Posts Tagged ‘Macomb County’

Snyder Team responds to comments on bike bridge

Monday, November 1st, 2010

We submitted comments on gubernatorial candidate Rick Synder’s web site regarding his comments on the US23 pedestrian bridge.

We noted that the true inefficiencies in Michigan transportation lie in the structure. There are 50-some communities in Oakland County alone that receive road funding. There is significant room for consolidation.

We also noted that there are 81 county road commissions which are separate from county government, many if not all of which are not beholden to the public.

This is the response we received:

Thank you for your inquiry.  I would like to clarify that Rick does not oppose bike trails.  He is a big supporter of bikeable and walkable cities.  What Rick said during the debate is that we need to prioritize funds better.  Despite the fact that he is supportive of building new bike bridges, he thinks that it is a higher priority to reinforce dangerously crumbling bridges that thousands of people drive over every day.

The point you make about non accountable agencies is an interesting one.  I am not intimately familiar with how Rick’s ideas for transportation reform but I can tell you that he is committed to bringing greater efficiency and common sense to MDOT and transportation in Michigan as a whole.

Please continue to follow Rick’s campaign and let us know if we can be of any assistance to you.


The Reinvent Michigan Team

There’s a clear need to educate candidates such as Rick Snyder and others on the efficiency benefits of consolidation within Michigan’s transportation funding environment.

One first step would be to make it easier for counties to have their own road agencies and eliminate their county road commissions. This consolidation would eliminate duplicate administration and make them accountable to elected officials. It would also bring together county planning with road planning, which could result in significant savings through proper land use planning.

However, under current state law this consolidation is prohibited for all but two counties — Wayne and Macomb. State law also requires counties to become charter counties first, something that takes significant time and money.

And when Macomb County adopted a charter a year ago, 64% of their voters also chose to dissolve their road commission.

We should make it easier for voters in the other 81 Michigan counties to consolidate and save taxpayer money.

To Metro Detroit Counties: Bike lanes are inevitable

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

While giving public comment to the Road Commission for Oakland County about building bike lanes, one Road Commissioner kept his head cocked with a look of confusion that said, “Why are you here?”

The comments that the Road Commission wasn’t following best practices for bicycle design and that there were no excuses fell on deaf ears. There was no response.

Bike lanes are an easily dismissed request among the Metro Detroit’s three main counties. At one time all three county road agencies had unwritten policies against providing bike lanes.

But that has to change eventually. The cities of Detroit, Ferndale, and others are setting the example locally while the federal government is providing reinforcement from above.

And just last month Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood celebrated the opening of bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

It was hot, sizzling hot, and summertime-in-DC humid. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I’m talking about yesterday’s dedication festivities to inaugurate Washington, DC’s newest bicycle lanes. And these are not just any bike lanes. These lanes run right down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue–America’s Main Street–from the White House to the U.S. Capitol.

For too long, walking and biking have been overlooked as important forms of transportation. Now we see local governments answering that call by creating new opportunities for people to take advantage of streetcars, transit, walking, and bike lanes. They’re taking the needs of pedestrians and cyclists into account like never before.

Building bike lanes on county roads is inevitable. When will the Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties stop resisting and start building them?

When will Secretary LaHood celebrate bike lanes opening on county roads in Metro Detroit?

MDOT Transportation Enhancements

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

First the good news. MDOT recently made the following Transportation Enhancement (TE) awards that should improve bicycling in Metro Detroit.

From MDOT’s press release:

Macomb County

The city of Utica will construct a nonmotorized bridge over the Clinton River to provide accessibility and connectivity to the city of Utica’s portion of the bike trail that will connect the Huron Clinton Metroparks at Metro Beach and Stoney Creek. The project is part of the Macomb County Bike/Hike Master Plan and will allow bicyclists to connect to the Macomb Orchard Trail as well as the Clinton River Trail in Oakland County. The project cost is $452,525, including $303,192 in federal TE funds and $149,333 in matching funds from the city.

Macomb, Oakland, Wayne counties

SMART, in coordination with its community partners, will purchase and install bike racks at several locations in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The intent is to provide communities with secure bike racks at locations away from bus routes for the convenience of SMART riders who also ride bikes. The project cost is $20,016, including $16,013 in federal TE funds and $4,003 in matching funds from SMART.

