It’s just a short piece of trail, but it is loved.
In a new neighborhood on Madison’s far southwest side there is a quiet neighborhood street called Jeffy Trail. Last year the city constructed a short bike path off the dead end street to connect it to the city’s broader trail network. The Ice Age hiking trail also goes through the corridor and a beautiful piece of deed restricted conservation land, once owned by the Audubon Society, straddles the trail.
The city wants to punch Jeffy Trail through the bike path alongside the Ice Age Trail and the conservation land to Raymond Road. That plan was set for 2019, but without the knowledge of the neighborhood the mayor’s capital budget would have moved the project up to next year.
Neighbors learned of the change by happenstance, but quickly swung into action, collecting 82 signatures in only a couple of hours asking that the city delay the project. To its credit the Madison Common Council voted last night to accept their request. The Bike Fed was happy to help out with a letter to the council in support of the delay.
The neighborhood now gets some breathing room. There will be neighborhood meetings in which the city will better explain the project, answer questions and perhaps entertain suggestions to improve the project.
In some ways this is just another small local skirmish in a big state. But it’s indicative of how quickly people come to love their trails. This one was only constructed a year ago and yet neighbors rallied to protect it immediately.
As Madison prepares to go for Platinum status in the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities rankings, this pause in a small project sends a strong signal that the city cares about its trails.