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Complete Streets Policy Safety & Education

Four Big Wins

Update: Shortly after this post was published, the Governor signed HB 4012.

We’re involved in many different challenges at the city, state, and federal levels. We’ve been on a hot streak since late last year and we wanted to share the highlights of what we helped accomplish.

Restoring Bike Lanes ✅

We had heard that General Motors wanted the bike lanes removed on East Grand Boulevard primarily between their Factory Zero plant and I-75. There were concerns about truck traffic around bicyclists, though if that was correct, we would prefer seeing them advocate for separated infrastructure. People are going to bike on East Grand regardless and bike lanes are a proven safety countermeasure.

The City was planning a public meeting to discuss options before anything happened. However, we got an email from a bicyclist in January that the bike lanes had been removed early.

We brought this issue up with Council member Scott Benson. When former Council President Brenda Jones had introduced an ordinance to require communtiy engagement before bike lanes went in, Benson got wording included so that engagement would be also required when they were removed. This was largely driven by the bike lanes inexplictably being removed from East Grand between I-75 and Woodward.

Fortunately, former City of Detroit CFO David Massaron started as GM’s chief economic development and real estate officer in January. Benson setup a meeting with him, DPW, and us. The result is the bike lanes will be reinstalled as soon as the weather allows.

This is a safety win for everyone, including the truck drivers. Long term, we’re advocating for the city to create safe bike infrastructure along all of East and West Grand Boulevard, connecting both ends of the RiverWalk, and creating a loop within the Joe Louis Greenway.

Keeping Downtown Sidewalks ✅

It’s not uncommon for residents and corporations to request that city vacate part of the public right-of-way. Engineering analyzes the impact on utilities and sends the petition to city council.

In late Novemeber we reviewed a request from the Detroit Athletic Club to vacate 60 feet of John R between Adams and Madison. Our concern was this included losing the sidewalk – a bad precedent, but especially in Downtown. We contacted Council member Gabriela Santiago-Romero’s office since she chairs the Public Health and Safety Committee where this request flowed through. We stated our opposition to the city “giving sidewalks to a private landowner and reducing walkability, especially within the Downtown.” We reached out to our disability advocates who shared our concern.

We met with the DAC and the Council member Santiago-Romero about the vacation, and to their credit, the DAC came up with an alternative that keeps the sidewalks on both sides of John R. The road itself will go from three lanes to two. We support this.

The biggest issue remains: Council received this vacation request without any information regarding the sidewalk removal, only the impacts on utilities within the right-of-way. We are looking at changing the city ordinance to require Engineering to analyze the impacts these requests have on non-motorized transportation.

Maintaining Residential Speed Limits ✅

Michigan law allows cities to use default speed limits in specific situations. They don’t require speed limit signs since motorists should know the defaults. For most residential streets in Detroit, the default is 25 MPH.

That default was set to expire on January 1, 2024. Why? The expiration had been added to gain the support of the Michigan State Police for some other legislation. MSP wanted to study whether they could raise this default. Apparently the effects of this on Detroit neighborhoods and many older suburbs wasn’t considered. We alerted the Michigan Municipal League of this issue.

Last year, House Bill 4126 was introduced to keep the 25 MPH default. Unfortunately it got “stuck” in the House throughout the summer. We reached out to House Speaker Joe Tate to help get the bill moving — and it did. From the House to the Senate, we worked with committee leaders to keep this bill progressing along. It was signed by the Governor Gretchen Whitmer in late November.

Setting Lower Speed Limits ✅

We’ve worked with State Representative Bradley Slagh for three sessions, but it seems we’ve finally helped push his speed limit bill onto the Governor’s desk.

Speed limits are commonly set based on the 85th fastest motorist when they aren’t using the default speed limits mentioned above. However, if the 85th fastest motorist was at 43 MPH, current law requires the limit to be rounded up to 45 MPH. Rep. Slaugh first introduced a bill to give road agencies the ability to round down to 40 MPH. However, it also unintentionally removed the ability of counties to set speed limits based on an engineering study, so we got involved.

We helped improved the text to clarify that all speed limits can be set based on engineering studies. We also got a resolution of support from city council thanks to Council member Benson.

The bill, House Bill 4012, also got slowed up and Speaker Tate got it moving to the Senate. We gave testimony in Lansing at the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The example we shared was of MDOT/MSP raising the speed limit by 10 MPH on Fort Street in Detroit despite it being between a neighborhood and Kemeny Rec Center/Park. After the change, a young boy was killed walking to the park. That was in Senator Stephanie Chang’s district, but after redistricting, was now in Senator Erika Geiss’, both of whom were on the committee with Geiss as chair.

