Posts Tagged ‘metromode’

Spring is here: Detroit biking in the media

Friday, March 26th, 2010

W. Vernor improvements to target pedestrian safety, add bike lanes

Model D has published follow up to the open house we mentioned earlier in Southwest Detroit.

Concepts shared at the Open House include the installation of bike lanes on W. Vernor between Waterman and Lansing, which would mean narrowing the road down in some areas to one lane of vehicular traffic; redoing the street surface and water and sewage lines on the stretch of W. Vernor that passes under the viaduct just east the W. Vernor/Dix/Waterman intersection, as well as the installation of new sidewalks and lighting; the incorporation of a left-turn lane on eastbound W. Vernor at Livernois to prevent illegal and unsafe turns; and improving lane configuration at the W. Vernor/Dix/Waterman intersection to prevent lane jockeying.

Plans will be submitted for approval to the Michigan Department of Transportation this month in the hope that construction can begin this year.

All total this will be about two miles of bike lanes (1 mile westbound, 1 mile eastbound.) Plans also call for lighting underneath the viaduct.

Sounds like a Complete Street to us!

Sharing Woodward Avenue

Metromode has an article on returning Woodward Avenue to a Complete Street.

That means making the thoroughfare friendly to all forms of transportation, like pedestrians, bicyclists, trains and automobiles. It also means building density and economic opportunity along Michigan’s Main Street. The belief is that by making Woodward less car-dominant it can grow into one of Metro Detroit’s primary economic engines.

“The time has come,” says Heather Carmona, executive director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association, a non-profit that advocates for the avenue. “The irony is decades ago Woodward was a transportation-inclusive corridor, but it lost that with the rise of the automotive industry. However, it’s coming back full circle.”

Detroit Has to Demolish Before it Can Rebuild

ABC News has a story on Mayor Bing’s efforts to rebuild and reinvent Detroit.

Demographer Kurt Metzger envisions small urban villages connected by parks and bike paths.

“We could become the greenest city in the country because of the land that we have if we start to manage it correctly,” he said.

We share that vision as do many others. While the Mayor in his recent state of the city address did not specifically say bike paths and greenways, he did mention “parks and green space” twice:

Strengthening our city will take a long-term strategy for how we use Detroit’s 140 square miles more productively. The harsh reality is that some areas are no longer viable neighborhoods with the population loss and financial situation our city faces. But instead of looking at our land as a liability, we need to begin to think creatively about how it can be a resource as we rebuild our city. That conversation is in its initial stages but let me take a moment to dispel some myths out there.

We’re not giving away or selling any neighborhoods to anyone. This is about determining what areas of our city are best suited for residential use, commercial and industrial businesses, parks and green space.

When I imagine Detroit’s future, I see a city with vibrant neighborhoods, with retail and grocery stores, a city that’s home to thriving small businesses, better mass transit and community parks and green space. But it will take all of us to make that happen and it’s a process that will not happen overnight.

And he also mentioned Detroit’s Safe Routes to School effort.

Guest Blogging at Metromode

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Since yesterday I’ve been guest blogging Metromode. The topics are non-motorized transportation in Metro Detroit.

The first two posts are now live and there are three more to go.

That bio photo is from a little-known Detroit trail called the Milbank. It connects Conner to Van Dyke between Eight Mile and E. Outer Drive. This trail is included in the October 3rd Conner Creek bike tour by Wheelhouse Detroit. The tour also includes a lunch stop at the nearby Two-Way Inn in the old village of Norris/Nortown.

Yes, the Inn is haunted.

Bicycle parking and racks updates

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

bike parking around the New Center in DetroitBike parking has been a hot topic of late.

In Ann Arbor and Hamtramck

Both cities’ efforts to promote bicycling were mentioned in this recent metromode article, Cheap Ways To Revitalize Your Downtown. And both cities are looking to improve bicycle parking — a hot topic this past couple weeks within the city of Detroit.

In Detroit

We recently mentioned a rekindled bike parking discussion with the Detroit Tigers that was initiated last year by Wheelhouse Detroit.

There’s also been discussion at various meetings that not only recognized the importance of improved, safe, and convenient bike parking, but included some steps we can take.

