Detroit Complete Streets: Updates and meeting tomorrow

Speak up for Complete Streets

We’re asking people to attend tomorrow’s (7 pm, Wednesday, June 27th) Mayor’s Community Meeting at city hall to speak in favor of a Complete Streets ordinance in Detroit. An ordinance has been drafted and is being reviewed by the Law Department. The Department of Public Works is opposed to an ordinance, while others are in support.

The Mayor’s office holds much sway in determining how this will play out. We hope to encourage the Mayor to support the ordinance. This meeting is one opportunity to do that.

Mode Shift published this article with more details:

Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues and moms, dads, sisters and brothers to come tell officials why a bikeable, walkable, transit- and disabled-friendly city is crucial to the progress and revitalization of Detroit!

We plan on arriving a bit early in order to get on the list to give public comments.

If you cannot attend and want to show your support, you can submit a letter of support. A sample letter with information on where to send it are available here.


There’s been much discussion over public lighting in Detroit and Highland Park. Both cities have removed or are removing more lights. Many lights are no longer work due to their outdated design, equipment, and scrappers.

It’s been reported that 40% percent of Detroit’s 88,000 streetlights are broken. Highland Park just removed nearly 70% of their streetlights.

What we’ve learned through community workshops across Detroit is that public lighting is a key reason why people don’t walk or bike more.

Woodward Avenue

Woodward could get a bit safer for biking and walking.

From the Birmingham Patch:

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to support its efforts to develop a Complete Streets master plan for Woodward Avenue.

The grant is from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and complements the $752,880 grant that was previously awarded by the Federal Highway Administration for the initiative.

The association, an economic and community development organization based in Royal Oak, plans to develop a “Complete Streets” master plan that will transform the 27-mile corridor – from the Detroit River to Pontiac – into a complete, compatible and integrated roadway.

Certainly Woodward looks different across its 27 miles. Those differences will call for different Complete Street solutions.

We’re just excited that this discussion is underway.

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4 Responses to “Detroit Complete Streets: Updates and meeting tomorrow”

  1. Dave Says:

    Why would the department of public works be opposed to such an ordinance? Does it mean less hours of work needed? If there’s one thing I think has changed about my schema about how the world works, is that I am more aware that some people and powerful groups have no problem effecting the world for the benefit of very few at the cost of many, many more.

    In regards to street lights, I’m conflicted, and without having enough information, I don’t have a fully informed opinion. However, most people traverse their environment during daylight hours and is actually one attraction to me as a cyclist. I’ve come across areas with little or reduced lighting, especially in Detroit but also other areas, and probably read/heard about street lights being an issue.

    It’s made me think about this issue a little bit, primarily a simple question that came up most recently doing a night ride: “Should those that are out and about at night be able to provide lighting that is adequate for their own needs?” I know it seems like a petty issue and is belaboring it, considering where we are as a society (though would not have been so how ever many decades or more ago), and again being uninformed, I don’t know the costs required, but perhaps a compromise would be to be sure at least provide SOME lighting and not leave stretches with NO street lights, which would supplement lights on automobiles and bicycles—this of course leaves pedestrians at a little bit of an added danger if they didn’t have some source of light, such as a flashlight or even a very modest headlamp (like candles with a handle years ago I’m guessing may have been used).

    Considering that primary point above, does the benefit really outweigh the cost? I’m sure there are relevant factors/variables other factors that figure into this equation including, though not limited to:

    -How developed/ densely populated an area is:
    -Crime deterrence
    -Costs of reduced road/crossing safety/increased occurrences of accidents

    These are legitimate questions and I’m thinking it’s probably been thought about by those making decisions, but ultimately likely not studied, though maybe some data has been looked at (crime being the first that comes to mind) and tried to do simple guesswork about where to draw a line.

    It seems in the times we’re living in, especially on a more local level, street lights should not be taken for granted and even if you wanted to try to get a good handle on whether it comes out on the positive or negative, I don’t think it’s a simple straightforward issue (again with where we are as a city, both citizens and the city itself). The city of course has much more pressing issues, but relatively less significant issues are also worthy of discussion and consideration.

    Please keep us updated on Woodward. It’s going to take more than paint or even some barrier though–my limited experience riding Woodward has been that it needs some re-paving in parts-correct me if I’m wrong, and if I’m not mistaken, that is one part of the idea behind C.S.: Doing such work when the road is being re-paved anyways.

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    DPW is concerned about financial unknowns. They also don’t think an ordinance is necessary since they are making much progress already in implementing Complete Streets.

  3. Rolfsy Says:

    Todd- heard anything about the mid-woodward area (RO Zoo, Ferndale, etc.)?

    Lots of noise about complete streets resolutions from the different councils etc. but little has been done, or even planned, that I can tell.

    I mean RO passed that ‘dream map’ but who knows how much will actually happen (Catalpa sharrows notwithstanding). Ferndale remains oddly quiet. Berkley was in the paper recently with half of the council members falling all over themselves to not understand how a diet on Coolidge would help.

    Any good news on the near horizon?

  4. Todd Scott Says:

    Rolfsy: The Woodward Complete Streets project is moving forward. We’ve had a series of meetings. I expect the planning effort to begin this fall. Yes, it’s more planning, but we also expect to get at least one short-term Complete Streets project out of it.

    I agree that most of the Complete Streets noise is just that. The Metro Detroit communities that seem very committed include Detroit, Hamtramck, Ferndale, Birmingham, Novi, and even Royal Oak. We might be able to add Dearborn, Warren and Berkley to that list during the next couple years.

    Ferndale is working on a number of exciting projects. Stay tuned.

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