The bill was unanimously moved to the Senate floor with a recommendation for approval. It’s now on the Governor’s desk.

Categories
Climate Action Complete Streets Policy

Detroit Green Task Force in Seattle

A 35-person study group from the Detroit Green Task Force recently spent three days in Seattle to learn about that city’s sustainability and climate action efforts. The Detroit group included four city councilmembers (Benson, Calloway, Santiago-Romero, Waters), many departments heads, and advocates, including us.

The City of Seattle was especially gracious in welcoming us and putting together a very thorough agenda. While there are many obvious differences between the two cities (e.g. average household income), there were also many similarities and opportunites to learn from their sustainability practices.

Edie Gilliss, Citywide Coordinator for Climate Iniatives in Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment

We heard presentations on many topics from energy to waste, water to solar, and our focus area, transportation. As for the latter, they recognize the need to reduce single-occupancy vehicle traffic through investments in public transit, walking, and biking. Electrifying the status quo is not enough to get to carbon neutrality in the transportation sector — and it’s also not an equitable approach, a leading priority across all their efforts.

Every morning we led a group run to see some of those investments in person. One highlight were Healthy Streets, which are similar to their neighborhood greenways but with fewer restrictions on neighborhood activities that would otherwise require street closures (e.g. basketball).

Healthy Streets are closed to pass through traffic, but open to people walking, rolling, biking, and playing. The goal of this program is to open up more space for people rather than cars—improving community and individual health.

Seattle’s Healthy Streets and neighborhood greenways include traffic calming, such as bump outs, speed humps, 20 MPH speed limits, and traffic circles.

These are similar to the Slow Streets described in Detroit’s Streets for People Design Guide, but not yet implemented.

Bell Street in Seattle

Seattle has also invested in thousands of traffic circles. These are small gardens that fit within a residential intersection to slow vehicles. They are not roundabouts! These are also in the city’s Design Guide. Since returning from Seattle, we’ve submitted a grant application to pilot these in Detroit.

One thing we didn’t see in Seattle: broken and missing bike lane delineators. Theirs seem far more durable that those used in Detroit. We were told they rarely need replacing. We hope to try those as well with out traffic circle pilot.

A major takeaway for us was climate change. They’re feeling the effects of record temperatures, expanding forest fires, and risings seas, whereas Michigan hasn’t. We can’t help but think this is one reason why Seattle and the state of Washington are taking climate action much more seriously than Michigan.

Overall, it was an invaluable experience, not only to learn from Seattle, but to strengthen connections within our Detroit group. We look forward to implementing some of what we saw here at home.

Thanks to the Kresge Foundation, Amazon, and Visit Detroit for making this visit possible. We also would like to thank Washington DOT Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Executive Director Gordon Padelford for helping us plan our group run routes and meeting with us during the event to share additional information.

Video from our group runs through Downtown Seattle
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Complete Streets Greenways In the Media Newsletter Policy Safety & Education

News from the Trail — June 2021

Underground Railroad Self-Guided Bike Tour 

For Juneteenth 2021, the Detroit Greenways Coalition has created a free self-guided bike tour of Detroit’s historic Underground Railroad sites. The 14.3 mile tour includes 25 stops that help tell the story of those seeking freedom from slavery as well as those that supported abolition. 

Highlights along the tour include the Gateway to Freedom International Monument, the site of the Blackburn uprising, the Ulysses Grant house, and Elmwood Cemetery. 

Detroit had a significant role supporting the Underground Railroad as well as shaping the politics of abolition during the 1800s. The city’s smaller footprint during that era has made the historic sites relatively close and easily biked to. 

The bike tour is available through the Ride with GPS program. The phone app provides turn-by-turn navigation and includes the points of interest along the way — some with photos and links for those seeking additional information. 

We’ve also updated our Underground Railroad webpage with information on this bike tour and much more. Additional self-guided tours are also being planned.


Federal Funding Updates

The process to develop the next federal INVEST in America transportation bill continues — and so far, so good. The current House and Senate bills both would double the amount of dedicated funding for active transportation. The Transportation Alternatives program, which funds many local Complete Streets projects, would see a 75% increase. The Recreational Trails Program, which the DNR uses exclusively for its trails, would also increased by 75%.

Both bills also include the Connecting America’s Active Transportation System or CAATS. This new program would provide grant funding for major non-motorized projects such as the Joe Louis Greenway. CAATS would provide $1 billion in funding over 5 years with a mininum 30% for building out networks within communities and 30% for building spines between communities. The minimun construction grant would be $15 million. We’ve been assisting the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on this. 

