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Jason McDowell is also known as Little Tiny Fish. He is the Creative Director for OnMilwaukee. Occasionally he freelances. Mostly he rides bikes.

littletinyfish.com is not a cohesive blog, but a repository of musings on an assortment of topics, such as design, art, cycling, Milwaukee, and other personal experiences.

“It’s basically about [rich conservatives] in Madison who hate [bicycles] and think everyone should [drive] to work. It is basically making it difficult to use [anything but an] automobile.”

Sounds familiar, eh Mr. Nass?

Fortunately neither are terribly true—particularly in Madison, one of the most bicycle friendly cities in America. Sure, there are some car hating hippies out there, just like there are bike hating capitalists, but mostly there is a giant middle ground. The vast majority of cyclists own a car and drive regularly. The vast majority of drivers own a bicycle would like to ride their bike more often. The more people we can get sharing the roads, the safer everyone will be.

The reality is that there is room for all kinds of transportation on the roads. The bike boxes aren’t being installed in Madison so that cyclists can show off their well-toned posteriors. They’re being installed for safety. They are there to make sure drivers understand that they are not the only users of the road. They are there to make sure drivers give cyclists an appropriate amount of room.

Arguing against bike boxes is like arguing against crosswalks, traffic lights, speed limits, left-turn signals, and stop signs which also slow down traffic. Are pedestrians “liberal extremists who hate cars and think everyone should walk to work,” too? Should we tell construction workers that they can no longer close lanes or hold up “SLOW” signs? This also slows down traffic.

It’s not about hating cars, honestly. It really isn’t. It’s about undoing mistakes that have made our public roads such a hostile place. It’s about making fast flying, two-ton folks more aware of their surroundings. It’s about bridging the gap between anger and understanding, speed and patience.

Showing off our well-toned posteriers is just an added benefit.

—Signed, Jason McDowell
littletinyfish.com

Please take a moment to send a message to Mr. Nass and let him know that you want to see more cooperation and less auto-centric planning on our public roadways.

Here’s is Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, contact info:

Madison Office
Room 12 West
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

Voting Address
N8330 Jackson Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
Telephone
(608) 266-5715 Or (888) 529-0031

District Telephone (262) 495-3424
Fax (608) 282-3631
Email: Rep.Nass@legis.wisconsin.gov

Archived Comments

These comments were pulled from the archives after a site failure in mid 2014. Though I no longer accept public comments on my site, I’ve included them for posterity. If you’d like to submit a comment, send one to littletinyfish@littletinyfish.com.

  • I have to admit, Rep Nass’s rather uninformed (to be charitable) comments reminded me of a poem I learned long ago. It was written by EY Harburg (who also wrote the lyrics for Wizard of Oz). True, its subject was a Congressman, and not a state legislator but I think Rep Nass is worthy of the promotion:

    Should I Write A Letter To My Congressman?

    Each Congressman has two ends,
    A sitting and a thinking end.
    And since his whole success depends
    Upon his seat, why bother, friend?

    Arlen · 2010-05-28 21:52 · #

  • I started attending meetings for a new Milwaukee group that, at this moment is called “Milwaukee Businesses by Bike” or MBByB or “Embibe” (which is a little iffy since it’s mixing alcohol and transportation…even though it’s not about alcohol at all). At any rate we need a name, a logo, a mission statement and a checklist of what makes a bike friendly business.

    The League of American Bicyclist’s have put together a basic list of how businesses can become more bike friendly, but personally I feel it’s not ambitious enough. So I started brainstorming more options and expanding on ideas they already presented. It should almost be a non–stop, always developing list.

    Some stuff should be relatively easy just to make the barrier of entry a little lower. The idea is that businesses could figure out how friendly they already are and gives them something to aspire to be. For instance they could check off that 1% of their office commutes to work and aspire to reach 2%. The higher the percentage the higher the poins. If you have a bike rack, you get a point. If you have a covered bike rack, you get 2. If you have secure bike parking you get 3 points.

    The higher the points, the higher your business would rank. Brown, Bronze, Gold, Silver, and Platinum. As businesses reached Platinum you could add more ideas and rank double Platinum, Triple Platinum, Unnllquadium, Unnlhexium, Unnlennium etc.

    Some of the requirements might seem unobtainable, but it’s good to shoot for the moon. If you can’t improve further in that direction you can gain more points in other categories.

    So here’s the list so far. If you think of any other great additions (or subtractions…it’s a very loose list at this point), please leave a comment and I’ll add it in there and present it to the group the next time we meet.

