Posts Tagged ‘Royal Oak’

Southeast Oakland County bike summit

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

A bike summit is planned for this Wednesday, December 12th at 7 PM in the Royal Oak Public Library (222 E. 11 Mile Road.)

The purpose it to provide updates on efforts to improve biking in Southeast Oakland County, primarily Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Huntington Woods, Madison Heights and Royal Oak. There will also be an update on a new bike route map some of us have been working on. The Road Commission for Oakland County will also share their recent Complete Streets report.

The Detroit Free Press has this article describing the summit as well as this interesting story from Huntington Woods.

In 2010, Berkley and Huntington Woods residents who live on 11 Mile Road rejected what could’ve been a bike-friendly narrowing of 11 Mile during repaving from Woodward to Coolidge.

“We thought it would improve everyone’s property value along there, to have one lane (of traffic) each way instead of two, but the residents didn’t want it,” Huntington Woods City Manager Alex Allie said.

A road diet on 11 Mile would have had no affect on vehicle congestion. Some people just don’t want improved property values, less speeding, reduced noise, safer streets and a more walkable, bikeable community. The ebike used for our journey was the new Wayfarer Mountain eBike from Wisper – to view full specifications click here for more.

This raises the question of why do we let those who live along a public road limit how safe it will be? Isn’t safety more important than the opinions of some residents?

Apparently not yet in some parts of Southeast Oakland County.

Gran Fondo

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) will also be at the summit to discuss their Complete Streets planning effort and proposed race/ride on Woodward.

The ride and race event is called the Gran Fondo, and while the WA3 boards, MDOT and others support it, Royal Oak’s city manager has come out strongly opposing it. The police chief opposed the ride because motorists speed on Woodward, will get road rage, and senior church goers will be confused.

Modeshift has excellent coverage of the recent Gran Fondo discussion before the Royal Oak City Commission.

Royal Oak’s bicycle ban

While the Royal Oak Commission did not vote on the Gran Fondo, they did move towards banning bicycle riding on downtown sidewalks. What the Commission failed to discuss is why cyclists ride on the sidewalk to begin with. Mayor Jim Ellison was quite certain it was only because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to.

Apparenty Royal Oak Commissioners don’t ride bicycle much downtown. If they did they’d know that the city’s streets are not comfortable to ride for a majority of bicyclists. They feel safer on the sidewalks. If they made any investments to make more bike friendly streets in the downtown, it would draw cyclists off the sidewalks.

Instead the City is proposing they invest in signs banning bicycles. We estimate it will take about 40 signs or roughly $6,000 to properly sign the downtown per state law requirements.

And contrary to what was said at the recent Royal Oak Commission, without these signs, the city’s ban on bicycle riding is not enforceable.

One thought we’ll share at the summit is these Southeast Oakland County communities are relatively more progressive than many of the other neighboring communities, but they’re much less progressive compared with the city of Detroit. For as much attention Detroit gets for having a “broken government” they are consistently more supportive and committed when it comes to being bike friendly.

Public hearing on Royal Oak non-motorized plan

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Forget your Valentine. It’s time to speak up for improved biking in Royal Oak this Tuesday.

From the Royal Oak Planning Department:

The Planning Commission will be conducting a formal public hearing on the revised Non-Motorized Transportation Plan as an amendment to the city’s Master Plan on Tuesday, February 14, 2012. The public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 211 Williams Street, Royal Oak, Michigan 48068.

Any individual or group interested in the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan is invited to present their view at the public hearing. For those unable to attend, written comments regarding the plan can be mailed to the City of Royal Oak Planning Department, P.O. Box 64, Royal Oak, MI 48068-0064. Comments may also be faxed to (248) 246-3005 or e-mailed to

Link: Royal Oak Non-motorized Transportation Plan

We think this is a very good plan and cyclists should support it.

We do plan on making some suggestions on Tuesday.

  • Adding bike lanes on Main Street from Catalpa south to I-696, including a road diet through the central business district.
  • Reducing the number of signed bike routes, especially those that are short, disconnected, and redundant.

If you cannot attend on Tuesday, please consider sending a email expressing your support to Doug Hedges in the Planning Department.

There has been some concerns about road diets on some of the busier roads. Keep in mind that this plan doesn’t give Engineering carte blanche to make those changes without further study. Traffic studies and perhaps even traffic modeling may be used prior to making changes in order to avoid creating problems.

The Daily Tribune has an article on this planning effort.

