Posts Tagged ‘Marie Donigan’

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

Thank you, State Representative Marie Donigan

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

marieState Representative Marie Donigan recently traveled to Washington DC to meet with Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation.

She went to discuss transportation funding, including transit. She also took copies of our Detroit Greenways Network brochure to share our vision for a more walkable and bikeable Detroit.

As it happened, she met with three of LaHood’s deputies who, according to Donigan, “loved the brochure and the project — having greenways and walkable communities is essential.”

Donigan is now trying to get them to Detroit for a visit in July. She hopes that visit can include a tour of the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut.

Politicians making a Positive Difference

Thursday, September 25th, 2008
Rep. Donigan discusses transit issues at the recent Green Brainstorming workshop in Royal Oak.

Rep. Donigan discusses transit issues at the recent Green Brainstorming workshop in Royal Oak.

It seems those who are most quick to negatively stereotype politicians have the least experience in working with them.  That’s not to say some politicians don’t deserve a bad rap, but many don’t.

And speaking of politicians, the 8th annual Tri-County Summit was recently at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  (Covered by the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.)  It was a great opportunity to talk trails and bikes with area politicians, including:

Oakland County Commissioner Jeff Potter

Commissioner Potter has been around for awhile and always a major trails advocate.  Prior to joining the commission, he was mayor of South Lyon, where he helped spearhead the Huron Valley Trail in Western Oakland County.  He’s continuing to push for its expansion to the southwest into Lyon Township and beyond.

Oakland County Commissioner David Coulter

Commissioner Coulter represents Ferndale, Hazel Park, and some of Royal Oak.  Coulter has been an advocate for public transit and a supporter of non-motorized transportation in Southeast Oakland County.  We recently discussed Detroit’s new non-motorized transportation plan and how that can provide connections with Ferndale’s Bicycle Network.

State Representative Marie Donigan

Representative Donigan’s district is Royal Oak and Madison Heights.  Donigan has been pushing public transit in Michigan before it was popular and before gas hit $4 a gallon.  She’s recently introduced innovative legislation to create Transit TIF‘s to finance public transportation development.  She’s also co-sponsored HB 6299 and HB 6300 which increase penalties for motorists that injure or kill cyclists.

Detroit Councilmember Sheila Cockrel

Councilmember Sheila Cockrel along with her fellow Public Health and Safety committee members JoAnn Watson and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, have been very supportive of improving biking within the City of Detroit.  Cockrel and staff have been working with the law department to craft replacement bike license ordinances, which is coming along well.  Ms. Cockrel also had The Hub build up a bike for her.