Posts Tagged ‘Ambassador Bridge’

Biking the bridge(s) between Detroit and Windsor

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

The proposed New Internationals Trade Crossing (NITC) bridge moved closer to reality this past week.

From Crain’s Detroit Business:

At a press conference at the Hilton in downtown Windsor, Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a joint effort to build the $2.1 billion New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

The project could start in 2013 or 2014, and work is expected to take at least four years.

This was a big deal. Even U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was present. He talked about it on his blog.

As everyone who has worked so hard to make this project happen knows, the new crossing will be much more than a road across the Detroit River. With jobs and economic growth, both of our countries will prosper from the new connection.

Neither LaHood nor Snyder made a comment about biking across the new bridge, but that is in the design plans as we noted back in December.

Bike the Ambassador Bridge

The annual Bike the Bridge event was also this past weekend. The Windsor Star covered the event and included these comments from Windsor City Councilor Halberstadt:

Ward 3 Coun. Alan Halberstadt, who sits on the Windsor Bicycling Committee, said part of the purpose of the annual event is to raise awareness that a bike connection is needed across the border. He said they will be pushing to have a bike route added to the existing Ambassador Bridge or included in plans for the new bridge.

“It just makes sense. Cycling is becoming more and more popular for health and economic reasons and it’s a great tourism attraction to have Americans come over here,” said Halberstadt.

2012 Bike the Bridge registration closing soon

Monday, May 28th, 2012

On Sunday morning, June 17th you’ll be able to ride your bike from Detroit to Windsor over the Ambassador Bridge.

Make sure you register now. It appears Bike the Bridge registration is closing for the event at 11am on May 31st. Since this event involves U.S. and Canadian Customs pre-screening, there just can be exceptions for late registrants.

Here’s additional information from the web site:

This is a very special Biking event. The Ambassador Bridge, spanning from Detroit to Windsor, pauses traffic to allow bikes to cross. Canadian riders will ride to the US, across the bridge, and meet up with the Americans. Then both the Canadians and Americans will ride back across the bridge. A delicious Breakfast will be provided after the bridge ride, at Canada’s beautiful Mic Mac Park. Breakfast will be provided by Tres Bean Cafe’ of Windsor. We also plan to have guest speakers and musical entertainment. Then one of two tours can be selected. The short tour will be approximately 15 miles/ 24 KM in length. The short tour will include a special production by Mackenzie Hall. The Long tour will be approximately 40 miles/ 64 KM in length. Both tours will focus on the theme of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The long tour will include a trip to Fort Malden. At the conclusion of the tours Americans, will be bussed back across the bridge and their bikes will be transported via truck. You will also receive a uniquely designed T-shirt as a memento of the event. If you want to attend this event you must have a valid Passport, Passport card, enhanced driver’s license, or Nexus card at the time of registration. This applies to everyone attending this event.

Hopefully the Canadians won’t tease us to much about our rapid surrender of Fort Detroit during the War of 1812. At least we took Fort Malden the next year.

WindsorDOTca also has an article on this event.

Biking and walking on the new Detroit bridge?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Governor Rick Synder continues to push forward on the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Given the apparent lack of support within his own party, the governor may now “go it alone” according to the Detroit Free Press.

One question we hear often is will the new bridge allow bicyclists and pedestrians along with motor vehicles?

But first, let’s mention that the Ambassador Bridge used to allow both on a narrow sidewalk — a sidewalk that is no longer there after the most recent re-decking. Without access to the Tunnel or operating ferry service, bicyclists have no convenient means to cross between the two countries. (Pedestrians can use the Tunnel Bus.) Could the NITC be an answer?

No one knows for certain whether we’ll get bicycles on the NITC as of today, but here’s what the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) says:

The new bridge over the Detroit River and the plaza will be engineered to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and its Canadian counterpart (Customs and Border Services Agency) will determine whether this traffic is allowed. All facilities will be designed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. This will include sidewalks along the roads to be repaved as part of the project. This will be an upgrade at many facilities as they were built before the ADA requirements were established.

“Engineered to accomodate” is further defined in the 2008 Bridge Structure Study:

Initially, the section consists of three lanes in each direction, with a 1m flush median between travel directions and 3m outside shoulders. A sidewalk is only currently required on the U.S. bound approach to the toll and inspection plaza. This sidewalk is separated from the shoulder with a traffic barrier. A 1.066m metal railing provides fall protection on the outside of the sidewalk.

The designs show this sidewalk is 5.2 feet wide and more like a shared-use path. And having this path on the U.S. bound is smart since bikes and pedestrians will have the best views of both downtown skylines.

There are also 10 foot shoulders on both sides of the bridge.