It’s been noted that bike parking within parking structures could be a very good option. And they’re shelted too. The city owns 11 structures. We probably need to not only add bike racks but produce signage so bicyclists can find them.

And rather than buy racks, why not solicit local designs and local builders to create them as is done in Buffalo, New York? Let’s keep the money local and create green jobs.

We’re also looking to pull together some recommendations on bike racks, including designs and location. Many cities have such recommendations, so Detroit’s will likely take the best of those.

Reduced Motor Vehicle Parking Requirements

And, Detroit’s city planning commission is revising motor vehicle parking zoning requirements and may include language for bike parking. ?We’ve suggested that businesses along bike routes might be required to have fewer vehicle parking spaces. And perhaps space requirements could be reduced for any business so long as they provide bike parking. (By the way, providing bike parking is easy points for LEED certification too.)

A Washington Post article, Don’t Build Parking, And They’ll Come–Without Cars, while primarily addressing transit and walking, certainly applies to cycling as well.

Free or nearly free parking induces car usage, the planners say… Don’t build the parking, and residents will be more likely to buy into a transit- and walking-based urban life.

In New York City

The New York City recently took steps to help improve bike parking within some buildings. They also have a great design guide, which we’ve previously mentioned which includes specifications for bicycle racks. And finally, kudos to NYC for this map showing nearly all of their CityRacks.

Share the Road: Biking in Detroit

Friday, January 9th, 2009
John R with four one-way vehicle lanes and negligible traffic -- an urban cyclist dream street.

John R with four one-way vehicle lanes and negligible traffic -- an urban cyclist dream street.

Metromode has a great article covering biking in Detroit, but more specifically those whose bike in the winter.

The Cass Corridor is cold, snowy and largely deserted outside of The Hub in Midtown Detroit this time of year. That’s not the case inside the new bike shop just north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Bicycling enthusiasts of all ages, colors and creeds rub tires inside a space littered with custom wheels and vintage bikes.

There is a constant stream of people coming and going from the shop in the dead of January, and they all got there on two wheels. Cold or no cold, these year-round commuters brave the freezing temperature, ice and snow to keep on pedaling. The destinations for these die-hards are their jobs, local businesses, friends and families.

“The winter time weeds out all of the wussies,” says Jordan Bentley, the mechanic manager at The Hub.

In the article, Alex Aranda makes a point that we make often: the City of Detroit has some of the best urban biking in the U.S.

We don’t have a many bike lanes (yet) but that’s not always a necessity for many of us.

We have roads like Second Avenue, Third Avenue, and John R with four lanes traveling in one direction and very few cars.  How few? In 2005, John R saw 1,405 vehicles per day at Owen.  That’s an average of less than 1 car per minute on a four lane one-way road.  And we’re driving less now.

Austin, Texas is a designated bike friendly community.  Last year I was there trying to follow some prescribed bike routes using their excellent bike map.  There was no shortage of motorized traffic.  It was not the most pleasant ride.  The repeating thought in my head was I’d rather be riding through Detroit.

And, Detroit’s streets are so lightly traveled that an alleycat was purposely held last year when three major events were happening downtown.  The hope was we’d have enough traffic on the roads to make the alleycat a little more New York-ish.  Even then, it just wasn’t that crowded on the roads.

Certainly the lack of motor traffic is indicative of Detroit’s depressed economic landscape and overbuilt road infrastruture.  The silver lining is it’s great for Detroit cyclists.

Two Wheel Revolution

Friday, February 8th, 2008

From metromode:

bike lanesGeysering fuel prices and the clamor for sustainable lifestyles and cityscapes bode well for bicycle commuters, with Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer leading the pack. As head of the bi-partisan Congressional Bike Caucus, a group promoting public investment in bike transportation, Blumenauer’s regular coasts to the office and the White House are Washington, D.C. legend.

Cities from Portland, Oregon to Boulder, Colorado are threaded with cycling networks.

So will the Motor City region (with three Congressional Bike Caucus members) shrug off its shroud of automobile exhaust and feel the oxy rush from the two-wheel revolution?

Complete Article