Categories
Complete Streets

Council member Benson hosts bike tours for cohorts

We are excited to be a part of this effort to bring greater awareness of the value in building bike lanes, traffic calming, and green stormwater infrastructure in Detroit.

[Update: Fox 2 Detroit coverage of the initial tour]

Press Release from the Office of Councilmember Scott Benson

Detroit City Councilmember Scott Benson hosts a series of bike rides in August to promote the City’s bicycle lane safety  

Several elected officials plan to ride along 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Detroit City Councilmember Scott Benson is teaming up with Councilmember Roy McCalister Jr. to host a series of bike rides in August. The goal is to demonstrate to council members, other elected officials, and the city’s, and region’s transportation decision makers how bicycle lanes keep Detroiters safe. 

The Councilmen have invited their Detroit council colleagues, Wayne County and Police Commissioners, and local judges to join the ride.  

While Detroit is on track to become one of the nation’s best cities for bicyclists with more than 240 miles of lanes and trails crisscrossing the city, including paths on Belle Isle and the Dequindre Cut, the bike lanes have sparked controversy and created confusion for bicyclists and motorists. Some residents and their representatives simply do not support them. 

Benson, an avid bicyclist, wants to help people understand how bicycle lanes promote Detroiters’ health, provide a safe, inexpensive transportation mode, especially for the one third of Detroiters who do not have access to vehicles, prevent injuries, and save lives.  

The average Detroit cyclist likely is either age 12 or 45, and studies show that Detroit has the highest bicycle fatality rate in Michigan, higher than the cities of Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Warren combined. In recent years, data shows that most accidents involved children ages 11-13 and adults ages 44-46, and an estimated 88% of victims are African American. 

“This bike ride is an opportunity to allow elected officials and transportation decision makers to experience bike lanes, traffic calming installations and streetscape design from the perspective of a bicyclist,” Councilmember Scott Benson said.  

“It’s important that we see non-motorized transit as a viable option for all of our residents and people should see what the region is doing to improve the quality of life for our residents. All Detroiters, especially those without cars, deserve access to safe streets.” 

The first bike ride will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, August 7 and will begin at the MoGo Detroit bicycle station on Livernois at East Outer Drive. The slow-roll ride will cross 7 Mile Road, head north of 9 Mile Road in Ferndale, and ends with lunch at Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles, 19345 Livernois, Detroit. Face masks will be provided. 

MoGo is offering complimentary bike rentals, but participants are welcome to ride their own bicycles. Other rides in the series will run from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, August 21, 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 25, with a rain date scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, August 28. 

This ride is being supported by MOGO, Tour de Troit, SEMCOG, the City of Ferndale, City of Pleasant Ridge, Olympia Development, Detroit Geenways Coalition and Alliance for the Great Lakes. 

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Scott Benson represents Detroit’s Third District on the Detroit City Council. 

Categories
Newsletter Policy Safety & Education

News from the Trail — May 2020

Staying Healthy, Events Cancelled

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these challenging times. Our thoughts go out all that have lost friends, family, and club members during this pandemic.

We have been updating our COVID-19 page based on information from federal, state and local government agencies. They advise everyone riding, walking, and running to social distance from others, and to wear a mask in places that make social distancing difficult to maintain, eg. RiverWalk.

There are reports of more motorists speeding given fewer motor vehicles on the roads. Please be extra vigilant and walk/ride/run defensively. 

As for events, we obviously could not hold Bike to Work Day this year. We may consider doing something this fall, but it’s too early to make any commitment. We have cancelled our Joe Louis Greenway fundraiser ride scheduled for next month.


New Website

The Stay-at-Home order has provided a good opportunity to completely overhaul our website, which we rolled out this week. All of the web pages have been brought up to date. We’ve also taken the information from our printed bike/trail map and safety brochure and put it on the site. This includes


UMSI Crash Analysis

Also on the new website is a bicycle and pedestrian crash analysis — a report, slidedeck, and interactive mapping. This was just produced by a team from the University of Michigan School of Information. The team took state crash data, cleaned it up, and analyzed where the crashes were occuring. From the report:

Our data analysis led important discoveries around the existing safety issues per counsel district, specifically, how bikers are currently being impacted with districts. District 4, according to the data, had the most instances of biker injuries. It’s also worth noting that when a bike lane is present, accidents happen at a frequency a fraction of the time compared to instances of no bike lane with the point of contact being in the roadway.

Thanks to the team for this project and we look using this data to justify great investments that make Detroit streets safer for everyone. 


