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Complete Streets

NoMo-vember: Detroit Bike & Trail Project updates

  • Bike lanes were removed from recent safety funding projects: Warren & Mack
  • Downtown Bike Network implementation on hold due to downtown construction. Focusing on east-west connectors now.
  • Equipment breakdowns have affected bike lane maintenance
  • Caitlin Marcon is the Deputy DPW Director of Complete Streets

Detroit’s quarterly non-motorized facilities meeting was last week and there were many updates we want to pass along.

Safety Projects

Grant funding is available in the federal transportation bill to redesign streets with high crash rates. Detroit has many high crash roads and has been successfully receiving this funding through MDOT. Traffic Engineering does Complete Streets designs on these high crash roads, which always includes better walking facilities (e.g. crosswalks, countdown Walk/Don’t Walk timers) and often bike facilities (e.g. bike lanes). These projects typically receive minimal community engagement — usually a public meeting.

In 2017, Warren Avenue from the city of Dearborn (near Central) to Dequindre received funding. The plan included protected bike lanes. Given Mayor Duggan’s concern about removing vehicle lanes to add bike lanes without more public discussion, these have been pulled from the project. The two-way conversion of Warren in Woodbridge was completed. We are advocating that the city does add quality bike lanes on Warren from Trumbull to Dequindre. They would be a great connection between Woodbridge, Wayne State, and Eastern Market.

In 2018, Mack Avenue from the Dequindre Cut to Alter was funded. Bike lanes were not included except for the bridge between St. Aubin and Conner Avenue.

Harper Avenue was selected for 2019. With more community engagement, bike lanes can and should be included in these projects as they are a key design element for building safer streets.

Downtown Bike Lane Network

An earlier revision of the Downtown Bike Network Plan

Downtown has long lacked bike lanes. With MoGo and now motorized scooters, the need for a good bike network is greater than ever. The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) has been working on a plan, received funding from MDOT and the Erb Family Foundation, but didn’t have enough. With the added mobility staff in both the planning and public works departments, the city has taken a large role in the project.

We learned at the recent meeting that with all of the ongoing downtown construction, it wasn’t realistic to build the entire network now. What the DDP and City are looking to do is build two major east-west connectors through downtown. Those are Adams from Beacon Park to Brush and Michigan Avenue-to-E. Lafayette connector.

Bike Lane Maintenance

Recent equipment breakdowns have affected the city’s ability to sweep the bike lanes. They have been using blowers until they can get the sweepers repaired, or better still, get specialized bike lane maintenance equipment. The latter really is the best solution in the long run and we’re pushing city to make this happen.

Detroit’s Complete Streets Deputy Director

Caitlin Marcon had been leading  mobility planning within the Planning and Development Department. She’s now a Deputy Director at the Public Works Department and in charge of Complete Streets. This is a big deal and should help build collaboration between the two city departments.

It’s a bit hard to believe this has happened. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we started pushing the city to consider building Complete Streets.

Congratulations, Caitlin.