Our October newsletter is now online! Many ribbon cuttings, public meetings, surveys, and more.
Our February Newsletter is now online!
Bike the Vote
Come join us for a group bike ride on Sunday afternoon, October 25th to encourage greater voter participation. We’d love to have a healthy turnout to show that bicyclists are engaged in this year’s election. The weather doesn’t look too bad for late October, either. Masks and social distancing are required!
In addition to supporting this ride, MoGo has a “Roll to the Polls” program that gives riders a free one hour ride to access their polling location or drop off their absentee ballots. Lisa Nuszkowski, founder and executive director of MoGo says, “Transportation should never be a barrier to voting, and MoGo is proud to join with others in the shared mobility industry to offer free rides on Election Day.”
We continue to endorse Proposal 1 along with more than 30 conservation and environmental groups, including the Michigan Environmental Council, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The proposal does not change the Trust Fund’s priorities of acquiring and preserving land, which is one reason it’s supported by twelve of the largest land conservancies in Michigan. It also is supported by all of Michigan’s living governors.
Pedestrian Safety Month
We strongly believe that building Complete Streets is the most effective approach for reducing pedestrian (and bicyclist) fatalities. We’ve seen it first hand with improvements to Detroit’s public lighting. Reducing speeding motorists is also a critical issue that can be addressed through Complete Streets, whether it’s more speed humps, lower speed limits, and even bike lanes.
While the City of Detroit is making new, major investments in speed humps, the speed limit issue is moving more slowly in the state capitol. We discuss these issues and more in our new article, Every Month is Pedestrian Safety Month.
Streets for People
The City of Detroit just launched their Streets for People planning campaign. From the project web page:
The City of Detroit is developing Streets for People, a transportation plan with a singular focus — to make it easier and safer for all Detroiters to move around the city. The plan seeks to knit together diverse neighborhoods, prioritize safety of the most vulnerable road users, and identify clear implementation and design strategies for roadways improvement. Most importantly, it will be rooted in an inclusive planning process that gives a voice to the City’s residents who are most implicated by the transportation system. The plan will be completed over the next two years by the Department of Public Works in partnership with MDOT, SEMCOG, city departments, and partner agencies.
The web page also let’s you sign up for updates and provide some initial thoughts. The plan will be completed in 12 months according to the city’s press release.
Streets for People also has this great introductory video which really frames the pedestrian and bicyclist safety issue to be solved.
Joe Louis Greenway
A second Joe Louis Greenway Design public meeting will be held on October 29th from 6pm to 8pm via Zoom. There is more information about this meeting and how to join it on the city’s Joe Louis Greenway webpage.
If you missed the first public meeting, the presentation is now online and well worth looking over.
Phase 1 construction continues moving forward. City Council has been asked to approve an MDOT grant request to build a portion of the greenway near Grand River Avenue and Oakman Boulevard. The city has also sold bonds to help with construction as well. They are “aiming to finish Phase I in Fiscal Year 2022.”
- Detroit is also updating its Parks and Recreation Plan. They are collecting some initial public input with this online survey. There’s also this interesting article on how COVID could affect this planning.
- We’ve been weighing on a number of developments around the city, including the project at the former state fairgrounds involving Amazon. Currently, biking and walking about this area is far from ideal. We submitted comments on how to improve these connections within the development area and with the surrounding neighborhoods, including Ferndale. We also requested bike parking and, if possible, MoGo stations. Our comments seemed to have been addressed by the city and developer.
- We’ve also been involved in a new proposed warehouse near Conner and Gratiot at the former Cadillac Stamping Plant. Our primary concern was the project’s plan to allow truck traffic to cross the Conner Creek Greenway/Iron Belle Trail at Conner Playfield. It wouldn’t be safe and we expected the trucks would block the greenway as they waited to turn onto Conner. Council member Scott Benson worked with the city and developer to find an alternative truck route that doesn’t cross the greenway.
- Last month we raised concerns about the city removing unprotected bike lanes during repaving projects, namely the bike lanes on E. Grand Boulevard. DPW followed up and said this was not a city policy. There are proposed plans for adding protected bike lanes on W. Grand Boulevard from Cass to Rosa Parks. We’ll be encouraging the city to continue this design east to replace what was removed.
