Birmingham to consider road diet and bike lanes

As we’ve mentioned before, Birmingham is really starting to get more involved in improving biking and walking opportunities.

One of there latest efforts is to improve Maple Road between Eton and Woodward. This is a main gateway to their downtown and the road isn’t too pretty. It’s mostly a four lane road that allows on-street parking except between 7am and 9am and 4pm and 6pm.

The road carries significant vehicle traffic mostly during rush hour and road that very few would feel comfortable biking on.

We’ve heard that many of the houses along this stretch are rentals, which is probably an reflection on the unwelcoming street.

A proposed alternative is a road diet, taking it to three lanes with bike lanes. The current lane design would be maintained at the intersections to facilitate more traffic flow. Traffic models determined that 30% of the vehicle traffic would use other roads if this were to happen and travel delays would not be that much worse. While motorists might wait more at the Adams crossing, the Woodward crossing would operate with less delay.

If you are interested in supporting this, please attend this upcoming public meeting on February 13th. The details are below the fold.

Adding bike lanes to this section of Maple would connect the popular Eton Road cycling route to downtown Birmingham. It would also connect the transit center and Troy’s shopping district to downtown Birmingham as well.




7:30 P.M.



ROOM 205

The City of Birmingham has adopted a Complete Streets policy to fully consider appropriate accommodations for all modes of travel on its public streets. The modes of travel to be considered include vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit. During the 2012 construction season, the City plans to remove and replace the street pavement for a half mile segment of E. Maple Rd., from Adams Rd. to Eton Rd. As a part of its Complete Streets policy, a consultant has studied the entire corridor from Woodward Ave. to Eton Rd., and made the following two recommendations:

1. Reconstruct this segment of Maple Rd., providing two through vehicular lanes and one left turn lane, and new five foot wide bike lanes on each side, except at the Adams Rd. and Eton Rd. intersections (where the current lane configuration would remain).

Current and projected traffic demand on this street indicate that current levels of service for vehicular traffic is poor during peak demand times of day, and will decline further should through vehicle capacity be removed as proposed. Once removed, it is anticipated that about 15% of through traffic demand during the PM peak hour will eventually choose to divert to other routes. Some diversion will be regional, some will be to other parallel major streets, and some will be to adjacent local streets. Copies of the report detailing this study, as well as other information reviewed by the City Commission at their meeting of December 5, 2011, can be found on the City’s website, under the Engineering Dept., subheading 2012 Construction Projects. Information regarding the State of Michigan Complete Streets legislation is also posted there. Go to, and select the Engineering Dept. under the City Government subheading at the top of the home page.

Prior to directing the Engineering Dept. to conduct a test of the three-lane road design during which time traffic demands will be monitored, the City Commission will hold a hearing at the above noted time to consider input from the public on this matter.

2. Install one or more signed alternate bike routes for bicyclists traveling east or west in this area.

Whether the City ultimately constructs a 3-lane road (with bike lanes) or a 4-lane road (without bike lanes) onMaple Rd., the Commission is interested in installing alternate signed bike routes for those who would prefer not to ride on Maple Rd. Copies of the various suggested alternate routes being considered is available in map form on the City’s website, also under the Engineering Dept., subheading 2012 Construction Projects.

Input from those that would be interested in bicycling and the alternate routes plan is being solicited.

Prior to giving direction, the City Commission would like to receive any opinion or comments relative to these matters. If you are not able to attend the meeting, but wish to have your comments as a part of the record, please send a note to the Engineering Department at the address on page 1 of this notice, to be received no later than Friday, February 3, 2012, so that the Commission may review your comments prior to the meeting. It is important that your comments and opinions are considered before any final decisions are made that may impact you as a regular user of this corridor. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Engineering Dept. at 248-530-1836.


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5 Responses to “Birmingham to consider road diet and bike lanes”

  1. Andrew Mutch Says:

    I wish we had a better term than “road diet” for this kind of change. Opponents latch onto the term to argue that the “diet” means a loss of capacity, increased delays, etc. when the changes can maintain capacity while making the road safer and provides capacity for bikers and others who had no access under the existing design.

  2. Jeremy Says:

    Sounds like a no brainer to me, I hope this project happens!

  3. Joel Batterman Says:

    Yes, “complete street” does a better job of expressing that we actually get more and not less from this change, in terms of more modes of transportation served. Is there a term that could express the safety benefits to car traffic, too? 4-3 conversions also bring less speeding and fewer rear-end and side-swipe crashes. “Leaner doesn’t mean meaner.”

  4. T.R. Morris Says:

    The term “traffic calming” is used. I’m not certain whether it applies to this, but I think that it may. When there’s two lanes in each direction for a stretch followed by only one lane in each direction, cars race to be first. When it’s a constant one lane in each direction, there’s fewer races. That calms traffic.

  5. Adam D. Says:

    This would be a great improvement, but would be even better if it was for Maple on the West side of Woodward as well.

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