If you would love to see friendlier roads for motor-less modes of transportation, you best make your way to City Hall on Tuesday.

Don’t worry. Your Valentine will understand.

Grassroots Southeast Oakland County bike route mapping

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

From Tom Regan of Royal Oak:

If you cycle frequently you have probably mapped out some safe and quick ways to get from here to there (say, from Royal Oak to Berkely, or from Clawson to Ferndale). Now it is time to share your knowledge.

We are collecting safe biking routes into one large regional biking map. With help from the Oakland County mapping department we will collate the data and publish this map sometime in the spring of 2012.

Residents of Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, and Royal Oak are invited and encouraged to attend. If you live in another city and would like to join please call or email me directly and we will add you in.

Join us:

Come by any time between 7pm and 8:30pm to share your map ideas.This event is a joint project of the Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board and environmental advisory boards in Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, and Pleasant Ridge. Thank you also to the Oakland County mapping department for their kind offer to collate our mapping data.Please spread the word any way you can.
Tom Regan
3126 Glenview
Royal Oak, MI 48073
home: 248-435-0147
cell: 248-797-1075

goCRUISERgo: Locally-made stretched cruiser bikes

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

This bike caught our eye on Twitter. It’s a custom-stretched cruiser made in Royal Oak by goCRUISERgo.

It’s name? The Purple Chameleon, perhaps inspired by the Dequindre Cut graffiti.

The company doesn’t seem to have a web site, but they are on Facebook where they list their products:

Custom Stretch Cruisers to include but not limited to…

Base Models
Built-to-Order (you pick it, we’ll do it)
Frames (build your own)
Side Cars (coming soon… )
Other options and accessories, please inquire.

Sidecars? Sweet.

As for the Chameleon, it’s for sale at a reasonable $375.

Royal Oak non-motorized plan updates

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The Draft Royal Oak Non-motorized Plan was forwarded by the Planning Commission to the City Commission on September 13th. On Monday the City Commission will decide whether to approve the plan for distribution to adjacent communities, MDOT, SEMCOG, and others. After a 63-day comment period, the Planning Commission can hold a formal public hearing and decide whether to adopt the plan. The City Commission may assert their right to approve or reject the plan.

Confused yet?

The city staff did send a letter to the Commission which provides an overview and these concerns expressed by the Engineering department.

The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan includes recommendations for both road diets with bike lanes and shared-lane markings on various streets throughout the city. Questions arose after we received the plan regarding proposed road diets for Twelve Mile Road, Thirteen Mile Road, Fourteen Mile Road, Crooks Road, and Main Street. The Engineering Department indicated that road diets would not be suitable on these roads due to their traffic volumes and would therefore not support them. The Active Transportation Alliance disagrees and feels road diets would be suitable for these streets. As a compromise, the plan states that if traffic volumes preclude a full road diet on any of these streets, then shared-lane markings could be installed as an alternative.

The traffic volumes do support some of engineering’s concerns. However, Crooks Road and Main Street look very different throughout their length. Crooks Road north of 13 Mile might not be suitable for a road diet, whereas it might south of 13 Mile. Main Street through the central business district is ripe for a road diet, as are the portions north of 12 Mile into Clawson — where it has already been road dieted successfully.

During the past couple weeks, there have been at least a few news stories about the plan, the latter of which made the front page.

Royal Oak City Commission Candidates

League of Women Voters recently held a forum for Royal Oak Commission candidates. One question for the candidates was, “What is your opinion of the non-motorized plan?”

The Royal Oak Patch covered the event and has their responses to this question. All of the candidates voiced their support for the non-motorized plan, though some were quick to offer caveats as well.

Here’s what we think of the responses:

  • Kyle DuBuc: We think this was among the best responses, and as mentioned before, he supports Complete Streets.
  • Mike Fournier: We’re not clear what he means by doing it “the right way” and “benchmark, benchmark, benchmark.” Who’s made their community more bike friendly and walkable the wrong way?
  • George Gomez: Another good response, and he’s right. Bike friendliness and walkability are already in the master plan.
  • Peggy Godwin: She’s a “huge proponent” but with an eye toward being fiscally realistic. That makes sense.
  • Rick Karlowski: This seems to be the least supportive answer of the group. Road diets are not “extremely expensive” nor do they “shut down major thouroughfares.”
  • Bill Shaw: Somewhere among the nostalgia is a brief note of support.
  • Scott Warheit: We agree. This plan is merely a great start and we need to continue community engagement.

Have you read the plan? What are your thoughts?