Posts Tagged ‘I-275’

Meeting Planned for I-275 Bike Path Extension

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Mark your calendars. Next month MDOT is hosting an open house to discuss one phase of an I-275 bike path extension to the north from 13 mile to 14 mile.

The meeting is from 6pm until 8pm at the Novi Civic Center.

Here’s the official notice from MDOT with all the details.

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More Bike-Related Stimulus Updates

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

MDOT’s Project List

Crain’s Detroit has posted a list of the MDOT projects on their economic stimulus list. As we reported earlier, designing and re-constructing the entire I-275 Bike Path is on their list.

Also on their list is for Michigan Avenue: Milling and resurfacing from Livernois to Rosa Parks; $10 million. Will this project include bike lanes like those planned for Corktown, just to the east? We’ll find out.

DNR Project List

Given the large backlog in DNR capital repairs and improvements, it’s not surprising to see their list is quite long. Trail-related highlights include:

  • Statewide: 600 miles rail-trail surface improvements
  • Proud Lake: Floating boardwalk and bridge connection for equestrian trails and the canoe launch to the Powers Unit
  • Sterling State Park: Surface improvements to connect internal trail system to City of Monroe’s trail system at Elm Street
  • Lakelands Trail: Nine miles of asphalt paving/aggregate equestrian trail project, and two staging areas in Pinckney Township;?6 mile asphalt paving/aggregate equestrian trail project, trail head parking in Putnam Township
  • Tri-Centennial State Park: Phase III, development of the mulit-use trail corridor. (This is would extend the Riverwalk through the park and provide connection to the Dequindre Cut.)

Clinton River Trail/MTGA

Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance submitted many trail projects including two for the Clinton River Trail:

  • Construct a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Telegraph Rd. to mitigate high-traffic crossing on rail-trail
  • Construct a bike/pedestrian safety island on Orchard Lake Rd. and make trail alignment perpendicular to road to provide continuity and a safe crossing between West Bloomfield Trail and Clinton River trail

New Center Council

There are a slew of interesting projects requested for Detroit’s New Center, including the New Center Bike Lane Greenway Connector Project (along Second and Third Avenues, connecting New Center to Wayne State) and a skate/BMX park.

Other Stimulus Project Requests

There are far more requests than just MDOT’s.

In fact the state just created a special website that discusses this stimulus funding, now called Michigan’s Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

This new web site does have a list of all the requests they’ve received. Yes, there are over 17,000 requests.

That includes 167 projects from Detroit. All of Detroit’s construction-ready greenways are listed, including Conner Creek, Corktown/Mexicantown, Midtown Loop (and Canfield Connector), Southwest Detroit, and Dequindre Cut.

The entire Detroit Non-Motorized Transportation Plan implementation is on the list, which includes striping 400 miles of bike lanes. And similarly, bike lanes along Detroit’s east end of Jefferson are also listed.

A project to rebuild the City Airport hangers along Conner/Outer Drive is on the list. This is also required to make room for the Conner Creek Greenway.

Focus:HOPE has project requests, one of which calls for adding bike lanes to Oakman Boulevard in Highland Park.

The Hamtramck Trail is also on the list for Hamtramck.

Clearly not all these projects can be funded. Michigan is asking municipalities to prioritize their requests. While indications are some of these bike projects will receive funding, nothing yet is set in stone.

What other trail-related projects of interest in the list for Metro Detroit?

Economic Stimulus Updates

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Transportation Enhancements

There was concern as to whether some of the stimulus transportation money would go towards Transportation Enhancements. Enhancements grants often fund bike or trail projects in Michigan.

In the original House version of the stimulus bill, 4.5% of the highway funds went to enhancements. The Senate bill had 0%. The fear was it would remain at zero since the compromise bill was based on the Senate version.

The good news is the final bill specifies 3% for enhancements, or $825 million in total. It’s uncertain how much Michigan will receive.

Other Funding

But there’s “other possible funding sources for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure” than just transportation funds according to the Bikes Belong Coalition:

  • States will be receiving $53.6 billion in state fiscal stabilization funding. States must use 18.2% of their funding – or $9.7 billion – for public safety and government services. An eligible activity under this section is to provide funding to K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to make repairs, modernize, and renovate to meet green building standards. LEED’s green standards for schools include bicycle and pedestrian facilities and access to the school.
  • $3.1 billion is provided for the Energy Efficiency and Block Grant Program, which provides formula funding to cities, counties, and states to undertake a range of energy efficiency activities. One eligible use of funding is for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
  • And a total of $1 billion is included for a Prevention and Wellness fund at the US Department of Health and Human Services. However, specific funding for the Healthy Communities program, which provides funding to local communities to pursue community wellness activities address critical problems like obesity, was not included.

