City officials mull perks for employees biking to work - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City officials mull perks for employees biking to work

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MADISON (WKOW) -- You don't have to look too far to see this a Madison bicyclist braving the slush and single-digit temps this December.

"It's just so much more fun to ride," says Jackie Sobolewski. It's the preferred method of travel for her and Willy Street Co-op co-worker Mike Burns.

"At first, it's a nice way to wake up. It gets you going, but you warm up pretty quickly," Burns says.  

It provides some perks at work, too. Co-op officials tell 27 news employees who commute by bike get 20 bucks a month set aside to spend on bike-related issues.

"You turn in a receipt and they'll reimburse you that way," Sobolewski says.

The Sustainable Madison Committee is tossing around similar ideas. It's part of an effort to get more city employees to work without their car.

"Our transportation habits have changed. Especially in our cities, and especially in Wisconsin," WISBIRG Foundation's Bruce Speight said during a news conference Tuesday.

He says a new report released shows Madison is already a national leader, ranking third for decrease in miles traveled per capita from 2006 to 2011.

Facilities and Sustainability Manager Jeanne Hoffman says city employees already get free bus passes. She says the committee is exploring incentives for those who walk or bike to work.

Madison's Pedestrian-Bicycle Coordinator Arthur Ross believes the city could be a leader in these types of policies.

"Certainly, the data makes it seem that it would be easy to attract people, to change modes, and maybe what they need in order to do that is just some kind of a small incentive," Ross says.

Mayor Paul Soglin says he supports the incentive idea, but the city has a 150 page sustainability report on its plate to review. City officials say part of the committee will meet Thursday, to review what some businesses like the Willy Street Co-op are doing.

They'll present their progress to the full committee December 16.

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