Included in the House bill are Member Designated Projects, formerly known as earmarks. Our local House members included funding for trail projects and two from Representative Lawrence have made the cut:

  • $1.8 million for the Detroit RiverWalk to connect the Riverfront Towers and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. 
  • $3.9 million for the Joe Louis Greenway to connect a future Dequindre Cut extension to Joseph Campau in Hamtramck (see conceptual rendering below).

There are additional positives aspects within the bill as they includes goals for climate change, safety policy (especially for bicyclists and pedestrians), accessibility, and equity — all of which could lead to more Complete Streets being built without the need for dedicated non-motorized funding.

Both the House and Senate bills include funding for freeway removal, which could help with MDOT’s I-375 project, This project has been in the news more lately and was just featured on NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, Click4Detroit, and Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Of course neither bill has been signed into law yet, but it is positive that unlike prior multi-year federal transportation bills, there was little opposition to non-motorized priorities. Given the policy changes the bill includes, INVEST will require some level of bipartisan support. 

You may have also heard about the American Jobs Act, an infrastructure stimulus bill. President Joe Biden has said he wants that bill to be separate from INVEST and provide additional funding. It’s too early to know what that bill will include.


American Rescue Plan

Federal funding has also been distributed to cities, counties, and states through the federal American Rescue Plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is proposing $250 million of this funding to be allocated to state park and state trails to help address the backlog of maintenance projects — many of which are on Belle Isle. Her funding proposal would need to be approved by the legislature.

The City of Detroit is receiving $826 million in American Rescue Plan funding. Mayor Mike Duggan has proposed how that funding should be spent, which includes setting aside $400 million to fund the city’s workforce and prevent layoffs. 

Of the remaining $426 million, the Mayor has proposed $50 million for parks, walking paths, and the Joe Louis Greenway as part of a larger $100 million investment in parks, recreation, and cultural facilities.

This seems like a wise investment given that residents used greenways much more during the pandemic. (Dequindre Cut usage was up over 40%!) Biking and walking not only improves community health and resiliency to COVID-19, it also increases the effectiveness of vaccines

The Mayor has been collecting feedback from Detroit residents at meetings throughout June. There’s a survey available as well. 


Other Updates

  • Detroit DPW has announced a Paint the Streets program for residents and community groups interested in adding “artistically painted streets and crosswalks.” The program has developed guidelines for what’s allowed and where this artwork can be located.
  • Detroit ranks 61st in latest The Trust for Public Land ParkScore. The bright spot is 80% of residents are within a 10-minute walk of park,” well above the 55% national average.
  • We will be joining the SmithGroup and others for a Rails-to-Trail Conservancy webinar on June 23rd at 1pm called, “Creating Inclusive & Equitable Trail Development: Case Studies in Detroit and Milwaukee”. Detroit and the Joe Louis Greenway will be a major focus of the webinar. Registration is free.
  • Did you know the Detroit Department of Public Works (DPW) has Instagram and TikTok pages where they’ve posted some brief, introductory, and fun videos about Complete Streets, biking, and more. We especially like the ones on Grand River and Bagley.
  • WeRun313 also posted this city-made video that features them and talks about the Joe Louis Greenway and more. This is a much watch!
  • Have you signed up for the Detroit Bike Challenge yet? This free City of Detroit program that’s encouraging more people to ride bikes continues through October. Your rides help you earn points and get the chance to win prizes. The city has released this brief video to help promote it. There’s also a Juneteenth ride planned at 11am from the Heilmann Recreation Center on the Eastside.

Additional Reading

Categories
Greenways Newsletter

News from the Trail – January 2021

Replacing I-375 

There’s an international movement to reevaluate the impacts and needs for urban freeways. They negatively affect walkability, bikeability, and take up a lot of valuable land for a low-density use in high-density downtowns.  For many years, I-375 has been a candidate for a partial or full conversion to an urban boulevard, especially as its bridges approach the end of their lifespan. 

Now it’s more than just a discussion. MDOT has completed a draft Environmental Assessment for what could replace I-375. 

The proposed design converts the current freeway to a boulevard with fewer lanes overall. It removes the short freeway stub south of Eastern Market while restoring some of the original street grid. Bicycle cycletracks would be added that connect the RiverWalk, stadium area, Greektown, and Eastern Market. More sidewalks are included, too. Overall there’s less impervious surface and opportunities to add green stormwater infrastructure. Nearly 32 acres of land would potentially become available for other uses.

Is it perfect? No, but it’s certainly an improvement. 

MDOT is now collecting public comment on this proposal. They will host a virtual event on January 27th and an in-person hearing on the 28th (Registration). Comments can also be emailed (MDOT-I-375Corridor@Michigan.gov) or submitted through this on-line form.

