Posts Tagged ‘League of American Bicyclists’

Draft Senate transportation bill: Bad news for biking

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The federal transportation bill is a major source of funding for biking projects in Michigan. As the bill has evolved over time, it’s become more supportive of biking projects.

That positive forward momentum maybe over with the latest draft bill called MAP-21.

Stay tuned for what steps we can take to push back on this.

From the League of American Bicyclists web site

Late last week, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works released their draft of the surface transportation authorization bill, the law that will determine transportation programs and funding. The?America Bikes Coalition?has reviewed the?600 page document?and issued the following statement:

The America Bikes coalition ? representing the nation?s leading bicycling and walking groups ? today expressed their appreciation for the continued inclusion of funding opportunities for biking and walking in MAP‐21.

America Bikes remains deeply concerned, however, that bicycling and walking programs suffer disproportionate cuts in funding in the new bill, and that significant additional activities are made eligible for these limited funds. We remain committed to working with the EPW Committee and full Senate to resolve these issues, especially in the light of the Senate?s continued, strong bi‐partisan support for bicycle and pedestrian funding as shown in several recent votes on the Senate floor.

The process of honoring the public?s strong support for these programs begins immediately with amendments that have been introduced already by Senate supporters of dedicated funding for non‐motorized transportation.

Specific concerns include:

1. The current dedicated funding programs for bicycling and walking are combined into one program, with significantly less funding;

2. An expanded list of eligible activities are added to this smaller funding pot, including such big‐ticket items as NEPA compliance and land acquisition for wetland mitigation; and

3. The proposed bill effectively allows states to completely opt out of the program and would allow all this money to be redirected to highway construction.

The America Bikes coalition calls on the leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to restore dedicated funding for bicycling and walking in MAP‐21 and remove the opt‐out provision that would encourage States to eliminate funding for these two modes altogether.

Detroit Bike Shorts for June 7th

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Here are various bike-related updates from around the state and Metro Detroit area —

Model D Speaker Series: Urban Mobility

If you missed this event, don’t worry. Jason Rzucidlo has a nice writeup with photos.

Of course, Model D also covered the event.

Marja Winters, deputy director of the city’s Planning and Development department, said non-motorized transit options are an essential component to the mayor’s Detroit Works Project. Credit the growing movement across the country to urban areas, often for the diversity of options a city affords. “The quality of place is becoming the number one determining factor,” she said. “And ranking high in the decision-making process is the notion of alternative forms of transit.”

We probably would not have heard similar quotes from Detroit’s planning department just a few years ago. This really signals the great deal of progress and increased awareness that has happened during that time.

Bicycle Friendly State rankings

Michigan continues to drop in the state rankings developed by the League of American Bicyclists. The Mitten state is now ranked 22nd and was given a “D”.

This 10 spot drop since 2008 is likely attributable to new ranking criteria and the lack of progress in key areas — progress that other states have made. Michigan received an “F” score in the categories of Infrastructure, Evaluation & Planning, and Enforcement.

Ride challenge for MDOT Director

With the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood biking to work yesterday, we suggested MDOT’s Director Kirk Steudle could do the same via Twitter.

@michigandot OK Director Steudle. You’re next and please post pics

MDOT responded with “I forwarded your tweet to Dir. Steudle to let him know. Thanks! ”

GM’s Akerson calls for fuel tax increase

The unwillingness in Washington DC and Lansing to increase fuel taxes has helped led to a transportation funding crisis. (Yeah, sprawl and the lack of regional planning in Metro Detroit are factors as well.)

Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated for a fuel tax increase. Now, so to has GM’s CEO Dan Akerson according to this Detroit News article.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

“You know what I’d rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said.

“People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

An increased fuel tax can also encourage more people to bike, walk, and use public transit, while providing improved funding.

I-275 Metro Trail

There was a reopening ceremony for a portion of the I-275 bike path on Saturday. We weren’t there, but the Detroit Free Press was. The I-275 path will continue to be expanded northward as the southern portion is rebuilt and reopened. You can stray up to date with the progress by visiting the Friends of the I-275 Pathway on Facebook.

Michigan Airlines Rail-Trail

The Spinal Column is reporting that the Surface Transportation Board has denied a quick abandonment for the rail corridor that many hope will soon become a trail.

