Posts Tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

Bicycle parking and racks updates

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

bike parking around the New Center in DetroitBike parking has been a hot topic of late.

In Ann Arbor and Hamtramck

Both cities’ efforts to promote bicycling were mentioned in this recent metromode article, Cheap Ways To Revitalize Your Downtown. And both cities are looking to improve bicycle parking — a hot topic this past couple weeks within the city of Detroit.

In Detroit

We recently mentioned a rekindled bike parking discussion with the Detroit Tigers that was initiated last year by Wheelhouse Detroit.

There’s also been discussion at various meetings that not only recognized the importance of improved, safe, and convenient bike parking, but included some steps we can take.

It’s been noted that bike parking within parking structures could be a very good option. And they’re shelted too. The city owns 11 structures. We probably need to not only add bike racks but produce signage so bicyclists can find them.

And rather than buy racks, why not solicit local designs and local builders to create them as is done in Buffalo, New York? Let’s keep the money local and create green jobs.

We’re also looking to pull together some recommendations on bike racks, including designs and location. Many cities have such recommendations, so Detroit’s will likely take the best of those.

Reduced Motor Vehicle Parking Requirements

And, Detroit’s city planning commission is revising motor vehicle parking zoning requirements and may include language for bike parking. ?We’ve suggested that businesses along bike routes might be required to have fewer vehicle parking spaces. And perhaps space requirements could be reduced for any business so long as they provide bike parking. (By the way, providing bike parking is easy points for LEED certification too.)

A Washington Post article, Don’t Build Parking, And They’ll Come–Without Cars, while primarily addressing transit and walking, certainly applies to cycling as well.

Free or nearly free parking induces car usage, the planners say… Don’t build the parking, and residents will be more likely to buy into a transit- and walking-based urban life.

In New York City

The New York City recently took steps to help improve bike parking within some buildings. They also have a great design guide, which we’ve previously mentioned which includes specifications for bicycle racks. And finally, kudos to NYC for this map showing nearly all of their CityRacks.

How many bike to work in Detroit?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden

www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden

Ever wonder how many people are biking or walking to work in Metro Detroit?  How do we compare with the bike friendly cities of Chicago and Portland?

Fortunately the U.S. Census publishes statistics on how people get to work. The below numbers are from 2007, which is before gasoline hit $4 a gallon and encouraged increased bike commuting.  We look forward to seeing the 2008 numbers.

Note that the Metro Detroit error margins are generally +/- 0.1%. For cities, the error margins are much larger which makes comparing these numbers somewhat precarious.

One conclusion that can be drawn is women don’t bike to work as frequently as men, but especially in some areas such as Wayne County, Southfield, and Grand Rapids.  Even in more bike friendly cities like Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Portland, women workers are much less likely to bike to work.  There is no corresponding gender difference among those walking to work in many of these regions (the City of Detroit is an exception).  In Metro Detroit, women  walk to work more often than men (1.6% vs. 1.4%).

Another conclusion: Detroit has much room for improvement compared to places like Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Portland.

City/Region Total Workers
(age 16 & over)
Walk
to work
Bike to work
Overall Male Female
Michigan 4,400,918 2.3% 0.4% 0.5% 0.2%
Metro Detroit 1,925,690 1.5% 0.2% 0.3% 0.1%
Wayne County 758,034 1.9% 0.3% 0.5% 0.0%
Oakland County 577,367 1.6% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2%
Macomb County 383,058 0.9% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Genesee County 170,312 1.0% 0.1% 0.2% 0.0%
Detroit 249,970 2.7% 0.3% 0.7% 0.0%
Southfield 33,936 2.2% 0.4% 0.7% 0.0%
Troy 42,211 0.5% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3%
Ann Arbor 55,336 13.8% 2.6% 3.4% 1.8%
Lansing 52,690 2.5% 0.4% 0.5% 0.3%
Grand Rapids 90,481 3.6% 1.1% 2.0% 0.1%
Traverse City region 66,557 2.8% 0.5% 0.7% 0.4%
Flint 31,579 0.8% 0.4% 0.6% 0.2%
Chicago, IL 1,230,933 5.4% 1.1% 1.4% 0.7%
Portland, OR 280,933 4.4% 3.9% 4.9% 2.8%

One question we have is how does the Census Bureau count workers that use bus bike racks?  Are they counted as public transit commuters, as bicyclists or both?

Giving a Green Light to Royal Oak Cyclists

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Bicycle Detection pavement marking and signA request came before the Royal Oak Traffic and Safety Committee to address the traffic light at 12 Mile and Connecticut. Currently that traffic light gives green lights to both crossing streets. However, there is not much traffic on Connecticut.

The city staff recommendation was to give a green light to 12 Mile traffic and only give a green to Connecticut when a car was present. The City would need to add a car detectors in the pavement.

The problem I saw was Connecticut is a major north-south connector for cyclists. The Red Run Golf Course prevents other north-south routes. I did not want to see cyclists waiting at Connecticut, failing to trigger a green light, and simply going through a red light.

I recommended the City add pavement markings letting cyclists know where they need to locate their bike on Connecticut in order to receive a green signal. There is a national standard for such markings as well as information signs. That recommendation turned into a motion that was approved by the Traffic and Safety Committee and is going before the City Commission tonight.

At that same Traffic Safety Committee meeting, I brought copies of Ann Arbor’s Traffic Calming guide, which I blogged about earlier this year. That Guide is in the Commissioners packets tonight as well.

Two Wheel Revolution

Friday, February 8th, 2008

From metromode:

bike lanesGeysering fuel prices and the clamor for sustainable lifestyles and cityscapes bode well for bicycle commuters, with Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer leading the pack. As head of the bi-partisan Congressional Bike Caucus, a group promoting public investment in bike transportation, Blumenauer’s regular coasts to the office and the White House are Washington, D.C. legend.

Cities from Portland, Oregon to Boulder, Colorado are threaded with cycling networks.

So will the Motor City region (with three Congressional Bike Caucus members) shrug off its shroud of automobile exhaust and feel the oxy rush from the two-wheel revolution?

Complete Article

Ann Arbor provides Traffic Calming option

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I sit on Royal Oak’s Traffic and Safety Committee. The most common issue that comes before our committee is speeding on residential streets. Child and pedestrian safety drive the issue, but so does noise. Residents often ask for additional stop signs, the committee lets them know about their ineffectiveness and that we have no other options for them. Occasionally we will recommend increased enforcement, but realistically the Royal Oak police are overburdened with these requests already.

While Royal Oak doesn’t have a solution today, Ann Arbor does. They have developed a traffic calming program where residents can petition for changes that slow down vehicles in their neighborhood.  From my perspective, it’s a very realistic approach to addressing residents’ concerns.

Of course it’s relatively easy for a local governments to commit to supporting something like this. It’s quite another for them to commit to funding it. Based on their completed projects list, it appears Ann Arbor has stepped up.