Belle Isle bike lane maintenance & snow removal

They’re the oldest bike lanes in Detroit — almost 10 year old.

They were implemented under the guidance of Al Fields in the Mayor’s office. Al now serves as President of the Detroit Greenways Coalition.

But the Belle Isle bike lanes are no longer under city control. They’re not controlled by the DNR either. As part of the Belle Isle lease, all of the roads on Belle Isle, including the MacArthur Bridge are now state trunklines controlled by MDOT. Also as part of the lease, MDOT receives the state fuel tax money for these roads that used to go to Detroit.

Last summer the bike lane sweeping wasn’t the best, but it did seem to improve.

While at a Metro 313 Cyclones meeting last week we heard the snow was being consistently plowed from the bike lanes, so we contacted MDOT.  They said they’ve had some problems getting all the snow removed on the same day.

How well the bike lanes are cleared initially depends on the characteristics of the snow event. The crews may not always be able to clear the bike lanes immediately; they may have to get to them after the main roadways have been made passable.

MDOT had planned to contract the snow plowing but the bids came in too high, so their own maintenance garage is handling it.

What do you think about the maintenance of the Belle Isle bike lanes?

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  1. Certainly, last summer was a huge improvement over the past. I’m still concerned, however, about the conditions on the Belle Isle Bridge itself. As enforcement of anti-littering, drinking, etc. has picked up on the Island, some may throw out bottles, even hypodermic needles (I’ve reported this to the DNR) on the bridge.

  2. I ride Belle Isle all the time in all seasons and all weathers. When I heard that the State of Michigan was moving I was skeptical, but I have been pleasantly surprised. For one thing, the grass on the Island has never looked better – weed free and quite green. Personally, I have never used the bike lanes on Belle Isle nor on the Bridge. I always ride just to the outside of those lanes, and I am pleased to say the State Police almost never ask me to get in the bike lane. The latest repaving of the perimeter road resulted in a wider road. I really like the roomier feel. On the final day of that repaving, I had the pleasure of riding my Paramount on wet concrete, much to the consternation of about twenty men who were working on the project. I felt lucky to get out of there alive. The pavement between Jefferson and the southbound Bridge is laced with potholes and cracks. No amount of patching could rescue it. Total repaving is necessary. Who do we call???

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