Citing the impact on businesses, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has canceled the second of two Ride the Drive festivals in the city.
The Ride, scheduled for Sunday, will go on as scheduled, allowing walkers, bicyclists and others to tour city streets free of motor vehicles. The layout forms roughly six miles of streets closed to traffic.
And that's the rub for the new Madison mayor.
Soglin, in an interview Wednesday, said he wanted to change the route for Sunday’s event because it cut off many local businesses, especially on State Street and the southeast side of Capitol Square, but decided to leave it because plans were too far along.
For next year, Soglin said he supports two events — one Downtown with a route that would have less of an impact on businesses and another that would give people a chance to explore neighborhoods. There has been talk of having next year’s second event on the city’s North Side, which wouldn’t work for the September date this year because of road construction, said Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who represents the core Downtown.
In 2010, an appearance by Lance Armstrong helped draw 50,000 participants in an event that generated rave reviews - at least from those who took advantage of the car-free streets.
Soglin's move represents another change in direction from his predecessor Dave Cieslewicz, who took a leadership role in making Madison more friendly toward cyclists.