Metro Times looks at Detroit cycling

The Metro Times continues to do a tremendous job covering the cycling scene in Detroit. They get it.

This week they added another great article to their resume called Two-wheel revolutions: New options for nomotorized traffic on the way in Detroit.

The articles stitches together stories on the Strategic Framework, Greater Riverfront East project, Tour de Troit, Complete Streets, and this info on MDOT’s new bike lanes.

Along Michigan Avenue west of downtown, bike lanes should be painted by November as a “trial,” says Matt Chynoweth, a development engineer with the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Detroit Transportation Service Center.

“We’re going to evaluate for a year and if we have a spike in pedestrian accidents out there then we may have to evaluate it and take it out,” he says.

Bike lanes are an easy way to increase safety by helping motorists realize cyclists are nearby. And some planners say they could be introduced all over the city for little more than the cost of the paint.

Chynoweth will be at the Corktown Residents’ Council meeting will be Tuesday, October 5 at 6:30pm to discuss these new bike lanes. The meeting is being held at the Most Holy Trinity School at 1229 Labrosse in Detroit.

More on GREEN

Sandi Svoboda also blogged about the Greater Riverfront East Environmental Network (GREEN) last week. This project has the potential to transform Detroit’s lower east from the Dequindre Cut to the Pointes: greenways, road diets, bike lanes, and much more.

One of the big focuses is extended the Detroit RiverWalk east to Detroit’s border. Given the marina district, it could be crazy expensive to develop the route along the river’s edge, so the routing may be creative.

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7 Responses to “Metro Times looks at Detroit cycling”

  1. Andrew Mutch Says:

    “We’re going to evaluate for a year and if we have a spike in pedestrian accidents out there then we may have to evaluate it and take it out,” he says.”

    No one wants to see a spike in pedestrian accidents. But if that’s the result of more people using the bike lanes, why would we want to get rid of them? Instead, MDOT should shift their focus as to why more accidents occur and work on making the bike lanes safer to use not on finding a reason to get rid of them. That’s the approach they take to roads. Why should bike lanes be treated any differently?

  2. Joel Batterman Says:

    I too find this comment puzzling. By narrowing the automobile right-of-way, the project will 1) tend to reduce motor vehicle speeds and 2) decrease the “danger zone” pedestrians have to traverse.

    I commend MDOT’s concern for pedestrian safety, but given that Detroit is possibly the nation’s most dangerous city for pedestrians, I wish the agency would take a more aggressive stance on reducing harm to pedestrians from automobiles, as well as from bike infrastructure, which I’d wager is considerably less hazardous. (See

  3. Todd Scott Says:

    I agree. It was a odd statement to make, especially the word “pedestrian.”

    From 2004 to 2006 they were 6 bike-vehicle crashes reported. Arguably, adding bike lanes sooner could have reduced the likelihood off all of them.

  4. Andrew Mutch Says:

    An important point that Norm Cox has shared with us in Novi is that as Portland, Oregon has seen its number of bikers increase, the number of accidents has not. The thinking is that as drivers get used to seeing bikes on the road, they are more aware of them. With safe facilities, more bikers does not lead to more accidents.

  5. Joel Batterman Says:

    Norm is absolutely right. Decreasing accidents and increasing bicycling means exponentially safer roads.

    Graph for Portland:

    Graph for New York City:

    As the Portlanders like to note, making roads safer for bicyclists also makes them safer for all users – motorists included – since it often involves slowing vehicle speeds.

  6. Sandi Svoboda Says:

    Hmmm. Lemme check my notes! Maybe I made up “pedestrian” in there 🙂 Still, I wonder why they would “take away” markings that inherently make drivers AWARE of cyclists, even if more cyclists are using the lanes. Cyclists have a legal right to be there anyway, right? So the part of “un” marking kind of after the fact I don’t quite get? As in what Andrew said!

  7. Sandi Svoboda Says:

    OK, I checked my notes. I did say pedestrian and I quoted him accurately. What I failed to do was edit his quote – he said a bit later that “pedestrian and bike” accidents would be looked at, and then “motorized/non-motorized” accidents. So I guess I should have changed his quote (gasp!) to reflect his intention?

    That’s one for the journalism ethics class. My apologies though in the misleading here…

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