What Metro Detroit Needs More of: Bicycle Plans

Mike Reuter (American Cycle & Fitness), Nancy Krupiarz (Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance), Tim Blumenthal (Bikes-Belong), and Todd Scott discuss Detroit bike advocacy strategies

Most cyclists in Metro Detroit recognize the shortcomings of biking in this area.  So what should we do about it?  Just opining on the Internet doesn’t create the change we want to see.

One idea we continue to push is for Metro Detroit communities to develop non-motorized transportation plan or bicycle plans.

And since safe and effective bicycling facilities are foreign concepts to most cities in this area, it’s best to have these plans created by professionals outside of city government.

Cities, villages, and counties receive a portion of the state fuel tax and no less than 1% of that must be spent on non-motorized transportation.  MDOT has stated that creating non-motorized plans is a good and proper use of this state funding.

As reported earlier, the City of Detroit has recently endorsed a non-motorized transportation master plan.  The City of Troy issuing a request for proposals to do the same.

But for one great example of a bicycle plan, we point to the Village of Oak Park in Illinois where the village manager is Tom Barwin, Ferndale’s former city manager.

The Village of Oak Park recently adopted a bicycle plan that was developed by the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.

The first objective of the plan will be to develop a comprehensive bikeway network consisting of marked on-street bikeways, signed routes, and multi-use trails where possible.

The second objective of the plan will be to develop a safety and education plan for the Village. Many people do not bicycle because of a perceived risk to personal safety.

The final objective of the plan will be to market bicycling to the community. Marketing is one the most cost-effective means to increase bicycling.

Links: The Oak Park Bicycle Plan | Chicagoland video interview

One major benefit the Chicago-area enjoys is having a well-organized, experienced, and active non-profit bicycle advocacy group — the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.  We do not have anything equivalent in Metro Detroit.  While the League of Michigan Bicyclists is the statewide bicycle advocate organization, they play only a minor role in local advocacy efforts.

This is another change we need to consider as we push bicycle advocacy forward in Metro Detroit

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