Other Updates

  • Please join us in welcoming two new board members: Beverly Kindle-Walker and Ryan Myers-Johnson. Beverly is the Executive Director for Friends of the Detroit City Airport CDC, a Legislative Assistance to County Commissioner Tim Killeen, and a board member for the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative. She’s done a great deal of work on the Eastside, including with the Conner Creek Greenway. Ryan is the Founder and Executive Director for Sidewalk Detroit.  You may have met her if you attended any of the Joe Louis Greenway Framework Planning meetings where she was a project consultant.  She’s also been involved in parks and planning in Northwest Detroit, including Eliza Howell Park. 
  • Detroit Council President Brenda Jones proposed an ordinance last year requiring all bike lane projects to have an additional vote by Council. That ordinance wasn’t feasible, so it was incorporated into an ordinance requiring Community Engagement for planning projects, including bike lanes and streetscapes. We strongly support effective Community Engagement! We’ll continue working with her office and suggesting improvements to the ordinance language so that it gets more Detroiters engaged in deciding how their streets look and who they serve.
  • MoGo Bike Share expansion is underway this week with stations being installed north of Eight Mile. We look forward to seeing those new stations automatically popup on our map. 
  • Make sure you complete your census! Michigan cities receive road funding based on their census populations. State road funding will already be lower in the near future with the reductions in fuel purchases. We don’t need to see it drop further.

Categories
Uncategorized

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.

Categories
Uncategorized

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.
Categories
Newsletter

News from the Trail – June 2017

Happy National Trails Day!

Bike to Work Day

Thanks to all who participated in Detroit’s largest ever Bike to Work Day event. Special thanks also to our title sponsor Henry Ford LiveWell who helped make the event a success. Henry Ford Health System also had the most employees register for the event, followed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the City of Detroit. Look for an even bigger event in 2018.

Highland Park Grants

We’ve recently received two grants to help build trails and bike lanes in the city of Highland Park.

The first is from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Fund for Design and Access, which is administered through the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. This grant is for the development of bike lanes on all of Hamilton Avenue within Highland Park.

The second is from the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund administered by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. This grant is to support the development of the Inner Circle Greenway through Highland Park.

We’re excited to get started on both projects. We’re also discussing a number of partnerships with others that can further enhance these efforts.

Quick Updates

  • Thanks DALMAC for a $2,000 grant towards the new Detroit Bike and Trail Map we’re creating. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
  • Congratulations MoGo, Detroit’s first public bike share program for having over 4,000 rides during the first week.
  • The Detroit Planning Department’s Detroit Rides web site and social media have launched. We’ve been helping with the content through the Detroit Bike and Pedestrian Safety and Education task force.
  • Cass Avenue protected bike lanes will be installed this summer after the road is repaved. A correction from our May update — the city of Detroit is paying for this project rather than MDOT.
  • Warren Avenue protected bike lanes from Trumbull to Russell will be under construction this year as well. This will be the first two-way cycletrack in Michigan. It’ll also have it’s own traffic signal heads.
  • Have you seen our new embroidered patch? We sold them at the recent Coupe Day Event over Memorial Weekend and will have them at future events as well.

Upcoming Events
W Vernor Planning Mtgs
Saturday, June 3rd

Planning for neighborhoods along W. Vernor. 10am or 3pm meeting times.
More details

Come Together for
Back Alley Bikes

June 7th at 7pm

Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres with our friends at Back Alley Bikes.
Event Registration

 

Categories
Newsletter Policy

News from the Trail – May 2017

 

May is National Bike Month and there’s no shortage of bike-related events and updates in Detroit. Here are some of the highlights

Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is a nationally-recognized event on the third Friday of May that encourages people to ride their bike to work. Detroit’s 12th annual event is scheduled for May 19th.  We proud to announce that Henry Ford Health LiveWell is our returning title sponsor.

The main meetup location will be held near the Spirit of Detroit statue at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center from 7AM to 9AM. There will also be pit stops at Wayne State University (Old Main on Cass) and New Center Park.

This year we will provide special giveaways to the first 200 registered participants.

Visit our web site for more event information and to register for free.

MoGo Bike Share

Detroit’s first public bike sharing system is launching this month as a program of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. There will be 43 stations and 430 bikes across the Greater Downtown area. Information on how it works, pricing and more is available on their web site.

We played an early role in helping build support among area stakeholders, assisting with the feasibility study, and helping get the city on board. We’re now serving on their Advisory Committee.

We expect MoGo to get more Detroiters on bikes — as it has done in other cities with similar systems — which will increase the demand for more and better greenways.

Woodward Streetcar Ordinance

An ordinance was introduced in City Council relating to the operations of the QLine, the new streetcar on Woodward.

The initial ordinance language raised a couple primary concerns for Woodward bicyclists. As written, it was open to broad, yet unintended interpretation that could lead to misdeanor tickets for those riding safely on Woodward.

We met with MDOT, M1 Rail, and Council member Scott Benson’s office to review the language and address these concerns. Council member Benson was able to get positive changes made to the ordinance language.

Even still, bicycling on Woodward where the street car rails are near the curb is a challenge. If you chose to ride here, please be extra careful. MDOT is funding new protected bike lanes on Cass Avenue from Lafayette to W. Grand Boulevard as a preferred alternative. Those should be completed this summer.

We’ve written more about this ordinance update on our web site.

Upcoming Events
Wayne County Parks
May 10th 6:30pm
Butzel Family Center

A public workshop to update the strategic plans for county parks.
More Details

I-375 MDOT Open House
May 17th 5:30pm
Eastern Market, Shed 5

A meeting to discuss next steps for alternatives to existing I-375 configuration
More Details

Bike to Work Day
Friday May 19th 7am-9am

Free Registration