthly updates to help you know what is going on in your community. You can always unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe button at the bottom. It will be challenging for you to find all of this information on your own however and I hope you encourage other alders to communicate with you through similar means. You can reach me by email until April 4. Please note that you have six alders available to help you with issues since we all serve at large (no districts). You can reach all of your alders on the City's website under the "I want to" button.
REGISTER TO VOTE
Spring election is just around the corner so please make sure you are registered to vote. In person absentee voting will begin at Monona City Hall on March 22 and will run through April 1. Information related to elections in Monona can be found here. Absentee ballots will be mailed by March 15 if you have a request for an absentee ballot on file. I have not seen any information from the City regarding our city council candidate forum but the Monona East Side Business Alliance (MESBA) will be hosting one on March 16 at 6:30pm for our Dane County Board of Supervisors seat which is a contested race. More info can be found here. Our city council race is uncontested so three new candidates will step in on April 5.
I'll be hosting a meet and greet for newcomer Clint Keaveny for Dane County Board of Supervisor's District 24 on Tuesday, March 15 from 5-7pm at the Muskellounge located in Lake Edge Shopping Center. This is a great opportunity to meet one of your candidates and to become an informed voter. Hope to see you there!
CANOE/KAYAK LOTTERY OPEN
Attention paddlers! Monona's Canoe/Kayak lottery to store your craft at one of our six racks is now open but not for long. Fill out the application online, under the new renters tab, and you will be entered into the lottery to possibly get a spot.
If you are selected in the lottery, you'll have the choice of any location where there are spots available.
ATWOOD AVENUE RECONSTRUCTION 2023
The City of Madison is leading the reconstruction of Atwood Avenue from Fair Oaks Avenue to Cottage Grove Road in 2023. A virtual public meeting will be held on March 22 at 6pm. Prior registration is required. A primary focus of the meeting will be to discuss various alternatives for the placement of a new multi-use path in the Olbrich Park area. Four alternatives have been developed by the City and one by neighborhood residents. You can view the four options near Olbrich Park at this link.
The section that impacts Monona, can be viewed here. In the image above, I have highlighted in red the multi-use path. You'll see that the path crosses the street at Dennett Drive near the Monona boundary and then goes along the Madison side of the street avoiding Monona. So Monona users will have to cross Monona Drive at Cottage Grove Road and cross again at Dennett Drive to use the shared use path. Our option for the Monona side includes an on-street bike lane similar to Monona Drive. The on-street bike lane is an improvement to no bike lane as we currently have but statistics show that only 5% of riders are comfortable riding with this volume of traffic.
I recently worked with Madison Alder Grant Foster and Madison's engineering department to propose an amended design in this corridor with the multi-use path so it could continue on the Monona side (lake side) of the street. I was hoping we could do some public engagement and bring this to our public works committee to fine tune it and make it a successful project but, unfortunately Monona declined to participate. By working with Alder Foster and Madison engineering, we had readied the project for two phases: phase 1 would be reconstruction from Fair Oaks to Walter in 2023; Phase 2 would be reconstruction from Walter to Cottage Grove Road in 2024. This would have allowed us the necessary time to get our ducks in a row so to speak. It was then that the Mayor made the call to not participate. I greatly appreciated Madison's willingness to give us a chance to join this project and to break it into phases. But Monona users will have to find another route to ride safely to Olbrich Park or we must use the on-street bike lane. I fully realize that some folks who live on the Lake Loop find the cyclists to be challenging. But if we provided better infrastructure, it would organize the chaos of thousands of cyclists using our streets and it would make it safer for all.
Our ordinances state that biking on the sidewalk is illegal only in this northern section of the city. Imagine if this multi-use path continued to our new park space at San Damiano making for a wonderful biking experience on the Lake Loop highlighting our beautiful new park and provided a safe route for parents with children. Instead the Monona biking experience will be one that is not easily accessible or safe for riders that are not extremely experienced. This reconstruction will be in place for 40-50 years so we'll have to keep dreaming about that possibility. As a mom who bikes with her children frequently, this stings badly so I apologize if this sounds bitter. But frankly, all of us cyclists in Monona who frequently ride this stretch should be upset by this overreaching decision that took the public out of the process.
MONONA'S NEW TRAFFIC DATA DASHBOARD
At the 2/23/22 Public Safety Committee and Listening Session, Monona's Police Chief, Brian Chaney Austin, unveiled the Police Department’s Traffic Dashboard. It can be found under the “Quick Links” section on the City's website.
There’s a good deal of data included on the dashboard. If you select or hover over of the points on the map, you’ll get access to additional information about the incident. It will even include the breath alcohol content level for OWI arrests if applicable. You can also access additional information under the tabs section located on the bottom.
MOPD utilizes data to direct various initiatives and enforcement activity. It is an important tool with respect to prioritizing our available resources. As was brought up at the listening session, it may also be beneficial when evaluating if traffic engineering changes like lowering speed limits have had an impact on driving behavior and crashes.
ALTERNATIVES TO SOFT PLASTIC RECYCLING
Since our local recycling center stopped accepting plastic bags (#2 & #4), I've been searching for places to take these types of plastics near me. The McFarland Lions Club has kickedoff a six month recycling program in hopes of collecting 500 pounds of soft plastics that ends in June.
Plastics need to be clean and no hard plastics are accepted. Items with numbers 2 & 4 are accepted. Acceptable plastics include air pillows used in shipping, grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, newspaper sleeves, reclosable plastic bags, plastic film wraps, cereal bags, ice bags, salt bags, produce bags for starters.
Materials can be dropped off at McFarland Municipal Center, McFarland Library, McFarland Pick N' Save, and One Community Bank in McFarland. Thanks McFarland Lions Club!
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
This week was international women's day and I was incredibly honored to be acknowledged by Madison Magazine with seven other women for our service to our communities. I honestly I do not feel worthy of being included on the stage with them but it is heartwarming to be acknowledged for my contributions to the Dane County region. You can see my acknowledgement here and the others can be viewed on Madison Magazine's Facebook page. They include Francesca Hong, Madison's top nurses, Makela Humke (Madison's first eagle scout), Marilyn Ruffin, Sue Shapcott, Dina Nina Martinez, & The Amy's. It has been wonderful serving as your Alder! I hope to see you out and about this summer. Please know that I love meeting new people so please don't be shy about saying hello. :)
Yours in service,
Kristie Goforth, Alder for City of Monona