Posts Tagged ‘MTGA’

Adventure Cycling: Detroit and the Underground Railroad

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The Adventure Cycling blog talks about a recent visit to Detroit to discuss a new Underground Railroad bicycle route. This route will be a spur off their existing Underground Railroad route. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is assisting in this effort.

Now, at the urging of the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program (and with support from Adventure Cycling members), we’re pleased to say we’ll be expanding the Underground Railroad Route once more — to south eastern Michigan (including Detroit) and south western Ontario (including the Buxton Historic Site).

There is an intense amount of passion in Detroit for this history. I witnessed a small sampling during my visit. The Michigan Freedom Trails Commission and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will play an important role in helping us incorporate the best sites and history into this route, and cycling advocates will help us ensure the route stays true to the Adventure Cycling standards of scenic and safe roads and trails.

Though there’s a lot of work to be done to get this route from concept to map, I am honored, once again, to be working with dedicated people on something that will bring economic and active transportation opportunities to a city once known as the Paris of the Midwest.

Read the entire Adventure Cycling article

Detroit Meeting to discuss Underground Railroad

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Underground Railroad memorial on the Detroit RiverWalk near Hart PlazaCelebrate Detroit’s Underground Railroad history with the Adventure Cycling Association, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission.

Learn about Adventure Cycling’s Underground Railroad Route, updates on greenways and trails in the Detroit hub, and the Freedom Trail Commission’s efforts to designate the Detroit River as an International Heritage Site. Join us as we celebrate Detroit’s cultural heritage!

Bring friends, family, and fellow cyclists.

Historic Second Baptist Church
441 Monroe Street, Detroit

October 29, 2009  5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Please RSVP by October 23rd to Beth Petersen: 800.755.2453 x 211 or bpetersen@adventurecycling.org.

Note that the current Underground Railroad bicycle route doesn’t go through Michigan. We are looking at adding a spur from Ohio to Detroit to Windsor and beyond. This certainly makes it all the more important that we have a way for cyclists to safely and conveniently cross the Detroit River.

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

Two Trail Conferences for October

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The 2009 Oakland County Trail Summit: By Land, By Water is scheduled for October 8th at the Proud Lake State Recreation Area near Milford.

The details and agenda are on the registration page. Note that this event is limited to 150 registrants.

Later in the month (October 25th through the 28th) is the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference in Kalamazoo.

There is less than two weeks left to get the early registration price.

Here are some additional conference details from Nancy Krupiarz, executive director for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance:

The 4th Mid American Trails & Greenways creates an excellent opportunity for all those involved in trails and greenways to share our experiences learn from each other and continue connecting our trails and greenways.

Sponsored by eight Mid America states of Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky, and supported by a host of national, state, regional and local trail agencies and organizations, the conference will feature interactive educational sessions and exciting mobile workshops bringing together the best presenters from Mid America and the nation. An update on the state of trails and greenways in Mid America will be followed by informative sessions that will look at all aspects of trail and greenway development and operations.

An exhibit area with more than forty exhibitors displaying their products and services will be a part of this event!

In my job at MTGA, I’ll be presenting on our trail and greenway efforts in Detroit.

After the conference, we’re looking at meeting in Detroit to discuss a new Adventure Cycling bike route we are developing. It will be a spur off of their existing Underground Railroad route and will extend from Ohio, through Detroit, into Windsor, and over to Toronto. We’ll also be discussing the U.S. Bicycle Route System and how it might be routed through Detroit.

Ontario Bicycle Summits

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This month there are two bicycle summits in nearby Ontario.

The first is the Ontario Bicycle Summit which runs from September 20th through the 21st. The location is Waterloo, which is about 3.5 hours from Detroit via car.

Although there are not many details yet on the planned workshops, they do have an impressive list of speakers, including Congressman James Oberstar and Researcher Todd Littman.

  • Oberstar plans to discuss the latest updates on the U.S. federal transportation bill he’s been crafting for months (which is currently stalled.)
  • Littman is the founder of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, which has a wealth of excellent research on bicycling in both their TDM Encyclopedia and documents page.

The other event is the 2009 Ontario Mountain Bike Summit hosted by IMBA Canada. This event runs from September 25th through the 27th. The location is Kitchener, which is right next door to Waterloo.

Topics will include the creation of a provincial leadership body, bike parks and sustainable trails, youth outreach, and growing local capacity for the 40+ clubs and patrols in IMBA’s Ontario network. In addition to informative seminars and networking, the gathering will feature great parties and plenty of riding.

Of course, don’t forget the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the end of October. For more information, visit the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance web site.