Skip to main content

Arboretum Drive reopening to motor vehicle traffic July 31

July 24, 2020
Arboretum Drive street sign at intersection with bike trail

Arboretum Drive will reopen to motor vehicle traffic July 31, with the speed limit reduced from 25 mph to 20. Other safety improvements will follow. Photo: Bryce Richter

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is reopening Arboretum Drive from the Wingra Drive entrance to the UW–Madison Arboretum Visitor Center to motor vehicle traffic starting July 31.

In May, this stretch of Arboretum Drive was temporarily closed due to the high volume of pedestrian and bicycle usage during the initial months of the coronavirus pandemic. Road usage declined after the spring blossom peak and as other summer activities became popular. The university is reopening the road as usage has decreased and the UW–Madison campus begins its Smart Restart gradual reopening plan.

With the reopening, visitors traveling by car will again have access to the road, parking lots, and Visitor Center area from both east and west entrances. Residents of the Town of Madison who live adjacent to the Arboretum will be able to use the full stretch of Arboretum Drive to access their homes and neighborhood.

Arboretum Drive and McCaffrey Drive are heavily used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and wildlife. Road safety continues to be a high priority. When the road reopens, the speed limit will reduce from 25 mph to 20 mph. Additional road safety measures, including improved signage and crosswalks, will be implemented in the future.

All drivers should observe the posted speed limit, be alert for pedestrians, bikers and wildlife, and be especially cautious around blind curves. Stopping along the roadside is prohibited. Pedestrians should walk or run on the road shoulder facing traffic. Bicycles are allowed on the paved road only. Riding bicycles on trails is not allowed.

Pedestrians and cyclists should continue to observe current physical distancing guidelines by maintaining six feet from others who don’t share their household. All other regulations at the Arboretum, which include no dogs, skateboards or rollerblades, still apply.

The gate between Visitor Center parking lots will again be closed to prevent through traffic. The Visitor Center remains closed and all Arboretum events and activities are canceled until further notice. A portable toilet is available in the Visitor Center parking lot but is not being regularly stocked. Water fountains are not operating. For more information on the Arboretum’s operational status, please visit their COVID-19 website.