Posts Tagged ‘Farmington Hills’

MDOT adds buffered bike lanes to Northwestern Highway

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

MDOT was resurfacing Northwestern Highway this year and did something quite unexpected. They converted the road’s 12 foot paved shoulders to buffered bike lanes.

Originally this road from Inkster to 14 Mile had a 12 foot asphalt shoulder. That shoulder is now a 7 foot bike lanes with a 5 foot painted buffer. Is it ideal for families? Of course not, but many cyclists will find it a comfortable and safe place to ride in spite of the road’s 50 MPH speed limit.

We’ve encouraged MDOT to pursue similar designs on other state roads, but especially in Detroit where there are lower vehicle traffic and under-utilized vehicle travel lanes.

Also, we submitted the new bike lane information to Google Maps for approval.

Why Northwestern Highway?

As we see it, these bike lanes came about for three reasons.

First, the state’s Complete Streets policy encourages MDOT to add biking facilities to its roads.

Second, area cyclists were riding this road segments and had written to MDOT asking for an improved signs to better accommodate cycling. Well, MDOT did better than that. The key was letting MDOT know cyclists were already using Northwestern Highway. This provided documented justification for making the improvement.

Third, there was already a wide, paved shoulder. That made this retrofit very cost effective. The total cost was $21,855 on what was likely a million-some dollar project.

News Coverage

MyFoxDetroit covered this story as part of a segment on bicycling safety. Their story includes a video showing the new lanes.

Cyclist killed in Farmington Hills hit-and-run

Monday, July 26th, 2010

From the Detroit News:

Police are looking for a black sports car today they believe was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash Sunday night on Middle Belt Road.

Police said Redford Township resident John Sallman was riding his bicycle southbound on Middle Belt between Nine and 10 Mile roads when he was struck by a speeding car at about 10:45 p.m.

A witness told police he was proceeding southbound on Middle Belt when he was passed by a Pontiac G6 driving at a high rate of speed. The driver said the Pontiac then returned to the southbound lane in front of the witness and then struck Sallman, 44.

The driver of the Pontiac failed to stop and fled the scene.

Police believe the suspect vehicle may have damage to the front end as well as the windshield.

Anyone with information is asked to call the traffic safety section of the Farmington Hills Police Department at (248) 871-2630. After 4:30 p.m., call (248) 871-2610.

Middlebelt is not a Complete Street, just like most of the streets in Farmington Hills. This city’s attempt at bike friendliness is a short bike lane on one side of a road.

After reading their planning documents, it’s fairly clear that bicycles are for recreation and not transportation.

Many times there master plan (produced by Vilican Leman & Associates) states “Bike paths and/or sidewalks are installed to provide non-motorized access throughout the area.” Saying “bike paths and/or sidewalks” means either someone doesn’t understand AASHTO bicycle design guidelines or Complete Streets principles.

Sadly enough, Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services reviewed this master plan and their staff “commended” Farmington Hills.

And the city’s sustainability report (produced by Hooker De Jong) is downright delusional: “Farmington Hills will continue to develop as a community that is livable, walkable, bikeable, culturally interesting and safe.”

Bikeable and safe? Where?

Certainly not on Middle Belt — and that’s how they planned it.

Biking, DUIs and the Farmington area

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Though perhaps not intentional, this article in Hometown Life seems to reinforce the notion that bicycle commuting is a consequence and not a first choice mode of transportation.

Those attending Farmington’s 47th District Court’s Sobriety Court may ride a bike there, because they usually don’t have a driver’s license.

“We have a number of people who ride their bicycle,” said Judge Marla Parker. “There are so many costs and consequences to drunk driving.”

Consequences like what? They’re biking and getting in better shape?

Now granted, Farmington and Farmington Hills are two of the worst places to ride a bike in Southeast Michigan. Neither city has made any notable effort to become more bike friendly except for a short segment of bike lane along one side of Powers Road. (Yes, having two wide lanes instead would be the safer design.)

Farmington is doing streetscaping along Grand River. They’re adding bike racks and putting Grand River on a Road Diet, but are not adding bike lanes.

The Farmington Hills master plan (Vilican Leman & Associates) appears to ignore best practices for bicycle planning and suggests sidepaths. There’s no excuse for this in 2009.

Also, Farmington Hills also paid Hooke De Jong $89K in 2007 for a Sustainability Study that failed to consider bicycles as a mode of transportation. Instead the study said, “Bicycle paths add to the attractiveness of the city, appealing to families, while signaling a resident friendly community. Bicycle paths contribute positively to the community’s environment and image.”

At least Judge Parker consider bicycles to be transportation.

Attention Farmington Hills Cyclists

Monday, January 19th, 2009

The City of Farmington Hills is updating their master plan.  The current draft promises Farmington Hills will continue to be one of the least safe places to ride a bike in Metro Detroit.

There is no planning for bike lanes, paved shoulders,  or similar on-road facilities that would make Farmington Hills more bikeable and safer.  There is no mention of building Complete Streets or even Safe Routes to School.

The draft plan does mention bike paths, which appear to be wide sidewalks — not AASHTO compliant bicycle facilities.

Area cyclists are encouraged to contact the Farmington Hills Planning Department to let them know you want to safe bicycling facilities that follow AASHTO guidelines and best practices.