The European-styled pavement markers the city of Madison installed last week at the intersection of Williamson and Wilson streets has made state Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, see red.
Nass said Friday that he would introduce legislation in January that would ban the bike boxes, which are intended to minimize conflicts between motorists and bicyclists at busy intersections.
“It’s basically about liberal extremists in Madison who hate cars and think everyone should bike to work,” Nass said. “It is basically making it difficult to use an automobile.”
The design, formed with a thermoplastic material affixed to the pavement with a blowtorch, includes glass beads that reflect headlights. They cost about $8,000 each to install, city officials said last week.
The bike boxes, installed Tuesday, are the first project to come out of a fact-finding tour of bicycle-friendly cities in Germany and the Netherlands that Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and 19 other civic and business leaders made last month.
But Nass said the boxes will cause bikes to cluster and get in the way of motor vehicles when the light turns green. In addition, the installations are costly in a time when government budgets are pinched, he said.
The bike boxes are an extension of bias against motorists, Nass said.
“If you’re in a vehicle, you will get tickets for many things,” he said. “There’s no question that there is a difference in who they are ticketing, and bicyclists are not obeying traffic laws, quite frankly.”
Assistant City Traffic Engineer Dan McCormick could not be reached on Friday. But he said earlier last week that the city plans to roll out 10 to 20 similar boxes at other busy intersections this year. Only the boxes at Williamson and Wilson streets where they intersect with Blair Street and John Nolen Drive will be red.
“The color is meant to really highlight special places for the cars and bikes to be,” he said.
McCormick said the first roll-out is being underwritten as a pilot by Flint Trading, a North Carolina company that manufactures the materials, with the city paying about $3,000 out of the $16,000 cost.