Posts Tagged ‘Al Fields’

Midtown Loop Greenway breaks ground in Detroit

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Today was a big day. Another greenway in Detroit — the Midtown Loop — was officially under construction starting this week and there was a celebration on the lawn of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

From this UCCA/CFSEM press release:

Construction is underway on the Midtown Greenway, a four phase, two-mile greenway trail that will circle through Detroit’s University Cultural Center, Wayne State University and Medical Center and Brush Park districts.

Today at a press conference held at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, organizers officially broke ground to signify the start of the first of four phases of construction. When completed, the linked trails will provide eight miles of continuous greenways, enabling people to go from Wayne State University through the Eastern Market to the Detroit Riverfront.

“One of our main goals with the development of the Midtown Greenway is to reclaim the rights-of-way for pedestrians by creating a widened walkway, improving ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) crosswalks, and adding pedestrian traffic signals,” said University Cultural Center Association President Susan Mosey. “By adding such amenities along the route as outdoor seating, pocket parks and pet-friendly features, this trail will contribute to the quality of life and the lifestyle of the community.”

Mosey noted that only the first phase (Kirby and John R) is under construction and should be completed this year. She expects the Canfield segment construction will begin this fall with the Cass section beginning in 2011. The entire loop should be ready to go by the end of next year.

But that’s not all. The UCCA is also working on non-motorized connections to the Dequindre Cut.

And as we’ve noted before, this greenway is geared towards pedestrians and slower cycling. Commuters and faster cyclists may prefer sticking to the streets. This is similar to the current RiverWalk vs. Atwater tradeoff. did some excellent interviews which are now on-line.

One highlight? Sunny Jacob from Traffic Engineering explaining this project’s focus on Complete Streets and livable communities — something the city of Detroit is now pushing.

This project is all about making the street safe and walkable for all uses… and its the new concept called Complete Streets. We are pushing forward with the city of Detroit to make new communities and make them user friendly for all the uses.

Secretary LaHood — Detroit’s talking the talk and would make an excellent candidate for the next round of federal TIGER (as well as ACT) funding.

We’ve uploaded a video of Al Fields speech. Al is Mayor Bing’s Group Executive for Planning, a very active cyclist, and the one you should thank for Detroit’s first bike lanes (on Belle Isle.)

Welcome back, Al!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Al Fields was the go-to guy in Mayor Kilpatrick’s office when it came to getting bike projects done in the city of Detroit.

He left his position in August 2008 to work for DTE.

While we struggled to fill the void, Council President then Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. stepped up in a major way. The passing of the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan really gave bicycling momentum within the city.

That has led to more bike/greenway projects scheduled for 2010. The Department of Public Works (DPW) also created both internal and external non-motorized transportation task forces to help push the plan’s implementation forward. And DPW has anointed Prasad Nannapaneni as the program manager.

Now, adding to this momentum is the great news that Al Fields is returning to the city of Detroit as Mayor Bing’s Group Executive of Planning.

It’s going to be a great 2010.

Detroit Mayor’s Office and Biking

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Much has changed since last summer.  Al Fields, our main go-to guy for bike issues within the May0r’s Office left for a job at DTE.   We struggled to find a friendly ear to help us move things forward.

The change in Mayors solved that problem.  Not only is Mayor Cockrel pushing a green agenda, he’s a cyclist.

And near the end of last year he created the Office of Energy and Sustainability.  One of their key initiatives?

Promote implementation of the city of Detroit’s master plan, which will include the non-motorized plan, and many other pedestrian friendly initiatives, bike paths, parks, etc.

And more positive news?  The City of Detroit has completed the grant application for 16 miles of bike lanes and trails for Corktown.

With the upcoming mayoral primary election this month, the Metro Times has interviewed many of the candidates.  It was somewhat of a surprise seeing biking mentioned by a couple candidates.

  • Before November, candidate Nicholas Hood III promises to “establish a series of free ‘healthy activities’ for the city such as city wide bike ride / walk with the mayor.”
  • To reduce our dependence on foreign oil, candidate Sharon McPhail proposes “bike Lanes on all main roads with a system of high level fines for anyone found driving in them.”

Much has changed.

Detroit welcomes Mayor (and cyclist) Ken Cockrel Jr.

Sunday, September 21st, 2008
Karen Heining with Mayor Cockrel

Karen Heining (Detroit Derby Girls) with Mayor Cockrel

Early Friday morning, Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. became Detroit’s new mayor.

As many have said, this opens a new and exciting chapter in this city’s history.  And while this is certainly true in many ways, it’s especially true for biking in Detroit.

Mayor Cockrel and his staff were instrumental in getting  Detroit’s Non-Motorized Transportation Master Plan moving through city council and approved just last Tuesday.  And with walking and biking being the greenest transportation, it certainly fits with the Mayor’s green agenda, which he mentioned in his inauguration speech.

But also, Mayor Cockrel is a Detroit cyclist.  He rides a few times a week, often before the start of his work day.  Even during these transitional times, he’s still finding some time to ride.

However, he said he was planning to put the bike away soon due to the lack of morning daylight.  We promised to get him information on bike lighting options so he can continue riding.

Just a little over a month ago we lamented Al Fields leaving Mayor Kilpatrick’s office.  He was cyclists’ main if not only advocate in the mayor’s office.  Al had gotten a lot done for Detroit biking, so his leaving left behind a huge vacancy.

We can safely say that that vacancy has been filled.

Thank you, Al Fields

Thursday, August 14th, 2008
Al Fields (DTE) and Greg Johnson (MDOT)

Al Fields (DTE) and Greg Johnson (MDOT)

Al Fields was the primary bicycling proponent within the City of Detroit Mayor’s office. He was our “go to” guy for helping cycling advocates get things done, such as the mountain bike trail at Rouge Park. He was also responsible for getting bike lanes on Belle Isle. Outside of cycling, Al was instrumental in the success of Detroit’s Super Bowl and Red Bull Air Races. He also played bass in Torch with a Twist — and if you know what that is, I don’t need to highlight its coolness.

Unfortunately Al recently changed jobs. He’s now working for DTE. However, he does expect to still be quite involved in promoting cycling.

So thank you, Al, and we wish you the best of luck in your new job at DTE.