Posts Tagged ‘Eight Mile’

David Byrne biking on Eight Mile

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne
Though not on the bookshelves yet, the Observer has a review of David Byrne’s new book, Bicycle Diaries.

From the review:

Byrne has cycled in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Manila and Sydney… Even more impressively, he once cycled from the centre of Detroit to the suburbs, through, as he puts it in his inimitably understated way, “some funky but at least inhabited neighbourhood”. He describes the experience of cycling along “Eminem’s now famous Eight Mile Road”, where the desolation makes him think of postwar Berlin, as “one of the most memorable bike rides I’ve ever taken”.

We’re looking forward to reading the book when it’s released this September.

Trail Connections between Detroit and Warren

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

UM study on trails and biking University of Michigan urban planning graduate students are completing a couple studies in conjunction with the Eight Mile Boulevard Association and Macomb County Planning.

One study examined how to improve non-motorized transportation along Eight Mile. Different solutions were proposed for portions of Eight Mile due to its changing density, traffic speeds, and service levels. Some suggestions included bike lanes, bike parking, improved crossings, and more. With Eight Mile being reconstructed in upcoming years, it’s hoped that some of these suggestions could be integrated with those efforts.

The second study was to connect Detroit’s Conner Creek Greenway to Warren’s Red Run Rec Center. There were two suggested routes, either or both could be implemented. The first crossed east of the Eight Mile/Van Dyke (V-8) intersection and continued north along MacArthur Boulevard and the ITC power line corridor. The other route included on-road bike lanes along Van Dyke, which like Eight Mile will be reconstructed in the near future.

Both routes look good. ?The ITC route offered more greenspace, while the Van Dyke route provide better business access. Also, the Van Dyke route isn’t too far from Sherwood Avenue which provides excellent access between Warren, Centerline, and Detroit. That makes it a tad bit redundant.

The study’s proposed Eight Mile crossing does not include a pedestrian bridge for many of the reasons we cited earlier. MDOT agreed. And there was one additional reason not to build a large steel raised bridge over Eight Mile. It would have to run just under the high-power lines which run down the center boulevard. Doh!

The alternative provides a highly-visible signalized crossing, which really seems to make the most sense for both pedestrians and cyclists. The group proposed a HAWK signalized crossing, which would require some changes to Michigan’s current road laws.

The importance of this cross-county trail link is immense from both the non-motorized and political perspectives. Starting from the Detroit River, one could eventually take the Connor Creek Greenway north to Warren, along the proposed Red Run trail into Madison Heights or Sterling Heights, with connections to the Metro Parkway and Clinton River pathway.

Pedestrian Bridges for Cyclists?

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Proposed Clinton River Trail bridge over Telegraph Road in PontiacI was recently asked by an urban planning study group about pedestrian bridge solutions for cyclists when crossing Eight Mile.  Would it work?  Is it a good solution?

It’s my opinion that pedestrian bridges can work for cyclists in some circumstances, but I’m not sure how well they’d work on Eight Mile.

I think pedestrian bridges can work for cyclists when:

  • There isn’t a faster at-grade crossing
  • The approaches are not too high (e.g. the road is below grade or the approaches are long and gradual)
  • The approaches are easy to ride
  • When not located at an intersection, routes to the bridge are signed so cyclists know they exist
  • The pedestrian bridge is cleared of snow in the winter and otherwise well-maintained

One bridge that does work is the Clinton River Trail bridge over I-75 in Auburn Hills.  It meets all the above criteria.  However, most pedestrian bridges in the Metro Detroit area don’t work for cyclists.

There is a pedestrian bridge over I-696 west of Greenfield that is almost acceptable.  However, the approaches include very sharp 180 degree turns that force most cyclists to dismount; one approach ramp blindly delivers speeding cyclists to the middle of a road; it’s never plowed of snow; it’s often choked with weeds; and very few cyclists know it even exists due to a lack of signage.

The pedestrian bridges over I-75 have steep approaches, are unsigned, and have obstacles at the end of the approach ramps.  They are almost never used by regular cyclists.  They seemed to have been designed primarily for school children.

Pedestrian bridges are not cheap solutions and so it is all the more important that they are employed effectively.  Sometimes it may make more sense (and save more cents) using at-grade intersection improvements.