Project List

It’s also uncertain what projects this money will fund. According to the Lansing State Journal, Governor Granholm will list the potential projects in the “very near future” after President Obama signs the bill.

I-275 Bikepath Funding

Also, we had questions about both MDOT and the City of Novi having the I-275 bikepath on their economic stimulus wish list. We’re told Novi added it to show the city’s support for the project and to bring in the funding in case MDOT didn’t.

Economic Stimulus + Biking in Michigan

Friday, February 13th, 2009

The differing House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill were resolved yesterday. It’s expected that the new bill will be voted on today and signed by the President on Monday.

This final bill allocates $29 billion in transportation funding. That’s about how much the federal government allocates during a normal year. How much of that goes to Michigan and how much could be spent on non-motorized facilities is apparently unknown as of now.

We do know that the MDOT Metro Region put reconstruction of the entire I-275 bikepath on their stimulus project list. How huge would that be?

The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and other advocates have been working with the City of Detroit to get non-motorized projects in the city’s stimulus list. Dan Cherrin, Mayor Cockrel’s spokesman told the the Michigan Messenger that the city wants to see “bike paths” built with stimulus money. Bike paths could include many of Detroit’s greenway projects as well as the non-motorized plan’s 400-mile bike lane network.

There are also other local bike and trail related projects in the stimulus wish list compiled by the Michigan Municipal League:

  • Birmingham – Completion of a renovation of partially existing trail network, $2 million
  • Canton – Construction of five pedestrian bridges over the Rouge River providing interconnection of community pathway, $700,000
  • Madison Heights – Red Oaks Bikepath, $600,000
  • Novi – Improvement of I-275 non-motorized pathway from I696 to Wayne Co, $ 467,000
  • Novi – New bike path along M-5 from south of 12 Mile Rd to Pontiac Trail, $ 1,250,000
  • Rochester – Paint Creek Trail, $ 300,000
  • Royal Oak – Non-Motorized Tranportation Plan, $40,000

What’s not clear is how Novi’s two requests fit with MDOT’s for the I-275 bikepath.

We should know more about what gets funded as this process continues to lumber along.

Congratulations to MDOT’s Greg Johnson

Thursday, February 12th, 2009
Al Fields (DTE) and Greg Johnson (MDOT)

Al Fields (DTE) and Greg Johnson (MDOT)

Many years ago we often heard cyclists level complaints against MDOT for the lack of safe road accomodations in Metro Detroit. At the time, they were right, that is until Greg Johnson became head of the MDOT Metro Region.

Greg went on to create an MDOT Metro Region Non-Motorized Committee. It was at an early meeting that he mentioned the need for our road networks to let cyclists get where they need to go anywhere within the Metro Region (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and St. Clair counties.)

Perhaps the biggest change Greg made was having MDOT take back responsibility for the I-275 bike path. After languishing without maintenance for 30 years, the bike path is getting repaired section by section. Money was spent to develop a plan on how to repair it, re-open the connection to Monroe County, and properly maintain it. Money is allocated to extend it north to Pontiac Trail.

Another huge change that is a little less evident is the MDOT Metro region’s trail bridge policy. When trails needed to build bridges over MDOT roads, there was always the question of who would maintain the bridge. Local governments often lacked the resources to even handle the inspections. Greg set the region policy where MDOT took responsibility for these bridges. This certainly helped trail bridge projects like the new Macomb Orchard Trail’s over M-53 and planned bridges like the Clinton River Trail’s over Telegraph.

And we can’t forget MDOT’s committment to bike lanes on future road projects involving Michigan Avenue and Fort Street in Detroit. Greg played a big role in making those happen.

And one final positive change. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy received a $29 million earmark from Senator Carl Levin. Since earmarks require recipients to jump to additional (and often unfamiliar) hoops, Greg committed MDOT to designing and managing the construction of new Riverwalk segments.

So even though Greg is leaving the top position at MDOT’s Metro Region, he’s not leaving MDOT. He’s moving up. Greg has accepted the position of MDOT Chief Operations Officer. And while he expects to maintain his interest in many of the projects listed above, he also hopes to spread the Metro Region’s non-motorized transportation message at the higher levels in Lansing.

Best of luck to you Greg!