Royal Oak accepts non-motorized proposal

Royal Oak City HallOn August 3rd, Royal Oak’s City Commission awarded the non-motorized planning project to the Active Transportation Alliance (ATA) out of Chicago. Developing a non-motorized plan is a major first step towards making Royal Oak more bike and pedestrian friendly.

This is great news, especially in light of the recent bad news regarding non-motorized crashes.

There were ten proposals submitted. Clearly four of the submitters had little to no understanding of what a non-motorized plan entailed or what the national guidelines are for developing bicycling facilities. Not surprisingly, they were also the four least expensive proposals.

Fortunately there were many other very solid proposals. And in reviewing them, it’s quite clear that non-motorized planning has risen to a new level over the past few years within Metro Detroit. The bar has been raised.

But for Royal Oak, the Bicycle Task Force and city staff recommended a planning team that is new to Metro Detroit. The Active Transportation Alliance (formerly known as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) has been very integral in Chicago’s non-motorized planning and implentation. And, they’ve taken those years of experience and are expanding beyond Metro Chicago.

When do we start? At this time it’s a matter of waiting for the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) monies to arrive.

The city of Royal Oak has a copy of ATA’s non-motorized planning proposal on their web site.

Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Royal Oak accepts non-motorized proposal”

  1. Joel Batterman Says:

    Wonderful news. A pity we don’t currently have a broader range of local expertise, but at this point, the region could really benefit from some out-of-state experience. Plus, it’s not like Chicago is all that far away. (High-speed rail will bring it still closer.) I look forward to seeing the results.

  2. Dave Says:

    This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Royal Oak borders Detroit so perhaps we may see some carry over.

  3. Rory Neuner Says:

    Glad to see that Active Trans is getting into the game here in Michigan. That can do nothing but raise the bar for other, in-state planning firms. That said, are the firms that provided the sub-par plans being contacted to inform them that they aren’t even hitting national standards? I am not familiar with the standards for whether / how local governments contact losing bidders, but I think that in this case it might be useful to prevent this from happening again, particularly to communities less bike-savvy than Royal Oak.

  4. Todd Scott Says:


    As far as I know there isn’t a national standard for non-motorized planners. There is little to stop a planner submit a low bid and produce a substandard product.

    And this extends beyond non-motorized planning. One local planner created a sustainability study for a local community that failed to address better bicycling facilities.

    I’m not sure what the solution is. I think the LMB needs to play an active role in monitoring and providing guidance on non-motorized planning. Planning organizations like SEMCOG and Oakland County should, but have not shown a willingness to lead.

Leave a Reply