Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’

Detroit looks to make biking legal on RiverWalk

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

It’s legal to ride your bike on most of the Detroit RiverWalk except for the portion in front of Hart Plaza.

Why? Because of this city ordinance:

Sec. 40-4-7. – Wheeled vehicles prohibited.

No wheelbarrow, handcart, automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, motordriven cycle, go-cart, unicycle, moped, solex cycle or other wheeled vehicles are permitted in Hart Plaza except as approved by the civic center department or recreation department for a scheduled event. This section shall not apply to a handicapped person in a wheelchair nor to emergency or service vehicles.

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It’s a little policy issue we shared with our wonky friends, but it wasn’t a big problem on the RiverWalk since it wasn’t enforced.

Apparently it’s more of big deal now because the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will soon maintain that portion of the RiverWalk. Currently the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) maintains the RiverWalk from the Port Authority to Joe Louis Arena. The Detroit Recreation Department is developing a maintenance agreement for the Conservancy to take the reins.

The Recreation Department is asking City Council to change the ordinance’s definition of Hart Plaza to not include the RiverWalk. They said it would be the “most direct and expedient resolution.”

Doing this solves the bicycling issue and others. For example, it’s also not legal to walk your dog or roller skate on this section of RiverWalk.

We’d rather the ordinance not restrict bicycles (or unicycles!) in all of Hart Plaza except during events, but the above proposal is a step in the right direction.

We do have to wonder why solex cycles were called out in the ordinance.


Detroit 2020 looks at trails

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Perhaps you’ve already heard about the Detroit 2020 Project.

Detroit 2020 is a WXYZ commitment to address the challenges facing the region.  We will work side by side with our communities to listen, talk and take action.  Our goal is to unify, inspire change and help make Detroit a better place to live, work and raise families.

Yesterday they aired a segment on the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut which gives a brief introduction to a couple of world class trails.

Yes, it’s a $300 million development project.

And the video also talks about how projects like this are true public-private partnerships. Whereas in most other cities, it’s the government leading the trail development and operations, that’s not the case here. It’s the Conservancy and their staff — and it works well. However, it does skew results when national groups try to benchmark Detroit based on the number of city employees work on biking and walking. For example, the 2010 Benchmark Report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking ranked Detroit last in this category. They wouldn’t count the 24 staff working for the Conservancy since their not city employees.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is also looking for volunteers to serve as ambassadors this coming summer. If you’re interested, give them a call at (313) 566-8200 during business hours for more information.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy looks west

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Earlier this month we attended a public meeting in Southwest Detroit to discuss the westward expansion of the Detroit RiverWalk. This would be the 2-mile segment of RiverWalk from Joe Louis to West Grand Boulevard/Riverside Park.

The interest was very high as the room quickly filled to standing room only.

The initial plans looked great to us. This portion of the RiverWalk would look more like Belle Isle than the often hard-surfaced RiverWalk East. This is due in part to the larger land holdings, including the old Free Press printing plant site and Riverside Park. Of course the railyard in between adds a significant challenge.

It was noted that being able to bike and walk under the Ambassador Bridge would be quite a sight and quite a unique draw. It was good to see Dan Stamper of the Detroit Bridge Company in attendance to show their apparent support of the RiverWalk West concept.

A recent Model D article also added:

Faye Alexander Nelson, president and CEO of the Conservancy, had to remind the audience on several occasions that the planning is beginning now and the community will be a big component of the process.

“This will be challenging,” [Conservancy Chair Matt] Cullen says. “But a real exciting opportunity.”

The Conservancy says they’ll continue to have public meetings as the process for the West Riverfront moves a long.

Raising the millions in funding for this project is a major task, but the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has a track record of getting it done. We see no reason why this won’t come to fruition.

West Riverfront Community Meeting

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

With the RiverWalk being mostly completed from Joe Louis Arena to Belle Isle, it’s time to start discussing the west portion. This runs from Joe Louis Arena, beyond the Ambassador Bridge and over to W. Grand Boulevard. There are already some conceptual ideas on paper, but the Riverfront Conservancy wants to hear from the community.

Here are the meeting details:

We want to hear from you! The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is hosting a community meeting on Thursday, August 12 at 6:00pm to discuss our conceptual plans for the West Riverfront. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy values your input as being critical to our success; we invite you to share your thoughts as we move forward with the vision to transform Detroit’s International Riverfront, the face of Detroit into a beautiful, exciting, safe, accessible, world-class gathering place for all. To RSVP, send an e-mail to? or call 313.566.8248.

Please RSVP by August 9th.

The meeting will be held at the Delray Senior Pavilion at 275 West Grand Boulevard.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy CEO wins award

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The Detroit Free Press has some nice behind-the-scenes coverage of Faye Alexander Nelson, CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy — the group responsible for the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut.

Nelson speaks with pride and pleasure as she points out various attractions — the RiverWalk’s patio-pretty pavement dotted with parks, pavilions, play spaces and gardens; docking space for boats at Michigan’s first urban state park, and a paved trail that officially opened Thursday that allows people to go by foot, bike or Rollerblade from near the river to the Dequindre Cut, a former railroad track transformed into a nonmotorized trail.

It’s fitting that Nelson is at the helm of that bridge-to-bridge development. People who know her say she is indeed a bridge builder, uniting a diverse group of people behind the $300-million-plus project that is an undeniable bright spot in the issues-saddled city of Detroit.

“She has been a forceful and integral part of transforming Detroit’s riverfront into something spectacular,” said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., spokesman for the Michigan Environmental Council, which awarded Nelson the William and Helen Milliken Award for Distinguished Service on Wednesday.

And speaking of the RiverWalk, it’s home once again to the 2010 Detroit River Days event, which begins this Friday and runs through Sunday. River Days includes the Green Path (presented by Bank of America), which is numerous of environmental groups at Milliken State Park. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA) has a booth where you can get the latest information on Detroit biking and walking news. You will also be able to register your support for a Complete Streets policy in the city of Detroit.

And River Days wraps up with one of the world’s largest fireworks displays at 10:06pm on Monday. Afterwards, vehicular traffic is at a standstill which means it’s a perfect to bike to. It seems many more Detroiters are biking to the fireworks each year, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s faster.