Posts Tagged ‘Tienken Road’

Tienken Road plans ignore cyclist safety

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

The Road Commission for Oakland County and the city of Rochester Hills are hosting a public meeting tomorrow night to discuss their Tienken Road improvement plans. It would be great to see some cyclists attend and provide comments.

Wednesday, July 21st, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Rochester Hills City Hall Auditorium

As m-bike readers know, the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) has a long history of ignoring the safety of bicyclists. They’ve continued that streak by failing to provide bike lanes in their Tienken Road plans.

We submitted comments to the RCOC a year ago regarding bike lanes on Tienken and provided justification. Those comments were never responded to and altogether ignored based on the latest Tienken Road Environmental Assessment which recommends three vehicular travel lanes and sidewalks.

No bikes lanes. No wide curb lanes. Not a Complete Street.

Our preferred option should be three 11-foot lanes with two five-foot bike lanes (or wider, buffered bike lanes.) That would be a Complete Street and support Safe routes to School.

Why 11-foot lanes? Studies show there is no safety advantage for having 12-foot lanes and they induce speeding.

Former Rochester Hills City Councilman Scot Beaton has gone even further with his suggestions and developed an alternative cross section that includes bike lanes. He’s left his comments at the end of this Oakland Press article.

We must also mention that the RCOC plans failed to include any discussion of bicycling safety despite the nearby parks, trails, and schools. Three has been three bicycling-vehicle crashes in this road corridor since 2006 — all three occurred on safety paths. RCOC’s response? Build more safety paths.

City of Rochester Hills guilty too

Just as the RCOC ignores AASHTO guidelines for bicycle facilities and best design practices, so too does the city of Rochester Hills — which helps explain why it is one of the least safe places to ride a bike in Oakland County based on crash data. Their “safety path” network does not meet AASHTO guidelines. In fact, John LaPlante, a primary author of the guidelines called the term “safety path” an oxymoron. LaPlante said the guidelines were clear that “safety paths” (or the correct term, sidepaths) are rarely an appropriate bicycle facility.

According to the Oakland Press, “Mayor Bryan Barnett said he’s happy with the outcome.”

It’s frustrating that cities like Rochester Hills and others (e.g. Oakland Township, Orion Township, West Bloomfield Township) refuse to follow the national design guidelines. It’s really up to cyclists to turn this around. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted on off-road bicycle facilities that would be much less expensive and safer on the road.

Friends of Tienken Road

And finally, it seems the Friends of Tienken Road are no fans of safe cycling or Complete Streets either. This is the group that fought against widening Tienken to five lanes.

We sent them emails with the regards to bike lane proposal, but they never responded. This is despite that fact that we helped them with their community outreach, paid for their web domain name, developed their web site, and provided free web hosting.

It seems their priority is in limiting the RCOC’s plan to three lanes of motor vehicle travel, rather than bicyclist safety (or responding to emails.)

Unable to attend?

According to the Free Press, “Those unable to attend the meeting may send concerns about the proposal in writing to the Road Commission for Oakland County, Permits and Environmental Concerns Department, 2420 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford 48328.”

It’s time for Bikes Lanes on Tienken

Monday, January 19th, 2009

rcoc-logoThe Road Commission for Oakland County is widening another road.  This time it’s Tienken between Livernois and Sheldon Roads.

If ever a county road needed bike lanes, this would be it. It would connect Livernois, the Paint Creek Trail, Stony Creek High School, and Sheldon Road (a main access point for the Stony Creek Metropark.)

We need cyclists to give their input to the Road Commission.

A public meeting is planned for January 21st from 4pm until 7pm in the auditorium at Rochester Hills City Hall, 1000 Rochester Hills Drive (south of Avon Road between Livernois and Old Perch roads).

According to the Road Commission, “Public input will help shape the ultimate project design.”

If you are unable to attend the meeting on the 21st, please submit your comments to:

The Road Commission for Oakland County
31001 Lahser Road
Beverly Hills, MI 48025
Phone: 877-858-4804

If you can attend the meeting, the Road Commission will likely provide their normal technical brush offs.  Here are what you can expect:

Brush off: The Road Commission has a policy of not accomodating bikes on the road.

Answer: The Road Commission mission is “to provide the public with leadership in safe and convenient road.”  Bike lanes are the safest place a cyclist can bike.

Brush off: The Road Commission will build a safety path for bicycles.

Answer: Safety paths are wide sidewalks and are not safe nor satisfactory solutions for for bicyclists according to MDOT and AASHTO.

Brush off: On-road facilities aren’t safe.

Answer: Studies find that bike lanes are the safest place to ride a bike.  Wide sidewalks are the least safe.

Brush off: The Road Commission doesn’t have the money.

Answer: Ask them, “is there no money to make this road safe for cyclists?  Is there money to make this road safe for motorists?”  There is grant funding for non-motorized facilities. No less than one-percent of the Road Commission’s state road funding must be spent on non-motorized facilities such as bike lanes.