Posts Tagged ‘Royal Oak’

Draft Royal Oak non-motorized plan now on-line

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

A draft of the Royal Oak Non-Motorized Transportation Plan is now on-line and available for review according to city planner Doug Hedges.

The plan is being presented to Royal Oak’s Planning Commission on Tuesday, September 13th, at 7:30 p.m. That meeting is open to the public and anyone interested is welcome to attend and offer their comments or viewpoints regarding the plan.

Here’s a link to download copies of the plan

Let us know if you have any questions, otherwise we look forward to seeing most of you on the 13th.

Planning Commission meetings are held in the council chambers on the third floor of the Royal Oak City Hall at 211 Williams Street.

Royal Oak non-motorized plan update

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Royal Oak’s non-motorized plan is nearing completion and will be presented to the City Planning Commission at their September 13th meeting at City Hall (211 S. Williams Street, third floor). The meeting begins at 7:30pm and it would be a great to see cyclists in the audience showing (if not speaking) their support.

The Planning Department expects to have the draft plan on the city web site early next month. This will give the public the opportunity to review it prior to the meeting.

You will be able to submit comments via email as well.

More talk of Complete Streets around Metro Detroit

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

It’s easy getting caught up in the excitement of Complete Street resolutions, but from what we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t mean much — at least not yet.

What is the likelihood that so many Metro Detroit communities have suddenly discovered their poor road designs and are committed to fixing them? What are the odds that communities which have virtually ignored bicycles as a transportation mode are now ready to embrace them?

There’s just not that much “power” in the standard Complete Streets PowerPoint presentation which has been making its way around local councils and commissions.

And from some examples we’ve seen, communities are jumping on the Complete Streets bandwagon because others are doing it and there’s a promise of more MDOT transportation funding. Who is going to hold them accountable if they don’t follow through with actually building Complete Streets?

That said, the below Complete Street information is a mixed bag. It might result in better conditions for bicycle transportation or it might not. The truth is in the road construction (and maintenance.)

Complete Streets in Birmingham

The city of Birmingham passed a Complete Streets resolution. They have members of their staff and planning commission with significant experience in non-motorized transportation and planning. For example, the planning commission has Scott Clein, an engineer with Giffels-Webster who developed non-motorized plans for Corktown/Mexicantown, New Center, and the entire city of Detroit.

We have a good of level confidence that they’ll be able to make Birmingham more bike friendly in the near future.

Complete Streets in Northville

The city of Northville also passed a Complete Streets resolution but we’re much less confident they’re heading in the best direction by having their staff develop a non-motorized plan. There are only a handful of planning firms in Michigan qualified to produced a quality plan for biking and walking. To think that city staff could pull it off sounds either overly optimistic or they are underestimating the work required. The latter is why most cities hire consultants do develop their recreation plans and master plans.

It’s also been our experience that city staff do not engage the community in the planning process as well as consultants.

And these are some reasons why the city of Royal Oak hired the Active Transportation Alliance (ATA) to create their plan. The ATA has developed over 20 non-motorized plans including Chicago’s. Planners such as ATA and others have the experience. Is Northville going to invest in training their planner(s) on how develop a solid plan?

Plan update in Royal Oak

Speaking of Royal Oak, the Observer and Eccentric recently published this article which gives an update on the plan.

The consultant, Active Transportation Alliance, submitted a rough draft of the plan to the planning department in May, according to Ethan Spotts, marketing and communications director for the Chicago nonprofit company.

Regan looks forward to having the topic as an agenda item for a future Planning Commission meeting. He said roads with bike lanes, like the re-designed Hilton Road, south of I-696 in Ferndale, are sorely needed in Royal Oak. He said encouraging more bike and pedestrian traffic would also free up more parking spaces for vehicles in downtown parking garages, especially with the recent opening of Emagine Theatre and Star Lanes. He said pedestrian friendly designs also means more federal funding for road projects.

