Posts Tagged ‘Corktown’

Fordson Island: A key greenway connection

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The Detroit News is reporting about an initial clean up of Fordson Island in the Rouge River.

As noted in the article, the island is part of greenway connection between Hines Drive/Rouge Gateway and the Southwest Detroit Greenlink/Corktown.

A conceptual master plan from 2002 shows the Rouge Gateway continuing to follow the Rouge downstream. Currently the Gateway trail ends at Michigan Avenue, but with this plan it would extend southeast to the Fort Street bridge over the river. Fordson Island is directly upstream from that bridge.

And  as we mentioned a couple years ago, the Marathon Oil Company, the island’s primary land owner, wants to donate it for public greenspace. And that pledge to donate the land meant a proposed change to the master plans. That change is to shift the trail from the east river bank to the west and have the trail go across the island.

This connection could really spur economic development — even if it only connects those hungry cyclists on Hines Drive with the awesome Southwest Detroit taquerias.

Detroit Bike Shorts

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Bikes on Buses

All SMART buses and about half of DDOT buses now have bicycle racks. DDOT expects all of their buses to have racks by the first quarter of 2011.

Weren’t they talking about possibly three-bike racks? Yes, but we were told there was an apparent design problem with those racks. When loaded, they blocked the bus left headlight. Not good. DDOT is also looking at funding bike racks near their transit stops.

DDOT’s Bikes on Buses brochure is on-line (PDF).

Lighting the viaduct

Model D is reporting on an effort by 100 Points of Light to light the W. Vernor viaduct at the Michigan Central Station.

Armed with a grant from Kresge Community Arts, the group — comprised of siblings Mary Beth and Patrick Carolan and Robert Reese — propose a series of solatubes paired with chandeliers inspired by those once found in the depot that are powered by light stored in solar panels. Eventually, excess power generated would be sold back to the grid, creating the possibility that the concept becomes not only self-sustaining, but profitable.

Over the next few months, 100 Points of Light will focus on cleaning up the underpass and replacing existing bulbs with high-efficiency LEDs while planning for installation gets underway.

A better lit viaduct will be very welcomed by cyclists. The darkness makes it difficult to see road hazard. Also, it’s difficult knowing how well motorists can see cyclists there. More light would be great.

The lack of light is one reason why the W. Vernor bike lanes (to be installed next year) end before going under the viaduct.

RiverWalk progress

A DNRE official was on the Craig Fahle show discussing the cleanup of the Uniroyal site. This site is on the Detroit River between two completed sections of the RiverWalk: Gabriel Richard Park and Mt. Elliot Park. Site cleanup could begin as early as next spring. This is a necessary step before this critical RiverWalk segment can be constructed.

And this Sunday the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is leading a free guided tour of the RiverWalk from 10am until 11am at the Rivard Plaza. There are more details on their Facebook page. They are asking attendees to RSVP by tomorrow by sending an email to

Reaching our goals together

There was a Greens Streets and Highways Conference in Denver this week. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood wrote about it on his blog, including this quote:

We have the tools, and are developing even more tools, to make sure that transportation doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Highway advocates, environmentalists, car owners, truckers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and preservationists can all reach their goals–together.

No more excuses for Metro Detroit road agencies.

We need leaders who find solutions to problems rather than continuing to find problems with solutions.

Mexicantown public planning session tonight

Monday, November 8th, 2010

From the Detroit News

By early next summer, the Corktown/Mexicantown Greenlink project will add bike lanes and routes all across the area. It’s likely that these neighborhoods will have a higher density of bike facilities than any other in Michigan.

But there’s more than just biking planned for this area.

Tonight from 4pm until 7pm is a public open house:

Come share with us a Community Vision for a 20 Block Area of Vernor and Bagley in and around the Mexicantown Mercado. Over 100 stakeholders came together to strategize on the Redevelopment of this Vital Area.

Design Boards will be on display for your review and comments.

Sponsored by: Southwest Housing and Detroit Collaborative Design Center, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture.

Today’s Detroit News has an article with additional details.

One good question is how will this area’s planned redevelopment enhance and take advantage of the new biking facilities? We’ll know more tonight.

Help build a gritty, gothic bike rack

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The Spirit of Hope Church in Detroit’s North Corktown neighborhood is seeking contributions to help build a bike rack that suits the church’s gothic architecture.

Despite the growing population of cyclists, Spirit of Hope Church is without bike parking. Give them the kick they need to commission a local metal artists to hook them up.

They are seeking $287 by October 4th to match the $287 they’ve already raised from the Soup at Spaulding.

Soup at Spaulding has also raised money for a new bike collective at the Fireweed Universe-City.

The Fireweed Universe City Bicycle Collective is a volunteer run, bicycle collective open to the Detroit Community. Our primary purpose is to foster a safe, educational and diverse environment that emphasizes pedal powered options for safe and environmentally responsible transportation in order to provide community members with the facilities and tools, as well as the skills and knowledge to help make cycling an essential part of their everyday lives.

Fireweed Universe-City located near Seven Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.

It seems like these Detroit Soup events are a great means for raising funds and supporting some of the smaller projects that can really help cycling in Detroit.

To learn more about these events, Model D TV has recently covered this growing Soup concept.

Making Michigan Avenue a Complete Street

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

The Let’s Save Michigan web site has a great video of Phil Cooley talking about making Michigan Avenue a Complete Street in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

We received this video with an accompanying email, which included the following:

Michigan’s local economies are struggling. Listen to the perspective of one small business owner in Detroit explain the biggest obstacle his business is currently facing — it may surprise you:

The exciting news is that Michigan is poised to overcome these obstacles right now. Creating more livable communities where businesses can thrive does not have to take the money or resources Michigan is lacking — it just takes some smart planning.

When planners and engineers design neighborhood streets with bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation in mind, the need for complex intersections is reduced and infrastructure costs can be cut by as much as 35 to 40 percent.

Even property values have been proven to get a boost from Complete Streets. Studies show that the value of homes in walk-able communities is $4,000 to $34,000 more than the same homes in regular neighborhoods.

This section of Michigan Avenue is being repaved with federal stimulus funding. MTGA and other organizations are working with MDOT to get bike lanes added. It seems MDOT would like to add the lanes but may be constrained by Michigan state law regarding trunklines. We’re hoping to have that resolved before the road lines are painted.