Posts Tagged ‘Palmer Woods’

Palmer Woods tweaks road closure for bicycling

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Hats off to the Palmer Woods Association and Hamilton-Anderson for making changes to the proposed street closure at Strathcona and Woodward.

The new design still prohibits motor vehicles from entering Palmer Woods, while accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

The other road closures on Woodward and Seven Mile won’t have a major impact on area bicyclists as there are other options. That really wasn’t the case for Strathcona.

Hopefully in the near future, the Complete Streets planning for Woodward can make it more welcoming for less confidant cyclists. A two-way, physically-separated bike lane from Eight Mile to McNichols would be one possible solution.

Other improvements

The Palmer Woods Association is also making other changes in the neighborhood, including adding internal traffic diverters (with accommodations for bikes), repaired sidewalks, and improved lighting. They are one of the three areas targeted under the Detroit Works Project. The work done here can serve as models for other neighborhoods in Detroit.

Actually, this street closure is a model for other areas throughout Metro Detroit and beyond.

Road closures should have bicycle cut throughs

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

The prestigious Palmer Woods neighborhood in Detroit wants to reduce cut through traffic by closing some of their street connections with Woodward and 7 Mile Road. The Hamilton-Anderson architects designed some road closures for Strathcona, Balmoral, and Lincolnshire.

Are they worried about speeding, cut through bicyclists? Probably not, so why do their designs block bicycle travel?

It’s frustrating seeing design work that considers the existing trees, catch basins, turn around driveways for vehicles, and trash pickup, yet ignore safe bicycle travel.

All that’s needed at the three closures is a bicycle cut-through – a paved pathway that’s only wide enough for bicycles yet still maintains a connection between the two roads.

Here’s one example of a bike cut through from Seattle.

These designs aren’t just for bicyclists cutting through the neighborhood, they would also make it easier for residents to bike to nearby popular destinations like Palmer Park and Dutch Girl Donuts.

It’s unclear whether the City will fix these designs. The City was asked back in October 2009 to make these designs bike friendly along with some suggested design elements, none of which are shown in the drawings shared with City Council on Monday.

City Council has a recommended resolution before them this morning. It could be improved by added the below bolded text.

RESOLVED, that the following portion of public streets shall be closed to vehicular traffic and converted into landscaped ares with access for necessary utility service vehicles, City of Detroit, and cut-through bicycle travel:

Unfortunately there are many road closures in Metro Detroit communities that are of a similar poor design. Lathrup Village, Southfield, Royal Oak all offer examples of how not to design road closures.

Hopefully we won’t have to add Detroit to that list.

Road closures proposed in Harper Woods

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

The Free Press is reporting that Harper Woods is considering blocking some roads with the thought that it may decrease crime.

Harper Woods has several major roads and sits along I-94. City officials said blocking off some streets might make escape more difficult for those who commit crimes in the city.

It might make it more difficult to bike around the city, too.

And while it likely isn’t anyones intention to block bicycle traffic flow, that’s certainly what an improperly design road closure does.

We shared those concerns with the city manager. A full road closure, as the example photo shows, forces bicycles onto sidewalks. In some places, like Catalpa between Southfield and Lathrup Village, there are no sidewalk connections.

Here is some of our letter to the Jim Leidlein, the Harper Woods City Manager (

If you do decide to close roads, I would suggest you maintain an opening in the barrier to allow bicycles to pass through. The AASHTO bicycle facilities guidelines suggest a 10 foot opening with a single bollard to prevent motor vehicle access (attached). Having a removable bollard would also allow emergency vehicle access if needed. Also per AASHTO, it would not be appropriate routing bicycles to a sidewalk in order to get around the road closure.

You might also consider your snow removal policy. You would not want to pile snow in this barrier opening and block non-motorized travel through it.

These same suggestions have been shared with Detroit’s Traffic Engineering division for Palmer Wood’s proposed barriers.