Gloria Durfield-Mitchell

Gloria was a mainstay in Detroit bikelife. Always in purple, she was someone you could count on seeing on a ride — and everyone knew and liked Gloria. She did everything with class and style.

So when the Detroit Greenways Coalition was looking for a bikelife person to serve on the board, she was our first choice. We are grateful for her years of volunteering and support as a boardmember with the Coalition.

Detroit has lost a great one. It’s difficult finding the words that can fully explain this, so we’ll leave you with some of our favorite photos. 💜

For more photos, visit the bike club Gloria founded, the Detroit Diva Cruisers.

What can I do to help?

I can clearly hear Gloria asking me that because she did so many times. She was always willing to volunteer to make good things happen. She may have retired from her job, but she never retired from working.

When we had an open seat on the Detroit Greenways Coalition board, she was our top choice. Yes, her willingness to help was one reason why, but also, she was well loved and respected in the biking and walking community.

She had photos with everyone. In fact, if you weren’t in her photos then you’d have a hard time convincing me that you were part of Detroit bikelife.

She was always a voice of reason. She always took the high ground. I think I can safely say that she never got put in Facebook jail.

We are all going to miss seeing her on the rides this summer, but she will forever ride with all of us.

Thank you, Gloria.

Reflections given at Gloria’s Celebration of Life by Todd Scott, Executive Director of the Detroit Greenways Coalition
Policy Uncategorized

Take Action: Climate Recommendations

We asking Michigan residents to email the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions to make sure investments in biking, walking, and transit are a primary recommendation for reducing carbon emissions.

The draft recommendations (see below) do include these green travel modes, but they may not be included in the final plan. Hearing from us can make sure that they are included.

We’ve submitted our comments and have created an easy-to-sign (or edit) version of them. We’ve also created a Climate Change page for those wanting a deeper dive into this Council process and much more.

Reduce Michigan's carbon emissions through investments in walking, biking, and transit

Dear Michigan Council on Climate Solutions

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From the Michigan Council on Climate Solutions Transportation and Mobility Workgroup Recommendations:

Top 5 Prioritized Recommendations

  1. Michigan should establish a coordinated and comprehensive transportation electrification plan, supportive of national goals, and allocation of sufficient resources and personnel to responsible state offices to create the plan.
  2. Michigan should establish a consumer and fleet electric vehicle (EV) incentive program, including new and used EVs, to support a rapid and accelerated transition to EVs among the driving public.
  3. Michigan should adopt a clean fuels standard as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the state, and as a potential revenue source for enhancing low/no carbon mobility options to more Michiganders.
  4. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and regional and local road agencies, should develop plans for implementing GHG budgets into their transportation planning.
  5. MDOT, metropolitan planning organizations (MPO’s), and local transit providers should develop comprehensive plans to expand access to convenient, zero emission public transit throughout the state of Michigan, with a goal of increasing the state’s investment by an amount great enough to support the mobility needs of the state’s residents.

Additional Recommendations for Consideration

  1. Michigan should develop and implement a statewide plan that takes a Safe Systems Approach to reduce Vulnerable Road User (VRU) fatalities and serious injuries to zero in order to encourage more trips by bicycling and walking.
  2. MDOT and MPOs should adopt new policies to exclusively use CMAQ (federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program) funding for projects that decrease vehicle miles traveled (VMT), improve air quality and reduce GHG emissions. Projects that will likely increase VMT and don’t serve a public safety priority should no longer be eligible for CMAQ funding.
  3. Michigan should establish an alternative, VMT-based EV fee that is more in alignment with Michigan’s climate goals and recognizes the higher efficiency of electric vehicles.
  4. Michigan’s building codes should be updated to assist with EV adoption.
  5. Michigan should establish a certification program for dealers to recognize dealers that are educated on EVs and know how to sell and maintain them.
  6. Establish new policies to allow Plug-in Electric vehicles (BEVs, PHEV’s and FCEV’s) to use Michigan’s High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (HOV lanes) regardless of passenger occupancy.
  7. Michigan should signal its commitment to electrification by preparing to adopt a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards in the Advanced Clean Cars Program, as well as the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) and Heavy-Duty Omnibus (HDO) rules.
  8. The State of Michigan should establish EV procurement goals for state-owned and state-leased fleet vehicles including a broad, long-term plan as well as short-term targets to electrify a practical subset of the state fleet.

