Posts Tagged ‘Oakland County’

ACTION ALERT: Oakland County Complete Streets

Monday, August 15th, 2011

As we mentioned last week, Oakland County Commissioners Dave Woodward (Royal Oak) and Craig Covey (Ferndale) were introducing a Complete Streets resolution. That resolution was passed out of committee on a 5-4 vote and now goes before the entire commission for a vote this Thursday.

The entire resolution is on Commissioner Covey’s web site, but the resolution’s actions are:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Oakland County Board of Commissioners hereby declares its support for Complete Streets and requests the Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC) adopt a Complete Streets into its strategic planning process.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Oakland County Board of Commissioners hereby requests the Road Commission of Oakland County to develop a Non-motorized Transportation Plan that will include, at a minimum, accommodations for accessibility, sidewalks, curb ramps and cuts, trails and pathways, signage, bike lanes, and shall incorporate principles of Complete Streets and maximize walkable and bikeable streets within Oakland County.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Oakland County Board of Commissioners hereby requests the Road Commission for Oakland County plan for, design, and construct all transportation improvement projects, both new and retrofit activities, to provide appropriate accommodations for bicyclists,

Oakland County residents take action

While there is some optimism this resolution will pass with all Democrats and a handful of Republicans on board. However, those R votes could disappear. We need to make sure they don’t.

We need residents to contact their commissioner and voice your support for the Complete Streets resolution before the Thursday vote. This is especially important for those with Republican commissioners.

Also, in case you missed it, the Ferndale Patch ran an article on Complete Streets last week.


Oakland County Complete Streets resolution & meeting

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

** Note that the Complete Streets meeting is Tuesday, August 9th **

Oakland County Commissioners David Woodward and Craig Covey are introducing a Complete Streets resolution tomorrow, Monday, August 8th.

From the resolution:

“…increasing active transportation (e.g. walking, bicycling, public transportation) offers the potential for improved public health, economic development, a cleaner environment, reduced transportation costs, enhanced community connections, social equity, and more livable communities. ‘Complete Streets’ can also reduce traffic congestion and reliance on foreign oil.”

No, Oakland County Government does not own, build or manage roads. That is done by the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), a completely separate county government operation for just roads.

(In Michigan, county governments by default can have health departments, cemeteries, courts, airports, parks and more – but they can’t have a road department. Roads are handled by a separate county government called a road commission. In order to consolidate these two county governments, state law needs to be changed and a county needs to become chartered — neither are easy.)

However, Oakland County government does have some pull over the RCOC. They do give them money and every two years they appoint a road commissioner.

We’ve had discussions with Commissioner Woodward over the past few years about a Complete Streets resolution, including making it a prerequisite for those county funds.

We’ve also brought up Complete Streets during the most recent road commissioner appointment process. That seemed to gain traction among the Democratic minority. It will be interesting to see whether Monday’s resolution gets votes from the Republican majority. There’s some discussion that it will.

It also is worth mentioning that we’ve been meeting with the RCOC regarding Complete Streets issues, including bike accommodations. It’s too early to say how that will play out. Current RCOC policy is to not accommodate bicycles on county roads, i.e. no bike lanes, no sharrows, no four-foot paved shoulders.

Complete Streets public meeting in Ferndale

On Tuesday, August 9th both Woodward and Covey are speaking in Ferndale about their resolution. This free meeting is at 6:30 PM at the Ferndale Public Library.

There more event information on Facebook.

Complete Streets in Oakland County

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

We just sent the following letter to Congressman Gary Peters asking his support for continued bike and pedestrian funding and HR 1780 — the federal Complete Streets bill.

The fatality numbers for Oakland County, which Peters represents a portion of, are quite compelling. There have been reductions in road fatalities among motor vehicle operators, but far less so for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For that reason, 29% of all road fatalities in Oakland County in 2010 are now pedestrians and bicyclists. This is an increase from 25% in 2009. The national average? Only 14% in 2009.

And for 2010 Oakland County’s bike and pedestrian fatality percentage is higher than Wayne and Macomb County’s.

Clearly something needs to be done to reduce bicycle and pedestrian deaths in Oakland County. Building Complete Streets needs to be a priority.

[Data sources: Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]

Here is our letter to Congressman Peters:


Oakland Township passes Complete Streets resolution

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Congratulations to Oakland Township. Just yesterday they became the second Oakland County township (after Milford) to pass a Complete Streets resolution.

The vote was unanimous.

As with Milford Township, Oakland does not own, build, nor maintain their roads. The Road Commission for Oakland County does. However, under the Complete Streets state law passed last year, “county road agency shall consult with the municipality and agree on how to address the respective complete streets policies.”

The Oakland Township Patch has additional coverage.

Complete Streets: a bitter pill for the Road Commission

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

We recently wrote about the Road Commission for Oakland County and their unwillingness to follow the national design guidelines for safe bicycling facilities.

That unwillingness is going to make  Complete Streets a bitter pill.

One doesn’t have to look too far to confirm that. Here’s the text they’ve had in the Oakland County’s Oak Routes Map.

The Road Commission for Oakland County is a member of the Oakland County Trails Advisory Council in order to accomplish two goals. First, our goal is to encourage and facilitate the movement of people throughout the county by non-motorized means as a way to promote healthier living and reducing the number of trips required on the road system. Secondly, the Road Commission wants to create the best possible nonmotorized network by contributing technical expertise to the location and design of the pathway system. This will create fewer conflicts with the motorized network and result in the safest possible trails for all users. Accomplishing both goals is in the best interest of our residents’ health, safety, and quality of life.

Yes, they refer to roads as the “motorized network.”

Yes, they are trying to gets bikes off the road.

Some of their best work is in Oakland County townships such as West Bloomfield. West Bloomfield has partnered with the Road Commission to get bikes of the roads and onto side paths, which they call safety paths.

Township officials have acknowledged to us that these paths are not safe for many bicyclists. That said, they’re still committed to building them.

One of their engineers admitted that these paths do not follow AASHTO bicycle design guidelines, but insisted it’s okay because the township only labels them as pedestrian facilities. That doesn’t explain the path’s bike routes signs or much of their safety path documentation.

Given all this, it is a major disappointment that the League of Michigan Bicyclists is giving its 2010 Community Award to the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission, for among other things, “activities that support making Michigan a better place to bicycle.”  The Commission has been a supporter of this safety path program and calls for more of them in their master plan.

Safety paths are not making Michigan a better place to bicycle.

And safety paths in nearly all cases do not make a Complete Street.