Posts Tagged ‘Safe Routes to School’

Youth Earn-a-bike in Detroit’s Osborn Community

Monday, August 13th, 2012

This is the fourth week for a youth earn-a-bike program in the Osborn community, more specifically at E. Outer Drive and Van Dyke Avenue. Once again, Mode Shift has covered this program quite comprehensively in this article.

Basically, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy directed a $12,500 grant to the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC) to run a youth earn-a-bike program that also did community service. This DECC program was 2 two-week sessions for kids 10-14. Thirty used bikes, parts, and tools were purchased through The Hub of Detroit. The youth learned how to repair a bike – which they kept – and did work in the community along with group rides. They also got helmets, bike locks, and bike lights.

Why Osborn? There have been earn-a-bikes in various parts of Detroit, but not in Osborn despite it having a high concentration of youth. And, the Milbank Greenway is located here along with a new segment of the Conner Creek Greenway, which is being constructed this year.

Also, this area was the focus of a series of Free Press articles on Safe Routes to School. For some, being able to bike to school might be a safer, quicker alternative to walking and the DDOT buses. A related note, The Hub of Detroit did a survey of students at the School of Performing Arts in Detroit. Not having a bike was the second most common reason for not riding to school. (Number one was the fear of bike theft and bullying.)

Part of the community service involves a pop-up bike shop where the youth and instructors will do free minor repairs on bikes. The shop be on the Milbank Greenway at Van Dyke (just north of E. Outer Drive) this Thursday, August 16th from 10am until noon.

What happens next? DECC has tools and workstands to keep this program running on Detroit’s east side. More funding would be needed for the bikes, parts, and instructors. Stay tuned.


White Lake: Sign of the times

Monday, February 20th, 2012

A Bogie Lake Road speed limit sign in White Lake Township with a complex times has caught international media attention. The Oakland Press reports that it “irks drivers.”

Carol Burkard, a White Lake Township Trustee, said she is confined to a wheelchair because of a car accident in 2003.

“I was the clerk of the township and had to have my leg amputated because somebody was not paying attention to the road,” she said.

“When I saw this ridiculous sign, I thought, the sign doesn’t make sense. It’s an endangerment.”

Yes, it’s a silly sign.

But what perhaps is more revealing, if not more disturbing, is the apparent lack of concern for local kids walking and biking safely to school.

According to the most recent Google Map aerials, there are no sidewalks along either side of Bogie Lake Road near the three schools. The north school entrance has a traffic signal with no crosswalks or walk/don’t walk signals. The east entrance has a crosswalk that does not meet ADA requirements and has no sidewalk connection to the schools or neighborhoods.

Sign from Oakland Press; Map from Google Maps

If you look at the aerials, you can see the well-worn walking paths through the grass that students take from their neighborhood to school.

So while the Road Commission for Oakland County has replaced the speed limit sign with something simpler, as far as we can tell, the kids unsafe and inconvenient walking routes remain.

Act now! House transportation bill a “total disaster” for biking, walking and trails

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

From Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:

We aren’t exaggerating when we say this ask has never been more urgent.

Please read more and take action now. We have until 4 p.m. EST today to have our thoughts heard.

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 2, the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on our nation’s next multiyear surface transportation bill.

There’s no way to spin this: From the perspective of trails, walking and bicycling, the bill is a total disaster.

Among its worst features are:

  • It eliminates dedicated funding for the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program?the nation’s largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling. (Terrible news, but we expected it.)
  • It removes the rail-trail category from TE eligibility.
  • It completely eliminates funding for the Safe Routes to School program.
  • It eliminates funding for bicycle and pedestrian coordinators at state DOTs.

But there’s still a chance…

Representatives Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) are considering the introduction of an amendment in the committee that would right many of the bill’s wrongs.

But they need to hear from other committee members that their amendment has a fighting chance.

Please: Take two minutes and ask your representatives to defend trails, walking and bicycling. We only have until 4 p.m. EST today, so any additional support you’re able to gather will make an enormous difference!

Thank you,

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Bike transportation funding: Avoiding a scare?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Despite the recent buzz about Governor Rick Snyder’s new state budget, it probably won’t greatly affect bike projects in Michigan. In Michigan, bike infrastructure funding mostly comes through the state law (called Act 51) and the federal transportation bill. It is the latter that caused more concern this week.

On Sunday night, we received the following heads-up from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:

Though we do not know details yet, we anticipate a congressional amendment that could do away with or hobble programs like Transportation Enhancements (the nation’s largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling), Recreational Trails Program and Safe Routes to School. Therefore, we are working with many other organizations to defeat such a damaging amendment.

Transportation Enhancements are perhaps the number one source of on-road and trail infrastructure funding. (The Recreation Trails Program funds trails, but in Michigan, it is focused nearly exclusively on DNR trails, including a mix of motorized and non-motorized.)

So it was welcoming news to read today that those cuts did not happen. Again, from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy:

This is a heartening development, as our programs have been fiercely targeted in the past and many worthy programs are on the chopping block. We believe these programs were spared because of the groundwork you helped to lay over the past years to foster appreciation of trail, walking and bicycling investments. Thank you so much for your strong trail and active transportation advocacy!

The TIGER, Community Development Block grant, and Americorp programs are still at risk in House. Those funds could also pay for trails and trail workers.

Meanwhile the Whitehouse has released their proposed budget with a fact sheet specific to transportation. Perhaps of most interest to cyclists is the discussion on livability and sustainability.

Helps Communities to Become More Livable and Sustainable. Fostering livable communities—places where coordinated transportation, housing, and commercial development gives people access to affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation—is a transformational policy shift.  The Administration’s reauthorization proposal adopts a multi-pronged approach to help communities achieve this goal.  For example, in the Federal Highway Administration, the Administration proposes a new livability grant program ($4.1 billion in 2012 and $28 billion over six years) for projects like multi-modal transportation hubs (where different forms of transportation converge) and streets that accommodate pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access.  The proposal also seeks to harmonize State and local planning requirements and facilitate more cooperation—and includes competitive grant funding ($200 million in 2012 and $1.2 billion over six years) to improve those entities’ ability to deliver sound, data-driven, and collaboratively-developed transportation plans.  The Budget also includes $119 billion for transit programs over six-years, more than doubling the commitment to transit in the prior reauthorization for both existing capacity and capacity expansion.  This unprecedented increase for buses, subways, and other systems of public transportation will help improve and expand travel options and help make our communities more livable.

If the Whitehouse could get this livability grant program through Congress, there is little doubt Detroit has a number of planning efforts that could take advantage of it.

Job openings: Michigan Safe Routes to School

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The Michigan Safe Routes to School web site has posted information on two new job positions at the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF): a new Safe Routes to School Program Director and a part-time Michigan Policy Network Organizer.

The latter position is the result of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership selecting Michigan to participate in the 2011 phase of the State Policy Network Project. According to the web site:

The Michigan Policy Network will work to increase physical activity among all students, leverage additional state resources for Safe Routes to School initiatives, and advocate to remove barriers to walking and bicycling to schools through policy initiatives. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently participate in this project, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.