STB board members denied Michigan Air-Line Railway’s petition because it didn’t “provide the Board with sufficient evidence regarding the revenues and costs associated with the line, thereby making it impossible to determine what burden, if any, (Michigan Air-Line) Railway incurs in continuing to operate the line.”

Nevertheless, Michigan Air-Line Railway still hopes to get the STB’s approval to abandon the railroad, therefore allowing the trail project to move forward.

“We’re still moving forward with the grant applications,” said Commerce Township Planner Kathleen Jackson. “The NRTF board doesn’t make the grant decision until December, and (Michigan Air-Line Railway) hopes to have an answer by then.”

We do hope this gets resolved prior to the Natural Resource Trust Fund grant decision is made in December. This is the third attempt at getting this grant which will help pay for most of the property.

Two more Bicycle Friendly Business awards in Detroit

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Via the Hub of Detroit

The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized the Wheelhouse Detroit and OminCorpDetroit for being Bicycle Friendly Businesses. Both were given Bronze awards and join the Hub of Detroit, who received a Gold award last year.

Detroit now has three recognized Bicycle Friendly Businesses of the seven in Michigan. Nationally, Detroit is now tied with cities like Austin and Boulder, but notably behind the leading cities like Portland and Minneapolis.

Businesses in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park that are interested in knowing more about this program can contact the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA). MTGA can provide training and assist with the application.

Having recognized Bicycle Friendly Businesses also helps cities earn Bicycle Friendly Communities awards. Applying for such as award was discussed at the last Detroit Non-motorized External Task Force meeting. The city is interested in applying once some additional bicycle infrastructure projects are completed.

Assistance for Bicycle Friendly Community and Business applicants

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

From the League of Michigan Bicyclists:

The League of Michigan Bicyclists and the Michigan Fitness Foundation announced today that they will host a statewide conference call to assist businesses and communities to learn about the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Business Program. The call is free to any interested individual or organization and will be held on Tuesday, June 29th from 12:30PM to 1:30PM. To RSVP and receive call-in information, please email

The Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program recognizes employers’ efforts to encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers. The program honors innovative bike-friendly efforts and provides technical assistance and information to help companies and organizations become even better for bicyclists. This new initiative complements the League’s Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) program, which has been recognizing cities and towns for their bicycle friendliness since 2003.

The conference call will feature a presentation from Alison Dewey, a Washington, DC-based Program Specialist with the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program. Alison will outline the programs and offer guidance on completing the application process. Joining Alison will be three Michigan-based advocates with previous experience working on BFB and BFC applications: John Lindenmayer, Associate Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists; Rory Neuner, LMB Board Member; and Sarah Panken, the Active Communities Coordinator at the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

As of Spring 2010, six Michigan communities have received designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Silver or Bronze level, and three Michigan communities have received an Honorable Mention. Three Michigan businesses, including the League of Michigan Bicyclists, have been designated as Bicycle Friendly Businesses.

Michigan and Metro Detroit slip in rankings

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Bicycle Friendly State

The League of American Bicyclists have released their 2010 rankings of U.S. states based on their bicycle friendliness.

Michigan dropped one slot to 16th. This slip appears due to other states passing legislation which gives them additional points.

Here is Michigan’s rankings within the six categories:

  • 37th – Legislation
  • 12th – Policies and Programs
  • 5th – Infrastructure
  • 4th – Education
  • 38th – Evaluation
  • 27th – Enforcement

America’s Fittest Cities

American College of Sports Medicine has released their 2010 American Fitness Index report.

Washington D.C. is the top Metro area for the third year in a row.

The nation’s capital is also a well-endowed city when it comes to community recreation centers, ball fields and other places to exercise. Washington has the second-highest rate of people walking or biking to work, aided by 60 miles of bike lanes. [Ed. emphasis ours]

On the other hand, just because there are a lot of parks and bike lanes being built doesn’t mean that everyone uses them. And by giving points simply for having infrastructure, the index might favor wealthier cities or those with bigger governments. “It’s a fair point,” says Brenda Chamness, who gathers the data for the index. Chamness points out that research has found that fitness levels rise along with the building of new facilities. “If individuals do not have access to safe, convenient and affordable places to exercise, they would be less likely to exercise.”

Where’s Metro Detroit? We’re near the bottom, 47th out of 50. Metro Detroit was 44th in 2009 and 41st in 2008. The trend is apparent.