MDOT Transportation Enhancements

First the good news. MDOT recently made the following Transportation Enhancement (TE) awards that should improve bicycling in Metro Detroit.

From MDOT’s press release:

Macomb County

The city of Utica will construct a nonmotorized bridge over the Clinton River to provide accessibility and connectivity to the city of Utica’s portion of the bike trail that will connect the Huron Clinton Metroparks at Metro Beach and Stoney Creek. The project is part of the Macomb County Bike/Hike Master Plan and will allow bicyclists to connect to the Macomb Orchard Trail as well as the Clinton River Trail in Oakland County. The project cost is $452,525, including $303,192 in federal TE funds and $149,333 in matching funds from the city.

Macomb, Oakland, Wayne counties

SMART, in coordination with its community partners, will purchase and install bike racks at several locations in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The intent is to provide communities with secure bike racks at locations away from bus routes for the convenience of SMART riders who also ride bikes. The project cost is $20,016, including $16,013 in federal TE funds and $4,003 in matching funds from SMART.

Clawson is also getting bike racks installed along 14 Mile Road. Unfortunately they only seem willing to make mild improvements to walkability and even milder ones for bike-ability. Their conceptual plans for their Main Street road diet included bike lanes. Their final plans and implementation did not.

MDOT Five-year plan

MDOT recently released their five-year spending plan. With reduced revenue from people driving less, Michigan cannot provide the full 20% match for federal transportation funding.

This does affect the Transportation Enhancements program. Normally MDOT would provide $12 million in match for TE projects on their roads. That may be reduced to $1 million per year, which means MDOT will undertake fewer TE projects like paved shoulders, bike lanes, and streetscaping on MDOT state trunklines.

However, it also means that local governments will received more TE funding since they provide the match and not MDOT.

It’s also worth highlight this language within MDOT’s plan. This provides useful quote for cycling advocates in Michigan.

Pedestrian and bicycle transportation are on the rise due to increased fuel costs. Injury and fatality statistics are humbling reminders of the importance to design and build safe facilities for multiple modes of transportation and of the importance of education and enforcement.

It may be surprising to some that in Michigan, one pedestrian is injured every three hours and 59 minutes and one bicyclist is injured every five hours and 13 minutes.

In addition, in 2006, 17.9 percent of the 1,002 traffic fatalities in Michigan were bicyclists or pedestrians, whereas nationally, 11.6 percent of the 42,642 traffic fatalities were bicyclists or pedestrians. A reduced [Transportation Enhancements] program would severely jeopardize MDOT’s ability to provide safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

This does raise one question.

If 17.9% of road fatalities are non-motorized users, why did the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning only allocate 0.36% for non-motorized safety under the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program in 2009?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply