Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Market’

Detroit TIGER III grant: a multi-modal enhancement plan

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

The city of Detroit’s TIGER III $25.7 grant request is a work in progress, but this agenda item for an upcoming city council meeting is revealing:

Submitting reso. autho. to endorse TIGER III Grant Application to USDOT for approximately $25.7 million in funding for the Link Detroit! Multi-Modal Enhancement Plan. (Public Works Department intends to submit an application for funding to construct a series of multi-modal infrastructure improvements to create a fully functional transportation system through the Midtown area to Eastern Market continuing on to the Detroit Riverwalk and into the heart of Downtown, collectively called Link Detroit! Multimodal Enhancement Plan.)

So just what are those multi-modal infrastructure improvements?

There are basically five which all tie together:

  • Streetscape improvements in Eastern Market
  • Construction of a Dequindre Cut extension from Gratiot to Mack with a formal entrance in to Eastern Market. As mentioned earlier, this will be a rail with trail non-motorized pathway.
  • Replacement of bridges over this new section of the Cut
  • Bike lane, path, and sidewalk connections from the Dequindre Cut extension to Hamtramck
  • A Midtown Loop connector between Eastern Market and Midtown

As you can see, getting funding to complete these projects would provide major walk and bike connections to Eastern Market, the RiverWalk, Midtown, and Hamtramck. It would be absolutely huge.

TIGER III grants are due at the end of this month and it is quite competitive. $547 million will be granted.

Keep your hands up for Detroit — and your fingers crossed.

Detroit bike culture meets agriculture

Friday, October 7th, 2011

This posting is just a quick shout out to Rising Pheasant Farms which uses big bicycle trailers to transport their produce to Eastern Market. This isn’t too surprising given the Jack Van Dyke from the Hub is involved.

Here’s an excerpt from the Makezine blog with our emphasis added.

Leadley and Van Dyke live a few doors down the block from Weertz. Standing in front of their rows of lush tomato plants, the couple present a quirky version of American Gothic: Leadley has a pierced nose and Van Dyke wears a cycling cap and has their 10-month old son Finn in a back carrier. The cherubic toddler keeps whacking his mom as I ask the family to pose for a photo. While Van Dyke is at work fixing bicycles at Detroit’s non-profit bike repair shop The Hub, Leadley farms three city lots — about a sixth of an acre. In addition to cherry tomatoes, she grows ornamental flowers, which are a good cash crop. Leadley calls her business Rising Pheasant Farms because, apparently, pheasants are thriving in Detroit’s growing greenery. Rising Pheasant also has an indoor division: sunflower shoots are grown under lights in the attic of the house they’re renting. Their produce is sold at Detroit’s huge farmers’ market and to local restaurants. The couple doesn’t own a motor vehicle and is proud that they do deliveries by bikes that pull six-foot long trailers. As Leadley put it, “Human-powered transportation is part of our business plan.” Van Dyke is in the process of making a suspension system for the trailers using discarded bike inner tubes so tomatoes are cushioned on their way to market. Leadley marvels at the plight of some at the farmers’ market, who get in their trucks at 1:00 a.m. to drive across the state to Eastern Market, one of the largest farmers’ market in the country. Rising Pheasant has a mile and a half bike ride.

Not only is the market close to the farm, the route is pretty darn flat — another benefit to biking in Detroit, especially while pulling six-foot trailers with produce.

Planned Detroit RiverWalk improvements

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

SEMCOG has been asked to add 60 projects to the 2011-2014 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Among those additions, MDOT has submitted 3 non-motorized pathway construction projects for the Detroit RiverWalk.

  • 2011: $15.5 million for pathways at various locations between Cobo Hall and the Belle Isle Bridge, perhaps including the unfinished section in front of the new Port Authority.
  • 2012: $5.4 million for pathways from Chene (Park) to Jos Campau.
  • 2013: $11 million for pathways from Meldrum (Mt. Elliot Park) to the Belle Isle Bridge. This is the Uniroyal site.

Yes, the details are vague, but it’s enough information to get excited. If this goes as planned, the RiverWalk will connect with Belle Isle by 2013.

Milliken State Park expansion?

The DNRE is also looking at expanding their state park located on the RiverWalk.

This is an excerpt from  a presentation given at the August 18th Natural Resources Trust Fund meeting, which has provided funding to the RiverWalk and state park. The presentation was by Vicki Anthes from the DNRE and Faye Alexander-Nelson from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Ms. Anthes outlined two parcels that are critical for additional development of the state park. The first parcel is the Atwater Loft building, which has sat vacant for some time. The Detroit Economic Development Corporation is willing to discuss acquisition of the property. This property would have a huge impact on how the remainder of the park is developed. The other property, north of Atwater Street, is the Globe Building and some vacant land just north of it. She discussed additional parcels of interest to future development of the park — Watermark parcel, existing City of Detroit owned Chene Park and Holsom property. None of these properties have been developed. The DNRE would like the City of Detroit to consider these properties for acquisition to the Milliken State Park to expand recreational opportunities. Another parcel for consideration is located on the the west riverfront area and is approximately 40 acres. The City of Detroit owns this property as well. If all parcels were acquired, the state park would go from 31 acres to approximately 78 acres.

The Atwater Loft building mentioned above is that vacant land just east of the Rivard Plaza parking lot. The minutes imply that Chene Park is undeveloped, which is obviously not correct. The DEGC does have plans to expand Hart Plaza so that it replaces Chene Park. This is a really needed if there’s any hope of increasing residential living opportunities in the area around Chene. Living next to an amphitheater brings noise and parking issues.

