Road closures proposed in Harper Woods

The Free Press is reporting that Harper Woods is considering blocking some roads with the thought that it may decrease crime.

Harper Woods has several major roads and sits along I-94. City officials said blocking off some streets might make escape more difficult for those who commit crimes in the city.

It might make it more difficult to bike around the city, too.

And while it likely isn’t anyones intention to block bicycle traffic flow, that’s certainly what an improperly design road closure does.

We shared those concerns with the city manager. A full road closure, as the example photo shows, forces bicycles onto sidewalks. In some places, like Catalpa between Southfield and Lathrup Village, there are no sidewalk connections.

Here is some of our letter to the Jim Leidlein, the Harper Woods City Manager (

If you do decide to close roads, I would suggest you maintain an opening in the barrier to allow bicycles to pass through. The AASHTO bicycle facilities guidelines suggest a 10 foot opening with a single bollard to prevent motor vehicle access (attached). Having a removable bollard would also allow emergency vehicle access if needed. Also per AASHTO, it would not be appropriate routing bicycles to a sidewalk in order to get around the road closure.

You might also consider your snow removal policy. You would not want to pile snow in this barrier opening and block non-motorized travel through it.

These same suggestions have been shared with Detroit’s Traffic Engineering division for Palmer Wood’s proposed barriers.

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