2020 Snapshot

We created this graphic to highlight Detroit’s progress towards a more bikeable and walkable city — as well as our role.


Don’t send us donations for bike lane warning notices

We recently received a check from a Detroiter in a pre-printed envelope with our name and address. With the check was what appeared to be a City of Detroit parking ticket — until we looked closer. It’s deceptive. It’s from the “Cyclists of Detroit.”

Apparently this warning was placed on a vehicle that was parked in a bike lane. The instructions suggest send a donation to us, the Detroit Greenways Coalition.

We know nothing about this. We reached out to the city and they weren’t aware of this either.

While we certainly don’t want people parking vehicles in bike lanes, we also don’t want people being duped. We’re just not interested in taking donations in this manner. We will return 100% of the funds to this sender and any future ones.

Not only is this  more work for us, it’s downright poor timing. There is strong push for re-evaluating and restricting bike lane development in Detroit, especially at City Council. There’s also a proposed ordinance to reduce parking fines for Detroit residents. We don’t want our name tied to this scam.

Parking enforcement issues can be legitimately submitted through the city’s Improve Detroit app or web page.


Measuring Detroit’s “Bike Friendliness”

  • The current “bike friendly” city measurements and rankings are largely based on heavily flawed and inaccurate bike commuting data.
  • Bike commuting data does not represent actual biking levels in cities like Detroit where a majority of workers travel to the suburbs for their jobs.
  • Relying on bike commuting data ignores the majority of other bicycle trips made within cities.
  • Other Detroit data sources can be a more accurate measure of bicycle friendliness.

We’ve been working with the Detroit Office of Sustainability on how bicycling, walking, micro-mobility, bike lanes and greenways fit within their planning efforts. They want to measure Detroit’s progress in these areas. Initially they’d suggesting using ratings from national bicycling organizations, but those are highly inaccurate and rate Detroit poorly. Those ratings clearly do not reflect the reality of Detroit’s diverse bicycle culture that includes the largest weekly bike ride, the most bike clubs, and the second largest protected bike lane network in the U.S. This article explains why these ratings don’t work and provides better data options for measuring progress.

Measuring Detroit’s “Bike Friendliness”

There is no U.S. standard for measuring the bike friendliness of the city. One could expect the number of people bicycling in a city to be a good reflection of its bike friendliness. However, such data does not exist.

Despite this, many national organizations receive grant and private funding to rate U.S. city bicycle friendliness. They rely on heavily flawed data that impacts Detroit’s measure to a much greater extent than other cities.


Top Bike/Trail Projects for 2019

Detroit bike and trail progress is moving at a pace we never could have imagined when we started over a decade again. Back then we celebrated sharrows. Now Motown has leapfrogged other US cities to become a leader in building non-motorized infrastructure.

This doesn’t appear to be slowing down in 2019 and we’ve picked out a number of projects that illustrate this progress.

Detroit RiverWalk

It’s exciting every time a new piece of the RiverWalk puzzle is completed and a gap is closed. Soon the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will have more construction ongoing that ever before.

  • Atwater Beach near Jos Campau is under construction now and is expected to be opened in September. This is going to be a very unique and popular gathering place along the Riverfront with its bridge and sandy beach (but no water access.)
  • The groundbreaking for the Uniroyal site should occur this year. This is the major gap between Mt. Elliott Park, Gabriel Richard Park, and the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle.
  • The city of Detroit expects the Jos Campau Greenway will be under construction this year. This will provide access from the RiverWalk to E. Vernor along Jos Campau Avenue and on the existing public pathway. A pathway between Larned and E. Jefferson will be added as well.
  • On the West Riverfront, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park received $50 million in October, $40 million of which is for construction. While work continues on the park, it is not scheduled to be open until Fall 2022.
  • The Riverfront Connector between the Joe Louis Arena and Centennial Park was recommended for a $3 million Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. Additional funding is required to build this trail segment along the river.
  • Planning continues on the May Creek Greenway between Centennial park and Roosevelt Park. This should get quite interesting with Ford Motor Company renovating the train station and now owning some of the property required for the trail. Their community benefits agreement includes verbal support for the greenway.
  • Last but not least, the city of Detroit said they would be repaving W. Jefferson between Centennial Park and Riverside Park. This would be a major park connector. Currently the road appears war torn. This could be the most underrated project on this list.