Posts Tagged ‘Midtown’

Detroit TIGER III grant: a multi-modal enhancement plan

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

The city of Detroit’s TIGER III $25.7 grant request is a work in progress, but this agenda item for an upcoming city council meeting is revealing:

Submitting reso. autho. to endorse TIGER III Grant Application to USDOT for approximately $25.7 million in funding for the Link Detroit! Multi-Modal Enhancement Plan. (Public Works Department intends to submit an application for funding to construct a series of multi-modal infrastructure improvements to create a fully functional transportation system through the Midtown area to Eastern Market continuing on to the Detroit Riverwalk and into the heart of Downtown, collectively called Link Detroit! Multimodal Enhancement Plan.)

So just what are those multi-modal infrastructure improvements?

There are basically five which all tie together:

  • Streetscape improvements in Eastern Market
  • Construction of a Dequindre Cut extension from Gratiot to Mack with a formal entrance in to Eastern Market. As mentioned earlier, this will be a rail with trail non-motorized pathway.
  • Replacement of bridges over this new section of the Cut
  • Bike lane, path, and sidewalk connections from the Dequindre Cut extension to Hamtramck
  • A Midtown Loop connector between Eastern Market and Midtown

As you can see, getting funding to complete these projects would provide major walk and bike connections to Eastern Market, the RiverWalk, Midtown, and Hamtramck. It would be absolutely huge.

TIGER III grants are due at the end of this month and it is quite competitive. $547 million will be granted.

Keep your hands up for Detroit — and your fingers crossed.

More on Hot Spokes: Detroit’s bike-based food delivery

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Pure Detroit has a real interesting interview with Shayne O’Keefe and his bike-based food delivery service called Hot Spokes.

We had mentioned this back in January but the interview provides the back story to the operation.

PD: When did cycling become a major element in your life?
O’Keefe: I got into bikes pretty recently. I’d always liked bikes, but I was just at this place in my life where I wasn’t doing anything really constructive…  I had heard about Back Alley Bikes in 2007, which is a volunteer program. You can go in there and do work trades in exchange to learn how to work on bikes. So, I started going there and I loved it. I met all of these strange, exciting people. They weren’t people that looked like they would be in my peer group. It was really great. I eventually earned a bike. I went and picked out this busted old ten speed and started learning how to work on it. It took me months to build it … but it definitely awakened something in me. My friends were all super jealous, wondering where I was and what I was doing.

And it looks like our old article is out of date. Hot Spokes now delivers from Shangri La which  has replaced the now closed Salad CreationsCass Cafe and Union Street still round out the options.

The interview does make the case that living in Detroit can be inexpensive, especially without a car. That’s certainly attracting artists, but also enabling some bike-based entrepreneurs like Hot Spokes and Mr. Bow Tie.

And we learned about Malcolm Carey and his Mr. Bow Tie business from a MetroTimes article by Detroitblogger John.

You can’t miss him because he shouts at passing traffic through a megaphone. Or he dances on the grass, whirling a sign in his hands, volunteering his skills. Sometimes he blurs by on his bicycle, pulling a wagon festooned with two banners advertising his work.

He’s offering a single service — cleaning dirty headlights. Nothing else. Regardless of how the rest of the car looks.

There are more photos of Mr. Bow Tie in action on detroitblog.

Thanks to Wheelhouse Detroit for sharing that Pure Detroit link on Facebook and giving us something to write about.

Detroit’s urban biking: Attracting young professionals

Monday, March 7th, 2011

It’s often a challenge for the city of Detroit to compete with its suburbs in terms of schools, taxes, and city services. But there’s one feature most of the suburbs — especially the exurbs — can’t compete with Detroit: walkability and bikeability.

And this is critical as Gen Yers are less in love with cars and McMansions. They are shunning car dependence and showing a preference for more dense urban areas. And place matters.

So it’s not a surprise that Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is picking up on this.

Attracting young professionals to Detroit is a key piece to revitalizing the city and improving the economy, Mayor Dave Bing said Friday during his annual address to the business community.

Even as the city continues to lose residents, Bing said, young people are moving in and bringing creative ideas, fresh energy and investments with them.

That’s why Bing said he plans to make Midtown, a popular spot for young professionals and artists, an important component of his ambitious plan to reshape the city by creating denser neighborhoods with better services.

