Madison mayor's European departure less certain - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison mayor's European departure less certain

By Tony Galli - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

MADISON (WKOW) -- In an interview with WKOW27 News from Amsterdam, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said the odds of Cieslewicz and his delegation leaving Europe on a scheduled flight Wednesday are getting slimmer.

Cieslewicz, County Executive Kathleen Falk and others went to Germany and the Netherlands to tour bike-friendly cities.   With thousands of other travelers, they have become stranded due to the cancellation of flights because of ash spewing from a volcano in Iceland.

Cieslewicz said he had felt there was an eighty percent chance Wednesday's scheduled flight from Amsterdam would depart, until further developments with atmospheric conditions and European airports dimmed that percentage.  

Cieslewicz said the group abandoned a contingency plan to drive eighteen hours to Rome in hopes of having a better chance to depart from southern Europe, a greater distance from the volcano, and instead determined the best possibility of departing was by staying put in the Netherlands.

"We're staying in contact.   If it (delay) only lasts a few days, we're going to be fine."

"We just hope it doesn't stretch into weeks." 

Via Skype,  Cieslewicz Tuesday participated in a bi-weekly meeting of his management team, listening to presentations on a new recycling initiative and other city projects.

Cieslewicz will miss presiding at Tuesday's common council meeting as new council officers are elected, and Cieslewicz's state-of-the-city address planned for Wednesday has been scrapped.

Cieslewicz said there's no sense of crisis or chaos in Amsterdam, as hotel space remains occupied by stranded travelers while anticipated reservations have been canceled by others unable to reach the European city.

But Cieslewicz said his contingent's consideration of trying to move to a hotel closer to the airport in Amsterdam was rejected for its potential to backfire.

"If you give up your hotel room, you might not get another one."

The cost of the trip for Cieslewicz and the rest of the city of Madison portion of the contingent is being covered by Boulder-based Bikes Belong Coalition.

"The Coalition has generously offered to continue to support the city's contingent.   We don't know how long that will last."   A spokesperson for Bikes Belong Coalition has yet to return a call from WKOW27 News.

Cieslewicz said members of his delegation have already begun work on a summary of what was learned from touring cities with bicycle-enabling policies.

A spokesperson for Falk said the county executive has been in touch with county officials by telephone and continues to be involved in county business.

Cieslewicz said he remains hopeful of a Wednesday departure, which is tentatively scheduled just past 7 a.m. C.S.T.



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