Posts Tagged ‘John Dingell’

Welcome to the RiverWalk, Secretary LaHood

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Both Michigan Senators flank the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on the Detroit RiverWalkToday did not go as planned. At 11am I read about the Secretary of Transportation being on the Detroit RiverWalk. At 11:50pm I was walking into the ceremony wearing a suit and looking like I’d actually been invited.

Secretary Ray LaHood was in Detroit to tour the new Detroit Terminal Port and highlight the $7 million in stimulus funding that helped make it possible.

Also with the Secretary was Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman John Dingell, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle.

Before the tour, I had a chance to speak with both senators. They are both very in tuned with Detroit greenway projects, including the RiverWalk, Dequindre Cut, and Corktown/Mexicantown Greenlink. Senator Levin has helped bring significant funding to the Detroit RiverWalk.

When speaking with Senator Levin, I mentioned the fact that U.S. bicyclists cannot get across to Windsor and their excellent greenways without taking a car over the bridge or through the tunnel. Having this new Detroit port with customs and water taxi service would provide an excellent means for bicyclists crossing between our two countries. He apparently grasped the value in this as I overheard him repeating this to Secretary LaHood. He also highlighted it during his interview with ClickOnDetroit.

Senator Carl Levin said the new terminal will include a customs office, which will help increase traffic between Detroit and Windsor for water taxis, ferry boats and even bicycles.

“They can’t now come across. There’s no way to do it, so there may be a ferry service they are talking about to just literally bring people back and forth with their bicycles,” Levin said.

While I only had a brief moment to speak with Secretary LaHood, it was enough to give an elevator statement on our efforts in building a network of greenways across Detroit.

I also had a chance to talk with Curtis Hertel, the executive director of the Wayne County Port Authority who will be running the terminal. He too is interested in further discussions on how the Port can accommodate bicyclists crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

Still wearing my hat as Detroit Greenways Coordinator for MTGA, I made sure the Senators’ and Secretary’s staff got copies of the Detroit Greenways Network Brochure.

State Representative Marie Donigan and member of the House Transportation Committee was also there. She spoke with LaHood about improving transit in Detroit.

Will the RiverWalk be completed on this stretch next year? Probably not. There will still be a couple temporary connectors. Money to complete those is being sought. Also note that when ships are unloading passengers, the main RiverWalk will close. However, there is an alternate section that will pass around the Terminal building so that pedestrians, cyclists, runners, and skaters can pass.

Link: Photos from the Detroit Terminal Port tour

Link: Secretary LaHood’s “FastLane” blog on his Detroit visit