The bad news? The Study says that if there’s increased motorized traffic, the path would be removed and the shoulders narrowed in order to add more lanes. However, we doubt traffic demands would necessitate that.

This brings up another question. would they allow a cyclist without a passport to pay the bridge toll, bike to the middle of the bridge, enjoy the view, then return back to their respective county?

MTGA Comments

During the FEIS process, the Michigan Trails and Greenways made these comments and received MDOT responses.

MTGA Comment MDOT Response
Which AASHTO bicycle facility type would be used [on the new Detroit River bridge], bike lanes or shared lanes The commenter is referred to the “Detroit River International Crossing Study, Bridge-Type Study Report,” dated January 2007, Revised July 2007. This document is on the project Web site (www.partnershipborder under U.S. Reports, Bridge Type Study Report. It discusses bike lane options (pages 3 and 29). A final decision on the bicycle treatment will be made in the design phase
The report does not address bicycling access from the bridge to the processing area to local surface streets. Shared pathways would likely be acceptable for these connections but not narrow sidewalks per AASHTO’s Guide for the Development of Bicycling Facilities. The accommodation for bicycles on the new river bridge is likely to be the right shoulder. When exiting the bridge, a bicyclist would remain to the right of traffic and proceed to a separate building near the primary processing booths for vehicles. After processing, there would be an exit to Jefferson Avenue. All of this is subject to the determination of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its Canadian counterpart to allow bicycle use of the new Detroit River bridge.
the FEIS. . . does not mention the Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink, Southwest Detroit greenways, and Fort Street Greenway projects. These project should not be negatively impacted by the DRIC. MDOT will investigate ways to integrate these projects.
It appears the FEIS does not analyze the DRIC impact on the Detroit Non-motorized Transportation Master Plan . . . Any local road reconstruction that has been identified as a bike route should be rebuilt to accommodate bikes per the plan. MDOT will investigate ways to integrate these projects.
The AASHTO U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) has a designated corridor (Route 25) that includes the DRIC. Though the road route has not yet been set, it is likely to follow Fort Street or Jefferson Avenue. It is important that nay DRIC plan consider bicycling access?between this route and the new bridge. This connecting to Canada would be an invaluable addition to the Bicycle Route System MDOT will investigate ways to integrate these projects.
The cities of Detroit and Windsor are actively pursuing improved nonmotorized transportation and greenway trail networks. Connecting these two systems would bring a unique and significant benefit to the Metro Detroit and Windsor communities Comment acknowledged. As noted in the FEIS Section, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, along with its Canadian counterpart, will determine whether pedestrian and bicycle traffic is allowed on the new Detroit River bridge

Similar comments were made during the Canadian Environmental Assessment process, however they do not appear to have published written responses.

Bike the Bridge 2011: Detroit to Windsor and back

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Over 300 riders from the U.S. and Canada rode in the 2011 Bike the Bridge event.

Those starting in Detroit checked in at the Milliken State Park on the RiverWalk. The group rode to the Ambassador Bridge and over to Windsor. It was here that 90 Windsor bicyclists joined the group and rode back over the bridge to Detroit.

Cyclists were reminded to keep moving and not stop. It’s not everyday that traffic across one of the world’s busiest international crossings is stopped for bicyclists.

Once back at Milliken State Park, riders ate breakfast before heading out on either a 24-mile or 45-mile guided tours. The shorter tour included the Dequindre Cut, Eastern Market, Belle Isle and Indian Village.

Perhaps one of the best comments on the event came from Tristan via Facebook.

Wow! Yesterday’s tour was an amazing experience. I have a very different perspective on the City of Detroit. Thank you to the organizers and volunteers who put so much work into this. I can’t imagine how much time it must have taken. Looking forward to seeing everybody next year.

More photos on Flickr: Ravenswift and OurWindsor

Registration opens for Bike the Bridge 2011

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

On June 12th, the busiest North American international border crossing will be closing very briefly for bicyclists riding in the Bike the Bridge event.

The only way to register for this event is on-line and that is now open.

This is a very special Biking event. The Ambassador Bridge, spanning from Detroit to Windsor, is shut down to car traffic. Canadians will be able to ride across the entire bridge. American riders will ride to the middle of the bridge, meet the Canadians, and ride back to Detroit. Breakfast will be provided after the bridge ride, on the Detroit Riverfront, at William G. Milliken State Park. Then one of two tours can be selected. The short tour will be approximately 15 miles in length. The Long tour will be approximately 45 miles in length. The details of the tours are still being planned.  If you want to attend this event you must have a valid Passport, Passport card, enhanced driver’s license, or Nexus.

No riders under age 16 please.

Registration closes early — May 27th — so that the information can be forwarded to the U.S. and Canadian Customs. Don’t delay!

There is also a Bike the Bridge page on Facebook.