Categories
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.

Categories
Complete Streets Greenways Newsletter

News from the Trail – April 2017

 

Volunteer Cleanup Event

The bike lanes and sidewalks along St. Aubin Street near Eastern Market need some TLC. This route, also known as the Hamtramck Connector, is part of the planned Inner Circle Greenway, too.

On Saturday, April 8th from 9am to noon, we’re going to give St. Aubin a makeover in partnership with the City of Detroit and with help from GFL (Green for Life)Meijer, and the Polish American Historic Site Association.

We need volunteers to help us remove debris and vegetation from the bike lanes and sidewalks. Please register if you can attend.

Volunteer sign in is at the St. Albertus parking lot on the northwest corner of Canfield and St. Aubin.

Greater Downtown Area Bicycle Network Plan

The City of Detroit is hosting a couple meetings this month regarding updates its non-motorized plan from 2005. The goal is to bring a world-class bicycle network for Detroit’s greater downtown area. These public meetings are a chance for you to preview their work, ask questions, and provide feedback.

  • April 12th, 5:30 am to 7:30 pm
  • April 13th, 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Both meetings are at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201

The official flyer for the event is on our shared drive.

Quick Survey on Biking in Detroit

People for Bikes is conducting a national survey that only takes less than 10 minutes. The feedback will help determine city rankings in a new PlacesForBikes rating system. They expect to “identify the best places for bicycling today and recognize those that are improving the fastest.”

Take the survey

Typically, national organizations do a poor job evaluating cities like Detroit for bicycle friendliness due to the data they use. This may be an opportunity to get a more accurate review. We’ll find out when the city ratings are released in fall 2017.

Upcoming Events
Volunteer Cleanup
April 8th, 9am to noon
Let’s give St Aubin a makeover — part of the Inner Circle Greenway
Registration

Greater Downtown Bicycle Plan
April 12th & 13th
See and hear updates on trails and biking in Detroit
Event Flyer

MDOT Training Wheels
May 10th in Warren
Educational course on the planning and design of on-road bicycle facilities
Event Flyer

Bike to Work Day
May 19th
Mark your calendars. Details to come!

 

Categories
Complete Streets Greenways Newsletter

News from the Trail – December 2016

Downtown Detroit Public Meeting

We’ve encouraged the Downtown Detroit Partnership for some time about making Downtown Detroit more bike-friendly — and now they are and in a major way. This is so critical now since the area’s rebirth is bringing more traffic and their public bike share program will launch in April.

They’ve been working on designs for an initial phase of a protected bike lane network through the Downtown and even along Woodward. These are advanced designs unlike anything seen before in Michigan. Everyone wants to make sure they will work safely. They want your feedback on this (as well as future bike share station locations and more.)

They are hosting a public meeting on Monday, December 12th from 4pm until 6pm at the Boll Family YMCA. If you can attend, please register. If you can’t, please share your thoughts with contact James Fidler at james.fidler@downtowndetroit.org.

Protected Bike Lanes Expanding

In addition to the downtown, protected bike lanes are being installed on Michigan Avenue and Livernois this year. Cass Avenue’s will happen next year with E. Jefferson not far behind.

A national media source asked us why Detroit is building so many protected bike lanes. We said we have to because Detroit is going to be America’s number one city for bicycling.

With this rapid change, there’s a major learning curve for everyone. We’re working with city and other stakeholders on safety education efforts. We also worked with MDOT to update their “What every motorist must know about bike lanes” brochure, which now includes protected bike lanes.

We’re asking everyone to be careful, considerate and patient while everyone learns how to operate around these new designs. Just like roundabouts, it’s going to take a bit of time.

Neighborhood & Greenway Planning Approved

Four neighborhood planning contracts were approved by City Council last week. All four include planning for these areas to become 20-minute neighborhoods, where every non-work errand can be made with a 20 minute bike ride or walk.

The Greater Islandview contract also includes the Beltline Greenway which we’ve been working on for a number of years. We helped make it part of the Iron Belle Trail, which brought in million dollars in funding to acquire the private property. Our Rouge River Greenway concept is the Grandmont-Rosedale project.

Look for community meetings on all projects during the next few months.

In the meantime, enjoy this great video from ClickonDetroit that discusses 20-minute neighborhoods as well as the Beltline Greenway.

Gordie Howe International Bridge

While there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to bike or walk over the new bridge, it will be designed for it. That’s a requirement of the design proposal released by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) and a priority for us over the past few years.

We met with the three teams bidding on the project last week. One engineer noted it was critical having the bike and pedestrian requirement at the start because it greatly affects the bridge design and how much the road surface is allowed to deflect. In other words, in a car you might not notice a bridge moving up and down, but it would be unnerving on a bike or on foot.

We’re on the WDBA U.S. Environmental Advisory team and will stay on top of this project as it moves forward.

Our Fundaising Campaign

We need your help so that we can continue our work. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our Coalition. Thanks to those who have already given generously.

Also, by shopping through Amazon Smile program, a percentage of your purchase goes towards the Coalition. It’s an easy way to give and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.