A Detroit Bicycle Superhighway Network?

Perhaps you read recently that the Mayor of London’s bicycle infrastructure plan was recently approved. This plan includes 12 Cycle Superhighways, which are described in this video from Transport for London.

Detroit could certainly benefit from Cycle Superhighways. The most obvious routes would be on the major spoke roads: E. Jefferson, Gratiot, Woodward, Grand River, Michigan, and W. Fort. The Inner Circle Greenway could serve as a good spoke road connector as well. Although shorter in length, the Dequindre Cut as well as the planned rail-trail from the Michigan Central Station to the RiverWalk could also have a role as connectors.

It seems the key Superhighway design features include:

  • Having good length and connectivity. They have to get you places in a direct manner.
  • Being built so that a wide range of people feel safe bicycling on them. These may require segregated bike lanes.
  • Offering fewer required stops for stop signs and traffic lights. They might even incorporate Green Waves.

Also, new e-bike technology makes longer distance bicycle trips more realistic for more people. There’s more speed and less sweat. During rush hour, e-bike trips between Downtown Detroit and the first-ring suburbs might be the fastest option.

Detroit’s non-motorized master plan is a bit outdated and does not include Cycle Superhighways. Until it does get updated, we’re trying to interject this Superhighway concept into the more immediate plans for E. Jefferson, the Woodward corridor, and the Inner Circle Greenway.

Of course it’s good to plan ahead, and with Detroit’s rapidly progressing bicycle culture, these Superhighways seem not only attainable, but necessary.

[Thanks to Tim Springer for being an early promoter of this concept during visits to Detroit.]

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