Clawson is also getting bike racks installed along 14 Mile Road. Unfortunately they only seem willing to make mild improvements to walkability and even milder ones for bike-ability. Their conceptual plans for their Main Street road diet included bike lanes. Their final plans and implementation did not.

MDOT Five-year plan

MDOT recently released their five-year spending plan. With reduced revenue from people driving less, Michigan cannot provide the full 20% match for federal transportation funding.

This does affect the Transportation Enhancements program. Normally MDOT would provide $12 million in match for TE projects on their roads. That may be reduced to $1 million per year, which means MDOT will undertake fewer TE projects like paved shoulders, bike lanes, and streetscaping on MDOT state trunklines.

However, it also means that local governments will received more TE funding since they provide the match and not MDOT.

It’s also worth highlight this language within MDOT’s plan. This provides useful quote for cycling advocates in Michigan.

Pedestrian and bicycle transportation are on the rise due to increased fuel costs. Injury and fatality statistics are humbling reminders of the importance to design and build safe facilities for multiple modes of transportation and of the importance of education and enforcement.

It may be surprising to some that in Michigan, one pedestrian is injured every three hours and 59 minutes and one bicyclist is injured every five hours and 13 minutes.

In addition, in 2006, 17.9 percent of the 1,002 traffic fatalities in Michigan were bicyclists or pedestrians, whereas nationally, 11.6 percent of the 42,642 traffic fatalities were bicyclists or pedestrians. A reduced [Transportation Enhancements] program would severely jeopardize MDOT’s ability to provide safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

This does raise one question.

If 17.9% of road fatalities are non-motorized users, why did the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning only allocate 0.36% for non-motorized safety under the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program in 2009?

How do you define “safe”?

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

The following was posted during a discussion on living car-free in Detroit on (emphasis ours):

Ahh, the myth that the metro area is all Detroit. I live in a very nice suburb that is quiet and safe. The only reason I feel the need to leave here is just so I can depend less upon a motorized vehicle and more upon my own power. The car culture here is strong and the roads are just not safe for riding everywhere I would like to be able to go.

So which is it? The suburb is safe but the roads are not safe?

From a cyclist perspective, if the roads aren’t safe, your community isn’t safe. Cycling advocates shouldn’t let local governments view safety only from behind a windshield.

But surely suburbs do have lower reported crime rates compared with Detroit. Then again, having a motor vehicle on their horn and passing unsafely is?assault with a deadly weapon, though it’s rarely reported.

It does seem Detroit’s streets are safer for cycling — a conclusion supported by the average yearly bicycle crashes per 100K residents from 2004 through 2009.

Detroit 16.5
St. Clair County 18.9
Oakland County 19.4
Wayne County (without Detroit) 25.0
Macomb County 26.1

Also, Detroit has the lowest bicycle crash rate despite having a highest bike to work rate.

And as for living car-free, it would be tough to beat Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

Where to take m-bike in 2010?

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

This web site has been a labor of love for some time now, but perhaps more lately. It’s been a challenge publishing so much information.

But, the results have been very encouraging. According to Google, our web visits have increased by 105% this year over last. We’ve been getting some of our articles picked up in the local and national blogosphere.

What are your thoughts on making this site better or more effective?

This site was originally created to fill a void in Southeast Michigan in terms of bicycle advocacy — a void that unfortunately remains after our unsuccessful attempt to improve our local bike advocacy.

And with the exception of a handful of local communities, Southeast Michigan has become less bicycle friendly through the years — unless you’re lucky enough to be on a trail. Bicycling has received lip service and maps, but not much in terms of leadership and funding that could make some real changes on the ground. A lot of people, including cyclists seem quite satisfied with the status quo.

Vehicle mobility continues to trump the safety of all roads users. As a result, best practices and AASHTO guidelines for safe bicycling facilities are routinely ignored.

The bright spots for bicycling progress in the Tri-county region are Detroit, Troy, Royal Oak and Novi. The latter three have or are about to begin non-motorized transportation planning with qualified planners. Of course Ferndale has been a leader in the past as well. Is this enough of a critical mass to get other communities and the county to do the same? What will be the implementation timeline?

And 2010 should see Detroit emerge as the clear non-motorized transportation leader within the three counties. But, for the time being, Oakland and Macomb have a firm grip as the two worst counties for bicycling in Michigan and we don’t see that changing.