- Council President Brenda Jones’ Community Engagement Ordinance passed. It requires many city projects that impact the neighborhoods to have community outreach.The installation of bike lanes was one type of project named in the ordinance. After the E. Grand bike lanes were removed, we proposed that the installation or removal of bike lanes should require community outreach. Council member Benson motioned to add this language to the ordinance and it passed unanamously.
- The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office launched an online bike tour of Detroit civil rights sites. We were part of the team that helped determine the 17-mile route between the sites.
- Lastly, Free Bikes 4 Kids really needs volunteers to help clean and refurbish used kids bicycles to giveaway this year. Please signup for a shift or two and help them get these bikes ready.
Tuesday, December 5th is #GivingTuesday. We could use your support to help us continue our work into 2020. Any donation would be appreciated.
There are two ways to give:
- We have a fundraiser on Facebook. Facebook is waiving all transaction fees. They are matching the first $7 million in all donations starting on #GivingTuesday at 8 AM.
- We also have a donation page on our website with payments handled through PayPal.
Our vision is for a citywide network of safe, convenient, and fun pathways for biking and walking. We’re clearly not there yet despite all the progress made since we began in 2007. The Joe Louis Greenway — a project we helped mature and wrote grants for $4.5 million — is a big start, but there are others. We:
- Proposed a greenway along the Rouge River and now the intial portions of that are being designed.
- Advocated to upgrade existing projects, such as the Conner Creek Greenway and the Iron Belle Trail.
- Helped start the Detroit Complete Streets push years ago and now there are Complete Streets staff at city working on projects across the Detroit.
- Led advocacy efforts to get a biking and walking trail on the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will now be connected to the Joe Louis Greenway.
- Partnered with Highland Park to ensure they are not forgotten in these improvements and wrote a couple grants to design and build their first Complete Street on Hamilton.
- Have even been involved in freeway projects like I-94 and I-375 to ensure their new designs improve walking and biking in Detroit while reconnecting neighborhoods.
And since 2007, we’ve helped advocate and educate city staff, elected officials, and the public on the value in Complete Streets, bike lanes, parks, and green stormwater management. We need to continue this work and your donation helps. Thank you!
Joe Louis Greenway
The City of Detroit is hosting two public sessions titled “Joe Louis Greenway – Cocoa and Conversation”:
- Wednesday, December 4th from 6-8pm at the Lexus Velodrome, 601 Mack Avenue (near I-75). Doors open at 5:30pm. The indoor walking track will be open and you can watch bicyclists riding on the track, too.
- Tuesday, December 10th from 6-8pm at the Unity Baptist Church, 7500 Tireman Street. Doors open at 5:30pm.
It is expected that a updated draft of the Joe Louis Greenway Framework Plan will be presented.
This will be the third and final set of community input sessions the City of Detroit and its design team are organizing. During the first and second set of community input sessions participants discussed and voted on greenway design elements such as surface, buffers, landscaping, fencing and special features. The Framework Planning will be completed by February 2020.
Here is the City of Detroit’s most recent routing plan.
Detroit Stormwater Hub
The Nature Conservancy and the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) led efforts to design, create, and launch the Detroit Stormwater Hub. We were part of the 25-member advisory team that helped shape, design, test, and market the final product.
What is the Stormwater Hub? It’s a website that shows Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects across Detroit — 172 projects as of now!
Greenways and green Complete Streets provide an excellent opportunity to manage stormwater through GSI. Doing this can reduce flooding, improve water quality, and create beautiful natural areas. We expect this website will spur greater interest in building more GSI while complementing our work on Complete Streets and greenways.
- A Grant Parklet Community Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3rd at 6pm at the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (19800 Grand River). The new parklet will be located just across the street. As you may recall, Grand River is being reconstructed as a Complete Street with improved sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes.
- The first community meeting for the Gratiot/7 Mile Neighborhood Framework Plan is Thursday, December 12th. The meeting will be held at The Matrix Center, 13560 E. McNichols. Doors open at 5p. Dinner will be served at 5:30p. The program will begin promptly at 6p. All ages welcome!
- Free Bikes 4 Kids is seeking volunteers for their bike giveaway days — Saturday, December 14th and Sunday, December 15th. This is when restored bicycles will be distributed to kids in the community. Visit their volunteer signup page to learn more.