Pedal Press: Biking in the Metro Detroit

Here’s some media coverage related to biking in Detroit:

Biking on the Dequindre CutMake the Motor City Smaller

Free Press write Bill McGraw has an article in Newsweek about the need to manage shrinking in Detroit.

Detroit has been shrinking for 50 years. The city has lost more than half of the 2 million people it had in the early 1950s, but it remains 138 square miles. Experts estimate that about 40 square miles are empty, and [Mayor Dave] Bing has said that only about half the city’s land is being used productively.

The next steps are complicated and largely uncharted. Moving residents into more densely populated districts has legal and moral implications; it must be done with care and the input of those who would be moved. And what do you do with the empty space? The city is already dotted with big vegetable gardens, and one entrepreneur has proposed starting a large commercial farm. Some people advocate bike paths, greenways, and other recreation areas. Surrounded by fresh water, and buffeted by nature reasserting itself on land where factories used to be, Detroit could someday be the greenest, most livable urban area in the country. A city can dream, can’t it?

Of course the positve side to this abandonment is our roads have few motorists and it’s a great place to bike. This largely goes unrecognized because the yardstick for bikeability is how much money a city has invested in bike lanes and bike racks. That bike-friendly yardstick fails to acknowledge how a shrinking city can make a city more bikeable.

On a related note, I spoke briefly with Detroit council candidate Charles Pugh at Saturday’s Dally in the Alley. He wants to sit down and discuss how greenways fit into a plan for shrinking Detroit.

Right way is the only way to ride a bike

The Times Herald out of Port Huron has a well-written column about riding on the right side of the road. Apparently they had many of their reads call in regarding biking.

Of course, it is a less-than-scientific survey, but a majority of TalkBack callers believe bicycle riders should travel on the left side of the road, against traffic.

On this, as in many matters, a majority of TalkBack callers are wrong.

One additional point is that riding against traffic on a sidewalk or sidepath (also called safety path) is even more dangerous than riding against traffic on the road.

Campaign focuses on plight of Rust Belt

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette covered the Great Lakes Urban Exchange also known as GLUE, who asks the question, “I Will Stay If…” at events throughout the Rust Belt.

The Detroit party was “a qualified success,” said Ms. [Sarah] Szurpicki. “We had around 100 people and collected over 80 good photos” of participants holding a white board with the phrase “I Will Stay If …” completed.

“The photos show that people want better regional cooperation, public transit, bike lanes, curbside recycling, things like that. And what has come out of this is people saying ‘I am staying to be a part of something,’ ‘I am staying because I want to help build that curbside recycling program.’

“This is about place-building.”

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