Posts Tagged ‘Maheras Gentry Park’

A cycling perspective on Detroit’s EFM

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Detroit EFMOn Friday, Governor Rick Snyder announced his plans to install an Emergency Finance Manager or EFM in the city of Detroit.

There are many varied opinions on this, but we’ll just look at it from a cycling and trails perspective just as we did with the earlier consent agreement.

The Mayor’s office and City Council have been very supportive of making the city more bike friendly and more walkable. There’s not another city in Metro Detroit that’s doing more. So from a high-level perspective, an EFM reduces their influence and could potentially derail some of this positive momentum.

Will that happen? Probably not.

The EFM will likely focus on general funding issues. Most of the bike and trail work is funded through grants, philanthropy, and the city’s road fund, which comes from the state and federal government. General funds are not used to build bike lanes or trails. The state and federal road funds cannot be spent on anything but transportation according to Michigan’s Constitution.

However, general funds are used to maintain city parks, through which some trails pass. Those park services were severely cut after the failed Belle Isle lease proposal. The park closure most directly affecting trails is Maheras-Gentry. The Conner Creek Greenway would remain open, but the park entrance maybe closed to motor vehicles.

According to the Detroit Free Press, public transit, lighting, and public safety are more likely to be affected. Certainly these all affect bicycling and walking as well. Deeper cuts to public transit could force more people to seek alternative travel options, like biking. And, Detroit surveys say that adequate lighting and public safety are key requirements for residents to walk and bike more, especially at night.

One area of concern is will key city employees seek other employment during this tumultuous time. Traffic Engineering recently lost two designers to other opportunities. At least one will be able to be rehired. But again, Traffic Engineering doesn’t rely on the general fund. Filling other vacant staff positions under an EFM might not be challenging.

There is one EFM rumor that we know is false. Detroit’s EFM will probably not be the young cyclist with training wheels shown on the Governor’s EFM brochure.

What are your thoughts?

Ribbon cut on new section of Conner Creek Greenway

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Another section of the Conner Creek Greenway was opened yesterday in Detroit on¬†Arbor Day — a holiday for tree planting created by a J. Sterling Morton, a Michigan Wolverine from¬†Monroe, Michigan.

The event at Maheras Gentry Park began with a parade, music, and a long line of kids from the Detroit Merit Charter Academy. The kids were dressed in frog costumes they had made earlier. The frog theme was a nod to the parks historic condition as marshland. It was an amazing site to see.

Following the parade, remarks were made by those who helped make this greenway possible (i.e. the funders): Karla Hall of the DTE Energy Foundation, Tony Kratofil of MDOT, and Tom Woiwode from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

During his remarks, Kratofil announced MDOT’s commitment to funding the next portion of the Conner Creek Greenway. That portion is along Conner Avenue from McNichols to Eight Mile. That project includes a new section of sidewalks, bike lanes, bike routes, and some landscape improvements.

Wayne County Commissioners Tim Killeen and Bernard Parker also presented a resolution from the commission as well.

The new sections of greenway had been mostly completed late last year. That included bike lanes from Jefferson to Maheras Gentry Park along Clairpointe and a shared-use path from the park entrance to the existing paths near the river. The bike lanes on St. Jean built earlier last year were also part of the opening celebration.

Crain’s Detroit Business and Model D has media coverage prior to the event, while TV20 News has post-event coverage.

Conner Creek Greenway: new bike lanes and path

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Below are some photos taken this week of the new Conner Creek Greenway segment from Jefferson Avenue to the Detroit River at Mahera Gentry Park.

This 1.3 mile segment includes four different types of bicycle facilities! We have photos of each type.

Photo 1: Starting at Jefferson and heading south, there is a short stretch of shared, signed-roadway. It is signed as such.

Photo 2: The bike lanes begin.

Photo 3: Bayview Yacht Club needed occasional special events parking along Clairpointe about four times a year. There wasn’t enough roadway width for bike lanes and dedicated parking, so only the latter was constructed. However, since there are very rarely any cars parked here, it becomes a wide de facto bike lane. The road is signed as a bike route, too. This is a clever win-win solution that’s been used successfully in Chicago.

Photo 4: This is where approximately 2,000 (?) feet of shared-use path winds through Maheras Gentry Park and ends along the Detroit River.