Pedal Press around Metro Detroit: September 1st, 2009

m-bike is still here! We’ve been enjoying (and recovering from) a crazy adventure in Colorado for the past couple weeks…

Here’s a collection of recent media coverage regarding trails and biking across Metro Detroit.

Orion Township

The Oakland Press is reporting on improvements to the Polly Ann Trail extension. This extension runs from the south border of the Indianwood Golf Course to just south of Waldon. This is 3.5 miles in total. The new surface is apparently crushed limestone similar to the Paint Creek.

Unfortunately Orion Township is still pushing side paths (known as safety paths in Oakland County) as bicycling facilities despite the national guidelines saying they shouldn’t be. While sidepaths and sidewalks are fine for pedestrians and less skilled riders, they should not be designated bicycle facilities. Instead the township should be calling for safe on-road bicycling facilities that meet the AASHTO national guidelines.

Shelby Township

The Free Press gave brief mention to the trail construction underway in Shelby Township as part of the much larger Macomb Trail Loop.

Construction is under way for a hiking and bike trail that is designed to eventually link to a loop around central and northern Macomb County.

Crews are building a 1-mile trail in River Bends Park near 22 Mile and Shelby Road in Shelby Township that will link up with a trail that runs along the Clinton River in Dodge Park in Sterling Heights.

Leaders plan to eventually have a 70-mile trail loop. So far, 44 miles are completed.

Detroit RiverWalk

Crain’s Detroit Business has thorough article on the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut — they’re current status, planned construction, and future developments.

The pace of private investment in the riverfront district has slowed with the economy, but plans to bring aesthetic improvement and ease accessibility to the river are to be finished or expanded.

Current public space improvements will serve as a foundation for renewed private development on the water once the economy rebounds, said Faye Alexander Nelson, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Two of the six major residential developments that were in the planning process in 2007 are still moving; one has been reconfigured as an office/industrial building.

The DNR is also continuing to move forward with future enhancements to Tri-Centennial State Park next to the Rivard Plaza. The next phase will certainly include yet another RiverWalk path extension and an improved connection to the Dequindre Cut.

Detroit’s Green Task Force

M-Live has a great written and audio coverage of Detroit’s Green Task Force, which headed by Detroit Council President Ken Cockrel, Jr.

Bicycle trails and greenways trough out the City of Detroit are part of the Green Task Force’s non-motorized plans.

“At least during the warm weather months, I like to bike a lot, and I’m a big fan of the Dequindre Cut, the new trail opened up earlier this year for walkers, joggers and bikers,” Cockrel says. “And we want to do more of that in Detroit.”

Yes we do want to do more of that! In fact, in my role as Detroit Greenways Coordinator for MTGA, we recently proposed an eight-figure stimulus request which would effectively extend the Dequindre Cut around the city’s midsection. While this proposal is not looking too likely today, there is a great deal of interest among many parties to make it happen somehow.

Pizza Super Highway

Model D has a very cool article on Detroiter Karen Gage. Given that Karen’s an owner of Wheelhouse Detroit, it’s no surprise bicycling is entertwined in her daily routine.

Noon: A slice at Supino Pizzeria in Eastern Market. If she can squeeze it in, she loves to grab lunch at this relatively new spot next to the region’s premier farmers market. “It is hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had,” she says. The Wheelhouse crew often bikes there on the Dequindre Cut bike path, which opened this year. With graffiti encouraged, the $3 million, 1.2 mile greenway replaced a former depressed rail corridor. And now Karen and the bike shop crew call it their “pizza super highway.”

With her job at the New Center Council, Gage is also active in promoting non-motorized transportation, including potential bike lanes along Second Avenue, which would connect the Fisher Building to the Wayne State Campus.

Getting Outdoors

And finally, the Detroit News is reminding everyone to get outside as summer wraps up and take advantage of the many opportunties that we have in Metro Detroit. Our favorite quote is from another Wheelhouse Detroit owner.

“Biking is absolutely the best way to see Detroit,” says Kelli Kavanaugh of Wheelhouse Detroit, which rents bikes and also provides bike tours of the city. “It’s flat and fast and, since our roads were built for a population of 2 million, there is plenty of room on them for bikes,” Kavanaugh says. “It’s healthy … it’s green, and most of all it is super fun.”

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