But Midtown has something most areas don’t — colleges, art galleries, bike paths, theaters, condos, boutiques and an eclectic assortment of bars and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other.

Okay, the bike paths aren’t in Midtown yet, but some are under construction and many more are planned.

While Bing appears to get it, we’re not sure other Metro communities do. But they should.

Theater of the Absurd

And if they don’t, they need to read this email from Andrew Basile, Jr., a patent attorney with Young Basile. It’s a must read.

If you don’t have the time, here are some highlights (emphasis ours).

We’d like to stay in Michigan, but we have a problem… Our problem is access to talent…  Most qualified candidates live out of state and simply will not move here, even though they are willing to relocate to other cities. Our recruiters are very blunt.  They say it is almost impossible to recruit to Michigan without paying big premiums above competitive salaries on the coasts.

Having moved here from California five years ago, I will testify that Metro Detroit is a very hard place to live.  Ask any former Detroiter in California, and you will hear a consistent recital of the flaws that make Metro Detroit so unattractive.  Things are spread too far apart.  You have to drive everywhere.  There’s no mass transit.  There are no viable cities.  Lots of it is really ugly, especially the mile after mile of sterile and often dingy suburban strip shopping and utility wires that line our dilapidated roads (note above). There’s no nearby open space for most people  (living in Birmingham, it’s 45 minutes in traffic to places like Proud Lake or Kensington).  It’s impossible to get around by bike without taking your life in your hands. Most people lead sedentary lifestyles. There’s a grating “car culture” that is really off-putting to many people from outside of Michigan.  I heard these same complaints when I left 25 years ago.  In a quarter century, things have only gotten considerably worse.

It truly is a great letter that shows how this area for the most part is not investing in place, nor walkability or bikability. And not doing a good job attracting young professionals, much less retaining those that are already here.

But if the Mayor has his way, Midtown will be an exception.

Colin Hubbell Ride this Saturday, June 19th

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The 2nd Annual Colin Hubbell Memorial Bike Ride takes place this Saturday, June 19th. It starts at 10 AM at Traffic Jam on Canfield at Second Avenue in Detroit’s Midtown area.

Ride organizer Brian Hubbell notes, “It’s a leisurely jaunt (about 13 miles) through Midtown, Wayne, Woodbridge, Riverfront (a Wheelhouse stop), Dequindre Cut, and then back through the Market and Med Center. Food and beverages (Yes, beer!) afterwards at the Traffic Jam.”

This is a fundraiser which in the past has benefited the Hub of Detroit and paid for new bike racks in Midtown.

There are additional details on the Detroit Midtown web site and you can register for the event on-line as well.

Hendrickson Video has an inspirational video about Colin and his huge contribution to Detroit’s reinvention.

There are also a couple photos of Colin (wearing a “Got Love” T-shirt) at a July 2004 Detroit Synergy coffee talk that discussed the future of biking in Detroit.

Bike articles in the Metro Detroit media

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Below are some snippets from recent bike-related articles around the Metro area.

Dequindre Cut extension opens Thursday

From Crain’s Detroit Business:

Local and state dignitaries plan to officially open the Dequindre Cut extension Thursday.

The trail connects the first section of the Dequindre Cut Greenway from Woodbridge Street south to Atwater Street near the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor and the Detroit RiverWalk, creating a continuous pedestrian and bike path from the river for about a mile into the city, nearly all the way to Eastern Market.

Green Alley breaks ground

From The Detroit News:

Detroit is now a few weeks away from having its first “green alley” — an eco-friendly patch of urban infrastructure behind the two Midtown businesses that spearheaded the project.

On Tuesday, a backhoe started tearing up the concrete, which will be recycled. Last week, the city government finished relining the late 19th-century sewer line with fiberglass-reinforced poly resin. Next week begins the preparation for permeable concrete, historic brick pavers and indigenous plants that will create a better-functioning alley with a pedestrian-bicycling pathway.

Bike route to link Marine City with Ludington

From The Times Herald out of Port Huron:

A new attraction is in the works for the Blue Water Area to bring in tourists — bicycle tourists, that is.

U.S. Bike Route 20 is in the development phase, but cyclists someday might be able to use a route from Marine City to Ludington — if all goes well.

On a national scale, the goal for U.S. Bicycle Route 20 is to connect the Bluewater Ferry in Marine City with the Oregon Coast, several cycling Web sites indicate.