You may have read about the construction funding for this project being delayed until 2027 against the City of Detroit’s wishes. It is possible that new federal funding could fund this project and make it a reality much sooner.


Changes in Washington DC

Changes in leadership at the Whitehouse and Senate will likely result in changes to transportation policy and funding, but it’s too soon to have a full view of what those will be. 

One certain change is a renewed focus on combating climate change through investment in clean transportation.

Communities across the country are experiencing a growing need for alternative and cleaner transportation options, including transit, dedicated bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfares, and first- and last-mile connections. The Biden Administration will transform the way we fund local transportation, giving state and local governments, with input from community stakeholders, more flexibility to use any new transportation funds to build safer, cleaner, and more accessible transportation ecosystem.

Biden Plan for Clean Energy Resolution and Environmental Justice

John Kerry, an active bicyclist, is now a Climate Czar for the administration. 

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the nominee for Transportation Secretary. He’s been saying some positive words that would support our work.

There are so many ways that people get around, and I think often we’ve had an auto-centric view that has forgotten, historically, about all of the other different modes. We want to make sure anytime we’re doing a street design that it enables cars, and bicycles, and pedestrians and any other modes — and businesses — to co-exist in a positive way, and we should be putting funding behind that.

Pete Buttigieg Senate Confirmation hearing, January 2021

Another potential change is the inclusion of infrastructure funding within an economic stimulus bill. That’s been long promised and it’s not yet clear that this time it’ll happen.


Other Updates

  • East Jefferson bike lane use. We counted bikes using E. Jefferson in Jefferson-Chalmers before the protected bike lanes were installed. We counted them again last year during the same month of September and saw 108 per day. This was a 48% increase from 2015. That’s quite good given that fewer people are commuting to work. 
  • Thanks Strava. For those that don’t know, Strava is an app primarily used to collect and track bicycling and running workouts. We now have access to Strava’s generalized riding and run data. It shows which streets are more used than others and could be a helpful tool for justifying infrastructure improvements. The caveat is that Strava users are typically recreational and are not a representative sample of all Detroit bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Cadillac Stamping and the Conner Creek Greenway.  Recent news about the redevelopment of the former Cadillac Stamping Plant didn’t include an important update for those who use the Conner Creek Greenway/Iron Belle Trail along Conner. The new development is adjacent to the greenway and had plans for its busy truck traffic to cross the greenway. We strongly felt that greenway users shouldn’t have to deal with this truck conflict, so we discussed this with Council member Scott Benson. He worked with the developer and city staff to re-route the truck access point so it doesn’t cut across the greenway. As a bonus, the developer is honoring our request to remove an unsightly, unused parking lot along the greenway.
  • Brodhead Armory Redevelopment. There are two public outreach meetings scheduled at 5:30pm on January 26th and February 16th. These meetings will review The Parade Company’s plans for Brohead Armory east of Gabriel Richard Park. The plans include a short RiverWalk extension. These meetings are focusing primarily on nearby residents.

Additional Reading

Categories
Complete Streets Greenways Newsletter

News from the Trail — December 2020

Giving Tuesday

Two Ways to Give

We have a fundraiser on Facebook. Facebook is matching the first $7 million in all donations starting on #GivingTuesday at 8 AM.

If you prefer, you can setup your own Facebook fundraiser with the Detroit Greenways Coalition as the beneficially.

We also have a donation page on our website with payments handled securely through PayPal. There’s the option for regular monthly or annual donations as well.

There is no better time to make Detroit a more walkable and more bikeable city. We’ve seen COVID-19 affect our family, friends, and communities. We’ve been unable to do many things we enjoy doing while experiencing the added stress of social distancing.

As a result, many of us have been spending more time outside, at the parks and trails, on our bikes, in our kayaks, running, or walking. It’s helping keep us physically, mentally, and socially healthy, while strenghening our resistance to potential illness. For many it’s also providing an alternative safe travel option with good social distancing.

Others are discovering these outdoor options as well. We’ve seen trail usage increase by over 40% on the Dequindre Cut this year. We’ve also see a growing momentum to make Detroit a more convenient, safe, and fun place to walk and bike — a place with more trails, more Complete Streets (e.g. better sidewalks, bike lanes, speed humps), and more greenspace.

Your donation will help keep pushing this vision forward, not only for us, but for many who will benefit from a safer and healthier city yet are unable to contribute. Your support will enable us to continue our advocacy and technical assistance citywide as we have since 2007.

There an added incentive for donating this year. Under the CARES Act, individual taxpayers can deduct up to $300 in cash donations — even when taking the standard deduction.