What this really shows is the market for condos directly on the river isn’t what the DEGC thought, at least not in this current market. The DNRE can apply for Trust Fund grants to acquire and develop park land, so they’re really the only game in town right now.

The presentation included  more information on the Globe Buiding.

Ms. Anthes further outlined the vision of development at the Globe Building property. A portion of the interior space could provide opportunities for an adventure and discovery center. There would be hands-on activities for visitors to experience outdoor recreation and natural resources, such as climbing a giant White Pine tree, simulated kayaking trip or an indoor archery center.

Interesting ideas. It’s great to see the DNRE is expanding their role in Detroit — as they should. This state park is more readily accessible than any other in Michigan. It’s highly visible and a huge asset to the community.

Dequindre Cut Expansion

At this same Trust Fund meeting, Tom Woiwode from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan discussed the planned northward extension of the Cut to Mack Avenue.

From the minutes:

The original plan was to connect the trail into Eastern Market. In the first phase of the project, the trail got users as far as Gratiot. North of Gratiot the property was privately owned. The railroad company owns this property. Just last month the railroad company has agreed to sell the property.

The Community Foundation is prepared to provide the match required for the acquisition. With this property, the Dequindre Cut will actually directly connect with Eastern Market. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) provided a $393,000 grant towards the Dequindre Cut south trail construction. They have expressed interest in continuing the project north and have some construction funds available.

There you go, D-Cut fans. The wheels of trail expansion are turning…

A couple Detroit Halloween rides

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

With the weather taking a turn towards colder temperatures, it’s a great time to pull on a Halloween costume and bike with others.

There are two rides this weekend in Detroit.

Friday is the Critical Mass ride — this month called the Detroit Critical Massquerade. As usual, the ride leaves from Trumbull and Warren at around 7pm.

Saturday at 2pm is the Devils Night Alley Rat Costumed Bike Race. That ride meets outside The United Specialty Produce Door at 1501 Division near Riopelle in Eastern Market.

According to the flyer, there are “Trophies for Podium, DFL” and “Awards for Best/Worst Costume.”

Detroit Riverwalk & Dequindre Cut Updates

Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Rendering of the new public dock and terminal under construction

Rendering of the new public dock and terminal under construction along the Riverwalk

Tuesday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRC) hosted a public forum on the Riverwalk and Dequindre Cut.  This is the first in a series of public meetings.

Some of the highlights —

The Dequindre Cut grand opening is scheduled for May 2009.  However, the construction is expected to be completed by mid-November.  At that time, the DRC will take over management of the trail.  It may officially open for use in December.

The Dequindre Trail is the 3 block trail which connects the Dequindre Cut to Tricentennial State Park and the Riverwalk.  It is being built by the City of Detroit and the DEGC.  The design is currently under review.  Construction should begin in Spring 2009 and completed in the Summer 2009.

In the meantime, many of the roads in the East Riverfront area will be reconstructed and bike lanes added.

Phase II of Tricentennial State Park is under construction as noted earlier.  Construction should be completed by Fall of 2009.

Further north, plans are underway to improve the pedestrian connection between the Dequindre Cut and Eastern Market.  The sidewalks along Gratiot and Russell will be improved as will the lighting.  Construction is expected to begin in the spring and completed during the summer.

And heading even further north, conceptual plans should be completed this week suggesting how the Dequindre Cut will extend north from Gratiot to Mack.  The plans contain ramps at Wilkins and Division.  These will provide better access to Eastern Market — especially for cyclists.

Back along the river, we received the following update from the DRC:

Construction has begun on the new Port Authority Dock & Terminal, planned for the East Riverfront between Hart Plaza and the GM Renaissance Center. Planned by the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, the project includes a 21,000 square foot Public Dock & Terminal, which, once complete, will be able to accommodate all types of vessels wishing to call on the City of Detroit, including cruise ships, ferries, water taxis, tall ships, dinner boats and navy vessels. The two story terminal will house a processing area for tourists, ticket counters, the authority’s headquarters and a public plaza.

Due to the construction, East RiverWalk will be temporarily closed to the public, from the eastern end of Hart Plaza to the western end of the GM Renaissance Center and GM Plaza. An alternate route will be provided around the construction site for those enjoying the RiverWalk. The RiverWalk closure will begin on Monday, October 27 and is planned to be reopened in Summer 2009

The DRC has plans to upgrade Mt. Elliot Park.  It will receive a new pavilion, concessions, and a playscape for children.  No time line was given.

Also, it’s estimated that the Riverwalk had nearly 2 million visitors this year.

Here are some of the questions and answers from the public session:

Q. Are the Red Bull races coming back?
A. They hope so but it depends on getting sponsorship dollars and times are tight.

Q. Are there plans to build an aquarium on the Riverwalk?
A. No, but some developers have proposed one.  The problem is they are tough to make economical.

Q. What are the plans for the tops of the bridge abutments along the Dequindre Cut?
A. Original plans had them as community gardens, but their use really depends on the feedback from the community.

Q. Are the Dequindre Cut ramps accessible?
A. Yes, all of the ramps are under 5% slope and meet the ADA requirements.

Q. Can we make the music less noticeable and distracting?
A. The music levels at Gabriel Richard were set too loudly.  That has been corrected.  The DRC has a varied program mix of music and quiet time.  However, General Motors controls the music along their Promenade.

Q. Will the Riverwalk go through the Watermark development?
A. Yes.  The DRC owns an easement along the river’s edge.  The Riverwalk will be extended from Tri-Centennial State Park to Chene Park when the Watermark is built.

Q. Can security and emergency personnel reach those in the Dequindre Cut?
A. Yes, there are three entrances where motorized vehicles can reach those in need.  The entrances have removable bollards for that purpose.