We have not seen the plan, but are looking forward to it.

Incomplete Streets in Lathrup Village?

Only a couple pages from a draft Complete Streets plan in Lathrup Village?by Birchler Arroyo appear to be on-line. They show a couple street cross sections, neither of which are Complete Streets. They clearly lack bicycle accommodations.

Their example “principal arterial – village” cross section is a 156 foot (76 feet between the curbs) public right-of-way with speeds of 35 MPH or less yet no bike lanes. The plan also says that these streets are “generally used for vehicular travel; automobile parking, and sometimes bicycling as appropriate.” This sounds like the same streets that exist today.

We brought this up to Birchler Arroyo Associates who is developing this plan. They invited us to see the entire plan, but they never responded when we asked them how. We have not seen this plan on their web site nor Lathrup Village’s.

North Carolina Complete Streets

And while on the topic of Complete Streets, North Carolina’s Department of Transportation has this excellent design guideline framework. They have interesting information on how Complete Streets are designed for various contexts, e.g. suburban, urban, etc.

We’d appreciate seeing something similar produced by Michigan’s Complete Streets Advisory Committee.

It might be helpful in ensuring that Complete Street designs in Michigan are truly Complete Streets.

Detroit Bike to Work Day is May 20th

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Two Detroit Synergy Bike to Work group rides are planned for the morning of Friday, May 20th, 2011. Both end at Campus Martius in Downtown Detroit.

  • Woodward Ave – Starts in Royal Oak with stops in Ferndale and Midtown
  • East Jefferson Ave – Starts in Grosse Pointe with stops on the East Side and at Rivertown

Showers and Locker facilities will be available at the Boll Family YMCA at (1400 Broadway).

More details, including the routes and scheduling are available on the Detroit Synergy web site.

Can’t ride? Volunteers are needed!

Special thank to the sponsors who make this event possible: Miller-Canfield, American Cycle and Fitness, Giffels-Webster Engineers, Wheelhouse Detroit, and Armadillo Printwear.

Sidewalks, bicycles, and… unicycles

Friday, April 15th, 2011

The Colbert Report has clever coverage of the unicycle issue in New York City (below).

Here in Michigan, state law allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk though we don’t recommend it for most cyclists, most of the time.

However, Michigan law also allows cities to prohibit them if they chose to. This has led to a lack of consistency. For example, it’s legal to ride on most Detroit sidewalks but not on any Royal Oak sidewalks.

Sometimes cities prohibit bicyclists only on sidewalks within their central business district or other specific areas.  As seen in the photo, the city of Detroit has this “Cycling” prohibition on Auditorium Drive’s sidewalk, but only for those heading uphill towards Jefferson. We did not see a similar sign for those cycling down the not-so-steep grade (and towards the fire hydrant located in the middle of the sidewalk.)

Also, the city of Detroit bans bicycles (and unicycles!) from Hart Plaza:

Sec. 40-4-7. – Wheeled vehicles prohibited.

No wheelbarrow, handcart, automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, motordriven cycle, go-cart, unicycle, moped, solex cycle or other wheeled vehicles are permitted in Hart Plaza except as approved by the civic center department or recreation department for a scheduled event. This section shall not apply to a handicapped person in a wheelchair nor to emergency or service vehicles.

Yes! Even solex cycles are banned!

Prohibitions must be posted

Michigan state law does require communities to post signs indicating any bans on sidewalk riding. Without the signs, the law is not enforceable.

So what about unicycles in Michigan? Like most other states, they are not considered bicycles under state law. (Note that some cities have their own definitions of bicycle.)

257.4 “Bicycle” defined.“Bicycle” means a device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having either 2 or 3 wheels in a tandem or tricycle arrangement, all of which are over 14 inches in diameter.

So it’s a gray area for unicycles with the exception of Hart Plaza. If you are the “Enemy from within”, use your best judgement.