Why m-bike? Post #1,000

It’s difficult for me to believe that this is post #1,000 on m-bike, but that’s what the software says.

So, I thought it might be appropriate to provide some background on why this site exists.

There really were a couple early projects I started that prompted the creation of m-bike.

Woodward Bike Routes

Around 1998, I proposed some Woodward bike routes in Oakland County. I developed a mission statement and routes that used the existing side streets paralleling the Woodward.

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) was very supportive and hosted meetings with the various municipalities. But, since the routes weren’t directly on Woodward, WA3 couldn’t champion it. It wasn’t within their mission. None of the cities showed much interest and it died.

However, I’d like to think that this discussion had some influence on future non-motorized planning efforts on the Woodward corridor.

I-75 Non-motorized Mobility Plan

This next project started when MDOT was studying the widening of I-75 in South Oakland County. MDOT’s plan ignored how this expansion would affect bicyclists. It also ignored the opportunity to improve bicyclists’ ability to get across I-75, one of the area’s major barriers.

So, I created a fairly thorough 16 page, full-color plan on how to improve I-75 crossings for cyclists. It proposed some new crossings while improving some existing ones. I had met with MDOT’s project planning consultants ahead of time then submitted the report to them.

They ignored it.

When I asked them why this plan resulted in no changes to the project’s final environmental impact statement, the MDOT consultant said it was due to a editing mistake. Seriously.

The bottom line? It was real easy to ignore the lone wolf bike advocate.

m-bike begins

I thought that to be a more success advocate, I should create the appearance of an organization which was larger than one person. At the same time, I needed to spread the bike advocacy gospel to other cyclists and get them involved.

A web site seemed like the best way of achieving both.

In June of 2002 I registered m-bike.org, which was a play on M-DOT. The initial web site was up in August.

You may have noticed that I still write posts as if m-bike is a big advocacy organization, hence the “we” instead of “I”. Is that still necessary or just confusing?

The reality is its just me writing posts whenever I get a chance.

The future of m-bike

The web site design is really tired but any big updates are on hold as the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan develops a web site with overlapping interests. I’ve been working with them on it for a number of years now and it’s on the verge of launching. I am hopeful they can provide much of the functionality that is missing from this site.

I have had some discussions with others about making m-bike into a full-blown Metro Detroit bike advocacy, membership-based organization. Except for trails and what’s happening in Detroit, there are practically no organizations successfully advocating for better biking.

That said, I don’t see m-bike filling that void any time soon.

However, what is happening is the Detroit Greenways Coalition is becoming a non-profit organization, but their scope would limited to the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. Perhaps the Coalition’s service area would eventually expand to include other suburbs.

We’ll likely know more by post #2000.

One Response to “Why m-bike? Post #1,000”

  1. Andrew Mutch Says:

    Todd – Congrats on post #1000! M-Bike is a great resource for the region not just for those interested in a better biking experience but for everyone who wants a better Detroit and Southeast Michigan. I appreciate your willingness to speak out and be an advocate on these issues. While it sometimes may feel like you’re shouting into the wind, people are listening and change is happening.


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