Madison has some unusual traffic problems even in summer with most of the University of Wisconsin students away for the summer. It will be worse when the college kids return.
I have lived all across the country, including in cities that dwarf Madison. I also have driven on several college campuses. Madison’s traffic problems were especially noticeable when I drove to central Wisconsin and back, arriving in Madison near bar time on Saturday. Clusters of pedestrians were jay-walking at random.
When the college students return, they pose unusual traffic hazards. Jay-walking students now have their eyes and ears glued to cellular phones instead of watching out for cars. A number of foreign students appear to have obtained their driver licenses by correspondence courses because they seem not to know how big their cars are to drive or park.
Although operating autos safely on the Beltline is an area of emphasis in public service announcements, speed and using turn signals is still random. The speed limit on most of the Beltline is 55 mph. I usually drive 60 mph and am often passed on both the right and left by people driving at least 70 mph.
I work on Mineral Point Road near the Beltline. I currently take the Beltline to work to avoid the construction backup at Mineral Point and Gammon. When there is no road construction, I can get to work in 10 minutes by taking Mineral Point Road. The posted speed limit on Mineral Point is 40 mph. Some drive 50 mph but some drive 30 mph. This is also true of University Avenue between Whitney Way and near campus.
What especially galls me when I am walking is the sheer number of those riding bicycles on the sidewalk. I am not heartless; I am fine with parents and little kids riding on the sidewalk. When I was a student, a lucky few were bicycle enforcement officers, empowered to write tickets for riding on the sidewalk, blowing through red lights and riding in an unsafe manner. Bicyclists operated safely to avoid tickets.
Tickets seem in short supply in Madison for autos and bicycles operated unsafely, however. Police in Madison seem to have their hands too full to respond to anything but accidents instead of preventing them.