Posts Tagged ‘pedestrian bridge’

MDOT to finish Clinton River Trail bridge in Pontiac

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

According to MDOT, the new trail bridge over Telegraph should be open by mid-June:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2011

CONTACT: Rob Morosi, MDOT Office of Communications, 248-483-5127

Bridging the gap! Clinton River Trail pedestrian overpass construction begins Monday, Feb. 28, in Oakland County

February 22, 2011 — The first phase of a $2 million investment to construct a pedestrian overpass above US-24 (Telegraph Road) may begin as early as Monday, Feb. 28, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The new bridge will be constructed just north of the Orchard Lake Road overpass located at the Sylvan Lake/Pontiac border.

Due to the space limitations, lane closures will be needed on both directions of US-24 until mid-March. Weather permitting, crews will implement single and double-lane closures starting Monday, Feb.28 and lasting until Monday, March 14. Lane closures will begin on southbound US-24 and proceed to northbound US-24 during the latter part of the week.

For southbound US-24, a single lane may be closed weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. As needed, crews may close an additional southbound lane outside of those peak travel times.

For northbound US-24, a single lane may be closed weekdays from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. Two-lane closures are permitted outside of the peak afternoon time period.

In order to safely install steel beams above US-24, full closures are expected on the first two Saturdays in March. On Saturday, March 5, southbound Telegraph Road will be closed, while on Saturday, March 12, northbound US-24 will be closed. The full closures will begin at 7 a.m. and end by 3 p.m. on both days. Detours will direct traffic to Old Telegraph Road.

Pedestrians can expect to enjoy the newly constructed overpass by mid-June. This project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Gov Candidate Snyder attacks bike/ped project

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

The Michigan gubernatorial debate may not have helped too many with their voting decision this November, but it did bring out one surprise. That surprise was brought to our attention by fellow transportation nerd Transport Michigan.

Near the end of the debate, candidate Rick Snyder ripped MDOT for adding a pedestrian bridge while reconstructing the freeway interchange — arguably making this part of Geddes Road a Complete Street.

FINLEY: We all know Michigan has the worst roads in the nation. Mr. Snyder, would you support an increase in the gasoline tax to fix them?

SNYDER: I don’t support an increase in the gas tax, because we need to get efficient first. I mean, we need to look at value for money budgeting. Because if you go around our state our roads are terrible, but let’s tighten our belts, let’s be efficient and see where we can deploy these dollars to fix the roads that really need to be fixed. A classic illustration I used from the Ann Arbor area, if you went to the Michigan/Michigan State game you had to suffer over the Stadium Street bridge potentially. Two lanes are permanently closed on that bridge. I think it’s got a rating of like 2 out of 10. At the same, I live near Geddes Road and US 23. They just built a bike and pedestrian bridge across US 23 at the cost of millions of dollars. What they didn’t bother to tell us is a quarter mile south that there’s a bridge over the Huron River and there’s a bike and pedestrian path there. So let’s get efficient about where we’re deploying these dollars. There’s a much better way to do things. And that’s what we should focus on first.

Transport Michigan offers a great rebuttal.

Snyder is surely correct that inefficiencies exist in state transportation policy. But why target a much-needed bike/pedestrian bridge, when the state is spending far more colossal sums to widen roads across the state? We know from experience that expanding road capacity will only bring more congestion. Highway widening isn’t just wasteful: it ultimately worsens the problem it’s intended to fix. You’d think a candidate who favors walkable cities, and opposes the crippling spread of urban sprawl, would see the need to link Washtenaw County’s two biggest towns with bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and see the foolishness of so many other more expensive roadway projects.

We agree. If Synder has  provided a classic example of anything, it’s of someone giving an easy but impossible solution.

As Transportation Michigan aptly pointed out, the federal funding for this project could not be spent on the Stadium Boulevard bridge.

And according to Synder’s debate comments, if there’s another crossing within a quarter-mile, it’s a waste of transportation money. Is that correct?

If so, he didn’t bother to tell us there are two alternative routes for the Stadium Boulevard bridge within a quarter mile.

By his own logic, why is the Stadium bridge required at all?

What about Bernero?

We should add that candidate Virg Bernero’s response to the same question hinted that he’s done more of his homework and has a little better grip on Michigan’s transportation funding situation. He references MDOT’s inability to fully match federal funding and he understands at least some of the issues surrounding falling fuel tax revenues.

He is also the mayor of Lansing, a Bicycle Friendly Community, and his web site actually includes the word “bike” albeit once.

