Posts Tagged ‘SWMPC’

Green Highways: You can’t drive 55

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

600px-US_12.svgHere’s an interesting article from Time Magazine about making some lessor used Michigan highways more friendly to bikes, electric vehicles, and the like. One highway being looked at is U.S. 12 which connects Detroit and Chicago before continuing on to the Pacific coast.

Kim Gallagher has a plan for America’s “blue highways,” the thousands of miles of dusty, old single-lane heritage routes that wind desolately through the countryside: turn them green. Superseded by high-speed interstates, many of these narrow byways have been long forgotten, along with the faded small towns they connect, says Gallagher, a project manager for the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission. But off-the-beaten-path America can be revived, she says, by transforming little-used roadways into “green highways” that cater specifically to electric-vehicle drivers and other slow-moving, eco-minded tourists traveling by bicycle or on foot.

This month, Gallagher and Peter Hanses, who manages 17 heritage routes for Michigan’s Department of Transportation, will attend a meeting with representatives from the communities along U.S. 12 to decide exactly that: whether to pass a resolution to make the old roadway the country’s first dedicated green corridor. U.S. 12 began as a patchwork of ancient Native American trails and became Michigan’s first paved road, stretching 212 miles from Detroit to Chicago, connecting 25 quaint towns, each about 12 miles (or, a day’s lazy horse ride) apart.

U.S. 12 is a Michigan heritage route, too.

It certainly would be great to have a long continuous designed bike route between Detroit and Chicago.