Posts Tagged ‘cycletracks’

Birmingham surveys biking and walking interest

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Rebounding after a very public Complete Streets battle over Maple Road, the city of Birmingham is developing a transit and non-motorized transportation plan not unlike what other cities have done in Detroit, Royal Oak, and Novi.

A public survey was used to collect information for the plan. The Birmingham Patch reported the results.

Overall, the survey found that most of the responses were similar to those found in similar communities across the U.S. People want better to bike and walk more.

However, we’re not sure there’s much value in some survey answers. For instance, the survey asks people to evaluate bicycle facilities that don’t exist in the community or even Metro Detroit. How comfortable are you riding in a cycletrack? We’re not sure we could have answered that until we’d spent some time riding them in Montreal earlier this year.

We’d rather see cities just build bike facilities according to best practices and available funding. Best practices include designing the safest option that best meets the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists. That’s basically what’s done for motorized transportation planning.

As an example, a survey of local community residents probably would not have shown much support for the Dequindre Cut before it was built. People vehemently said there would not go into that ditch. It took conceptual drawings, community Q & A meetings, and just building it to change minds. Now the community is asking when it will be extended.

It’s challenging for people to evaluate something they’ve never seen or used, or at least not seen in their community. It takes visionary leaders to absorb the community needs and build the best practices infrastructure to meet them.

Moving forward

This planning effort really shows how Birmingham moving in a positive direction for those who walk and bike. We’re excited to see where it takes them.

Among the communities in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties, Detroit is still at the top for their non-motorized efforts and lengthening their lead on the other cities. With its citywide bike network and improved bike parking, Ferndale is in second. Novi and Royal Oak are stepping up. Birmingham, Warren, Pontiac and Dearborn are making moves — and don’t count out Berkley.

Also, the new Woodward Complete Streets project will help knit many of these efforts together. It’ll be interesting to see where we are a few years down the road — or cycletrack.

GREEN plan for Detroit’s East Riverfront

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

After about 18 months of planning and community engagement, the GREEN plan was revealed, a plan for greenways throughout the Detroit’s lower eastside.

The GREEN Task Force, a coalition of Detroit-based non-profit groups, presents to you a vision and a realistic plan for creating a network of greenways on Detroit’s greater riverfront east. Just as greenways serve many functions – from recreational venues to economic linkages between neighborhoods – this report also aims at many goals. This plan serves as a catalyst for:

    • Economic development
    • A tool for bringing communities together
    • A way of defining a new future for Detroit’s greater riverfront east

Modeshift covered this story a couple weeks ago.

“It’s evident things like greenways and bike lanes are good for community development,” [Villages CDC executive director Brian] Hurttienne says. “Otherwise we wouldn’t spend the money we do.”

“Greenways provide much more than ways to get somewhere without a car,” says Maggie DeSantis, chair of the GREEN Task Force and board member of the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative. “Greenways improve health and safety by creating recreational venues, beautifying neighborhoods, creating nodes of economic development, and by connecting neighborhoods and residents to each other, and to the broader city.”

Since the unveiling, the GREEN task force has been presenting this plan to many different groups and exploring funding options.

And some of the routes are closer to implementation than others.

  • The city has initial plans to add bike lanes to this segment of Kercheval next year.
  • The East Jefferson Corridor Collaborative continues their efforts for bike lanes on E. Jefferson. They are focusing on the roadway between Belle Isle’s bridge and Indian Village. They have a few different design options, two of which are physically-separated bike lanes, also known as cycletracks. They are currently doing a traffic study to ensure the required road diet would not be a roadblock.

The project furthest from implementation is likely the Detroit RiverWalk extension to Alter Road. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is focusing on completing the eastern portion of the existing RiverWalk before shifting resources to the western portion between Joe Louis Arena and Riverside Park/Ambassador Bridge.