    • Talk with your aldermen or district representative and let them know you want bicycle facilities (off–street bike paths, lanes, trees, other traffic calming measures, boulevards, etc) in your area. (+1 pt)
    • Talk with your aldermen or district representative yearly. (+1 pt)
    • Talk with your aldermen or district representative twice a year. (+1 pt)
    • This might have to be adjusted for business size. Businesses with 10 employees could gain an unfair advantage.
    • Get 10% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 9% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 8% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 7% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 6% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 5% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 4% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 3% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 2% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Get 1% of your office to commute by bike. (+1 pt)
    • Follow up with those businesses. (+2 pt)
    • Talk with other local businesses about becoming bike friendly. (+1 pt)
    • Showers and private changing rooms are ideal. (+5 pt)
    • Arrange for shower use at a local health club for your employees. (+2 pt)
    • Hanging space or a standing wardrobe will provide ample storage for work clothes. (+3 pt)
    • Provide an iron and ironing board. (+1 pt)
    • As an alternative to installing expensive showers, allow bike commuters to dress casually in the office. (+1 pt)
    • Provide sanitary wipes for sweat removal. (+1 pt)
    • Offer subsidies for bike commuters who don’t use car parking spaces. (+3 pt)
    • Provide lunch for bike commuters. (+1 pt)
    • Offer extra vacation time for daily bike commuters. (+5 pt)
    • Appoint a bike commuting coordinator to procure local bike route maps. (+1 pt)
    • Help employees plan routes to work using low–traffic but direct roads and paths. (+1 pt)
    • Start a Bike Pool program. Having a cycling partner increases the joy of riding dramatically. (+2 pt)
    • Post an outline of local traffic laws and how they apply to bicycles. (+1 pt)
    • Encourage cyclist education among employees; educated riders are safe riders. (+1 pt)
    • Send regular safety and ettiquette notes through the office. (+1 pt)
    • Offer even more vacation time to those with no excuses. (+3 pt)
    • Offer even more vacation time to those who commute below 20 degrees. (+2 pt)
    • Offer even more vacation time to those who commute below 30 degrees. (+2 pt)
    • Offer even more vacation time to those who commute below 40 degrees. (+1 pt)
    • Offer extra vacation time for bike commuters. (+1 pt)
    • If on a narrow arterial, sharrows outside the business. (+3 pt)
    • If on an arterial, bike lanes outside the business. (+3 pt)
    • Partner with a local bike shop to offer employee discounts or maintenance clinics. (+2 pt)
    • Have a professional bike fitting as needed. (+1 pt)
    • Have a professional bike fitting twice a year. (+1 pt)
    • Have a professional bike fitting once a year. (+1 pt)
    • Have loaner bikes in the office for people to use over their lunch hours. This gives people a chance to get their toes wet to let them know that commuting is not only possible, but easy and fun. (+1 pt)
    • Have high quality loaner bikes. This shows people that investing in a good quality bike with the right weight and fit is a good idea. (+3 pt)
    • Get the loaner bikes from a local bike shop, not a department store. This increases awareness and supports local business. (+2 pt)
    • Bike racks outside the office. (+1 pt)
    • Bike racks in a visible area. (+1 pt)
    • Adequate bike racks available to the public. (Enough to serve the office AND the public). (+1 pt)
    • Covered bike racks. (+2 pt)
    • Secure bike storage within the office building. (+3 pt)
    • Secure bike storage on the ground floor. (+1 pt)
    • Provide bus passes on rainy days. (+1 pt)
    • Provide washers and dryers for rainy/muddy days. (+5 pt)
    • Provide dryer sheets. (+1 pt)
    • Provide closets and hangers. (+1 pt)
    • Participate in the Bicycle Commuter Act. (+3 pt)
    • Submit your name to the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and post a “We are a bicycle friendly [Color] Standard Business” on your website. (+2 pt)
    • Promote bike teams for charity rides.  (Trek 100, UPAF Miller Lite Ride for the Arts, Riverwest 24, etc.). (+2 pt)
    • Form a company bicycle club or race team; increase your own exposure locally. (+5 pt)
    • Organize a lunchtime race. (+2 pt)
    • Ask the local bike shop to showcase new bike models during lunch. (+2 pt)
    • Get local news media to cover your events. (+1 pt)
    • Encourage employees to help co–workers make the switch to bike commuting. (+1 pt)

    There are over 100 points to earn so far, so for starters I’m thinking:

    • Brown: 20pts
    • Bronze: 50pts
    • Silver: 70pts
    • Gold: 90pts
    • Platinum: 110pts

    If you have any other ideas of what should be included in the list, leave a note in the comments. I’d love to see this list grow larger and larger with more creative ways of promoting cycling.

    Archived Comments

    These comments were pulled from the archives after a site failure in mid 2014. Though I no longer accept public comments on my site, I’ve included them for posterity. If you’d like to submit a comment, send one to littletinyfish@littletinyfish.com.

    1. this is all like a dream true. At my current job, for OVER A YEAR they said they were putting in a bike room and recently, a coworker saw a room near the loading dock full of racks. Yet they claim they are still working on the room. ugh.

      Hails · 2010-02-05 05:31 · #

    2. I’m not sure if it was listed, but in Portland they have on-street bike parking… Very slick.

      Dave Reid · 2010-02-05 08:41 · #

    3. Two more ideas:

      1. The company provides use of a company car for those who need to entertain clients.

      2. The company uses bicycle friendly services such as Breakaway, Milwaukee Courier, and Cream City Rickshaw.

      littletinyfish · 2010-02-06 09:16 · #

    4. 1. The company contacts not just their district alderpeople, but those higher in the political chain as well, from mayors to governors, to senators, etc.

      2. Businesses provide small discounts to cyclists.

      littletinyfish · 2010-02-09 15:27 · #