We appreciate any and all support.

Stay Healthy,


Todd Scott, Executive Director


Michigan Avenue Improvements

Debris-covered Michigan Avenue bike lanes and sidewalk near the LodgeThere is an opportunity for major improvements to Michigan Avenue’s design through Corktown so mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 2nd at 6pm. MDOT is hosting a virtual public meeting to collect your input. (Meeting details) They need your input!

We’ve come quite a ways from ten years ago when we first asked MDOT to add regular bike lanes to this state trunkline. It was met with a great deal of resistance from both legal and engineering standpoints. We continued to push, find answers to the issues, and was eventually successful. Later those became protected bike lanes.

Now we can push this design forward into something much better, e.g. raised or sidewalk-level bike lanes with curb protection, protected intersections, wider sidewalks, and green stormwater infrastructure. One priority we already shared with MDOT is the need for a maintenance plan. We want a great design that’s also free of debris.

This isn’t just a planning exercise. $20 million in construction funding has been allocated for 2022.

Happening in parallel is the MDOT Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) Corridor project along Michigan Avenue and I-94 between Detroit and Ann Arbor. They are looking to design “an innovative infrastructure solution that allows for a mix of connected and autonomous vehicles, traditional transit vehicles, shared mobility, and freight and personal vehicles.” We’re on the project’s stakeholder group and really want to ensure that shiny new transportation concepts don’t interfere with the tried-and-true mobility provided by biking and walking. We’re optimistic given that Mark de la Vergne, Detroit’s former Cheif of Mobility Innovation is now leading this project for the contractor, Cavanue.

Of course Ford’s Michigan Central project is along this section of Michigan Avenue. They recently held a public meeting to share more of their vision for the former train station, surrounding campus, and May Creek Greenway. There’s additional information in this Detroit News article, Ford unveils Michigan Central site plan for Corktown.Rendering of the future Michigan Central Station by Ford


Belle Isle Improvements

Central Avenue on Belle IsleThe good news? The Strand pavement near the Coast Guard station has been replaced. The bad news? The last we checked, some sections of the bike lane are in really poor condition here. Still, you should be able to get around them.

Other updates include the reconfiguration of Central Avenue on the eastern portion of the island. It’s now marked for eastbound vehicle travel only with a two-way shared-use pathway. We would have preferred seeing vehicles prohibited altogether from this roadway, but this is an improvement — and the surface has been repaved.

Phase 1 of the new Iron Belle Trail is also under construction from the beach to the Boat Club. This will be a much welcomed trail for all but the faster, fitness-oriented bicyclists who will prefer staying on the road. The DNR also recommended $1.35 million in Land Water and Conservation Funds (LWCF) to build Phase 2 of this trail which will eventually extend this trail around the island.

We are continuing to advocate for safer bike lane designs on the island, but especially for the MacArthur Bridge. Unfortunately we do not have any updates at this time.


Other Updates

  • Ford Hunger March monumentThe grand opening of the new Fort Street Bridge Park was at the end of October. This park gives recognition to the Ford Hunger March of 1932 with a monument constructed from parts of the original historic bridge. There are additional bridge parts remaining and we’re trying to see if they can be used for a gateway monument to welcome bicyclists and pedestrians entering Detroit via the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
  • We were glad to provide some modest assistance to Council Scott Benson, Greenway Guy Tim Springer, Henry Ford Health System, and others with their Bikes 4 Essential Workers program. It was a great success despite the lack availability of new bikes.
  • The City of Ferndale has a public meeting on December 9th at 6:30pm to review a draft of their updated mobility plan. This is a great opportunity to discuss how to make it easier when biking and walking between Detroit and Ferndale.
  • There’s still time to get involved in the City of Detroit’s Streets for People planning project as well as take an online survey for the Parks and Rec Plan update. Both are very important planning efforts.
  • Detroiter Kristin Shaw is writing a book on women in the mobility/transportation space and she’s looking for nominations of stories to tell — or perhaps your story. Entries are open until the end of the year at www.womendrivenmobility.com.
  • Lastly, Free Bikes 4 Kids Detroit continues to look for volunteers to help them clean, prep, and giveaway kids bikes this year. Their volunteer signup is online.

Additional Reading

Huron-Clinton Metroparks to establish Detroit presence through agreement with Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Crain’s Detroit Business.

Drivers let their focus slip as they get used to partial automation, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Piloting wayfinding to connect community to resource centers in Detroit, Smart Growth America.

Categories
Complete Streets Greenways Newsletter Policy Safety & Education

News from the Trail – October 2020

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.” 


Other Updates

  • 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.

Additional Reading