Virg will continue to support green transportation in our communities by making cities walkable and bikeable and increasing public transportation options.

While there was a reference to “walkable” and an undefined “green infrastructure”, we couldn’t find “bike” or it’s common permutations on the Synder web site.

Opposition to the Clinton River Trail bridge funding

Monday, October 4th, 2010

There has been a national discussion on the merits of stimulus funding. In response, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has traveled among transportation projects and noted how they’ve benefited from stimulus funding.

Locally, the Oakland Press has been covering public opposition to the Clinton River Trail bridge in Pontiac. Unfortunately the newspaper seems more interested in being a soapbox for the uninformed.

“They could have awarded that $2 million as a tax credit for a developer,” he said, maybe enticing a department store to take over the massive empty space. “That would create permanent jobs.”

No, they couldn’t. This is federal transportation dollars with very specific strings attached. To think MDOT could convert this to a tax credit for a Wallmart is asinine. It’s media stories such as this that help give life to these unrealistic opinions — not once, but twice.

(In fact in their first article, the Oakland Press incorrectly reported that there is no trail on the east side of the bridge. We spoke with an attendee at Arts, Beats, and Eats who called this the bridge to nowhere, an impression that they could have gotten from reading this initial article.)

“The trail could have gone straight along sidewalks on the south side of Orchard  Lake Road,” she said, “and (stimulus) money could have improved the aesthetics on the Orchard Lake Road corridor and people would still have had a bike trail.”

No, it couldn’t. This transportation stimulus funding was for “shovel ready” projects. Neither of those mentioned were even planned. Besides, it would be against best practices and the national design guidelines to put cyclists on a sidewalk because it’s unsafe.

“Why didn’t stimulus money go toward cutting dead trees?”

Apparently the dead tree cutting lobby in DC just ain’t what it used to be. They didn’t bring home the bacon.

Dear Oakland Press,  If you want to publish articles about whether economic stimulus funding is philosophically good or bad, that’s fine. But, don’t hold the Clinton River Trail bridge hostage by publishing unworkable, unrealistic, if not impossible alternatives without letting your readers know why these aren’t alternatives at all. The true alternative to the bridge is for MDOT to have spent this money on a non-motorized transportation somewhere else.

Is it really about race?

There was significant opposition to the Clinton River Trail in Sylvan Lake when it was first proposed.

From what we saw first hand, that opposition was largely based on race.  Sylvan Lake had closed roads and created barriers between itself and their pre-dominantly black Pontiac neighbors to the east. The trail threatened to create a non-motorized path that would connect those two communities.

At one Sylvan Lake city council meeting a resident said “those people” would use the trail to break into their garage and steal their snowblower.

A Pontiac resident smartly responded by asking the question: Why would anyone walk more than a mile, take your snowblower, then push it another mile back? Why wouldn’t they just drive?

And now that the Clinton River Trail bridge is being built — the final connection between these two communities — we can’t help but wonder if this race issue is at least partially to blame to fueling this discussion.

Of course, we’re not counting on the local media to look into it.

New Bagley pedestrian bridge reconnects Mexicantown

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Yesterday, Cinco de Mayo, the new Bagley pedestrian bridge over I-75 in Detroit was officially opened. Mexicantown has been divided by I-75 for over 40 years and this biking and walking bridge helps close some of that gap.

And it does it with style as the below photos show.

Here are some details from the Detroit News:

The 407-foot-long bridge is the first cable-stayed pedestrian bridge in Michigan and varies in width from 10 feet on the western approach to 31 feet on the eastern approach.

The bridge also connects to plazas at both ends. It is adorned with 335 lights and surrounded by 900 trees, plants and shrubs.

The Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge?cost $5 million to build and is part of the $230 million Gateway Project, which provides a direct connection from I-75 and I-96 to the Ambassador Bridge.

Clinton River Trail bridge ready for construction

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

The Oakland Press has an article on the new pedestrian/bike bridge over Telegraph Road just north of Orchard Lake. This is a critical missing piece of the Clinton River Trail and will be very welcomed as there are no safe alternatives given the area’s poor road designs.

Bids were expected Thursday on the project with construction starting in late May and early June.

The bridge should be completed by Nov. 15, according to officials.

Mayor Leon Jukowski said the bridge would provide a safe place for people to enjoy the natural beauty of the parks and river trail.

“It’s a great opportunity for the city and it will connect us with our neighboring communities,” he said.

This project is being paid for through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) also know as the stimulus funding.