Madison Bicycle Adventure Trail System (MBATS) proposal

    Trail Steward - Quarry Park | Former Vice President - Operations

    February 20, 2018, 04:09 PM

    Madison Bicycle Adventure Trail System
    Project Proposal

    Submitted by
    Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP)

    CORP currently maintains twelve recreational off road cycling trail systems that are spread across the city of Madison and the surrounding communities.  CORP proposes that the City of Madison Parks establishes a system of smaller noncontiguous trail segments and facilities (pump tracks, skills areas or cyclocross courses), suitable for off road oriented bicycles (mountain bikes, fat bikes, and cyclocross bikes), that will link the larger trail systems together and would be part of the Parks and Recreation system. These trail segments would be connected by current and future bicycle infrastructure, encouraging cyclists to ride to larger trail systems rather than drive.  Combined with our current trail systems, these connecting segments would become the Madison Bicycle Adventure Trail System (MBATS).

    The opportunities for off road cycling around the City of Madison have grown substantially during the last decade and Madison Parks has added mountain bike facilities into their 2018-2022 park and open space plan.  Existing trail systems at Quarry Park and the Seminole trails at the Dawley Conservancy have proven to be popular with certain riders, but many off road cyclists opt to commute to the surrounding communities to take advantage of larger trail systems such as Quarry Ridge in Fitchburg, Pleasant View in Middleton or Cam Rock in Cambridge. Geographic constraints limit the options for developing  large stand-alone trail systems within Madison. However, there are many smaller, under-utilized green spaces scattered throughout the city that, individually, are not large enough to be attractive for destination trails.

    Inspiration and Vision

    Given the the limited availability of large pieces of land within the City of Madison, it would be easy to give up on the notion of developing worthwhile off road cycling facilities.   But CORP believes that, in partnership with Madison Parks, we have an opportunity to overcome the challenges of providing a quality mountain biking experience in an urban environment.

    Our vision for MBATS is to create 3 distinct routes centered on downtown Madison and connecting to outlying trail systems.  The corridors will be based on existing bicycle infrastructure, augmenting this with green spaces where cyclists can jump off pavement, onto a off road segment and then back onto pavement until their final destination.  The proposed destinations:
    • Pleasant View and Blackhawk in Middleton 
    • Quarry Ridge in Fitchburg
    • CamRock Park in Cambridge, via Door Creek Park and the Glacial Drumlin Trail

    The off road segments being proposed begin just outside the downtown area and move outwards .  We don’t envision official starting points; rather, detailed, easy to follow maps will guide riders into the system from anywhere in the city.  To view the proposed possible map (NOTE-
    The current map shows facilities with the physical potential for off road cycling; no concrete plans exist at any sites.  As the plan develops, we will assess sites more thoroughly and determine the routing of the system):

    What will make MBATS unique is the diversity of the segments, offering facilities for all rider levels and ages.   CORP is proposing multiple possible options for each park, green space or engineering greenway to make the best use of the available land.  Some possible options:
    • Pump Track
    • A type of off-road terrain park consisting of a circuit of banked turns and rollers designed to be ridden completely by "pumping" - creating momentum by up and down body movements.  These can fit in an area as small as 30’ x 50’.

    • Skills Area
    • A mix between pump track, playground for bikes and single track-  can include pump sections, rock climbs, balance beams, bridges, jumps and bicycle teeter totters- Designed primarily for beginner and intermediate riders.  These can fit in an area as small as 40’ x 50’.

    • Cyclocross Course
    • A course featuring a variety of surfaces (pavement, grass, sand, gravel, dirt, etc.) and obstacles that may require riders to dismount and remount their bicycle.

    • Single Track 
    • Min 18” wide dirt paths,  which could be as short as 200 feet to make use of easements,  greenspaces parallel to bike paths, and small sections of wooded areas; simple off road alternatives to the main paved corridor.

    In addition to being a part of MBATS, these segments will be valuable additions to their neighborhoods, whether offering a healthy activity for children, an easy way for a beginner to get a taste of off road riding, or a chance for a seasoned cyclist to get a quick ride in.

    The MBATS will promote cycling and healthy lifestyles, encourage cyclists to drive less, and will further develop the proud reputation Madison enjoys as a cycling friendly city.

    This vision needs your support- Please contact City of Madison Parks Department to share support for this proposal (The grand vision and/ or individual facilities in your community)- CStelljes@cityofmadison.com
    Live in the city of Madison?  Share your support with your alder https://www.cityofmadison.com/council/councilmembers/findAlderByAddress.cfm
    If you have any questions, comments or input please email-  dan.dacko@madcitydirt.com

    The following areas in the United States have created similar networks:

    Bentonville, Arkansas

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Richmond Virginia

    « Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 08:24 AM by augs »


    March 02, 2018, 08:29 PM

    This sounds awesome, and pretty much includes all the feedback I gave in the Madison parks (or Dane County I don't remember) survey. It's amazing in the last few years how much the trails are growing and I can't wait to see where this goes!



    March 03, 2018, 02:02 PM

    FYI, on Tuesday March 13, from 5-7 PM, at the Alicia Ashman Library there is a neighborhood input meeting about the Sauk Creek Greenway Repair. This is a plot of woods located to the west of Walnut Grove Park, running between Old Sauk Rd. and Tree Lane. It appears that this is one of the sites mapped as part of the Madison Bicycle Adventure Trail System Project Proposal. CORP members who live in the neighborhoods surrounding this wooded area may want to attend and provide support for biking trail development. More details are attached.



    March 03, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Attachment the file did not work for me. If you want more details, contact me and I can provide them. Or, tell me the tricks to get attachments to attach.


    Former President
    Board Member

    March 03, 2018, 05:30 PM

    Your attachment did work.  We're already planning to have a couple board members at that meeting; won't hurt to have more interested parties.  This could very easily be the first site that gets developed.