I think Sherman businesses will be fine because they're part of a healthy and prosperous neighborhood full of people who want to go out to eat, drink, and buy stuff. The businesses have a natural market that's not going away.
Send it down Fremont Ave to Logan to Hooker over the RR tracks to Kensington in Maple Bluff and come out where Sherman and Fordem intersect. Have to build a path over the tracks and around the country club, but that should be easy. Why wasn't this route considered?
I too was trying to figure out a route through Brentwood/Maple Bluff but hadn't thought of a little link crossing the tracks, which isn't a crazy idea unless there's some legal reason the railroad, with their helpful attitude, can block even such a minimal request.
Getting from the end of Hooker or Fremont to Kensington is the trick for that link.
There's some precedent for using existing streets in the bike route around Lake Monona, which uses residential Monona streets and then Waunona Way on the south. If Maple Bluff would be as cooperative as Monona, it'd be OK. (Maybe they're fine with this -- I don't know.) Unfortunately both the Monona/Waunona Way and Maple Bluff routes are hilly. This is less than ideal for people pulling kids in trailers and for older or less fit riders. The railroad routes are nearly flat and nearly arrow-straight, which is what makes them so perfect for commuting.
Are there other bike commuters coming in town from the north side who have found workarounds to using Sherman or can explain the reasons it's impossible? We need a way just from the south part of Warner Park to Fordem/Old Sherman. A path north through Warner Park to Sherman or Northport should be a slam dunk because it's all city property, and once at Old Sherman you can pick up the city bike path system at the Yahara River.
Since everyone's been complaining about no public input on the Sherman project, maybe we can crowdsource this last missing piece and come up with something helpful if not ideal.
Why should bikes have to go out of the way if Sherman is the straightest route? They can still use Sherman, particularly if the new lane configuration turns out to be workable (which relies on through traffic accepting the Packers Ave route, and that remains to be seen). We're just seeking a parallel alternate for those who don't like traffic, are out to ride not shop, or do like a more residential route. Why should bikes be stuck on only one thoroughfare?
In Monona, bikers can use the residential street route (marked) or ride on a new bike path on rebuilt Monona Drive, which IMO is only for the hardcore due to all the driveways. I've only seen a few bikes on it, but it's a separate lane and if you want it, it's there. Two alternatives are good, and the same could be said for the Sherman neighborhoods.
It's my experience bikers tend to be like water flowing or ants marching, and somehow find and use the best way regardless of all the engineering in the world. They'll cut through parking lots, jump curbs, and do whatever it takes and the way they mysteriously reach unanimity on some shortcut is nothing less than amazing. So far they've been stymied by the railroad in this case. I think the railroad also tried to stop the Capital City Trail where it crosses the tracks and connects with Waunona Way, but that was like stopping the ants marching and they finally gave up. Maybe it can be done again.