Posts Tagged ‘Tom Woiwode’

Making connections with Detroit Greenways

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The Heritage Newspaper’s Press and Guide had a recent article on greenways in Metro Detroit.

It’s a good article with a focus more on the Dearborn, Detroit, and Downriver areas.

Still, we’re a little unclear about some statements.

Detroit is leading the way in the endeavor, and currently has more greenways than any other city in the country, quite a change for a city that built its reputation on the automobile. In Detroit’s favor, it is a city with many, many miles of unused railways, which advocates hope will eventually be converted totally to greenways.

We’re not sure the city of Detroit has more greenways than any other city, but it could very well be among the leaders from an investment perspective.

And this is a great quote from Tom Woiwode of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

“Ultimately, the goal of the GreenWays Initiative is to connect all the communities in southeast Michigan and to link the system with projects outside the region,” said Woiwode. “In the meantime, watching as greenways are embraced by a region known for the automobile continues to be a pleasure.”

The article does end on a flat note.

“Every day, we are a little closer to being able to travel the whole tri-county area without ever setting foot on a road.”

That’s neither true nor realistic — and not even desirable. Many of the planned greenways in Detroit are partially, if not 100% on the road.

Riding on roads is not a bad thing to be avoided. What we need to avoid is building roads that don’t safely accommodate bicyclists. We need Complete Streets.

Chances are we’re not building a greenway to your front door. Or your school. Or your work. We just need to fix the roads between your starting and ending points.

Detroit Bike Shorts: June 18th, 2010

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Detroit Pedicabs

The Michigan Citizen has an excellent story on some of the pedicabs or rickshaws operating in the city of Detroit. Pedicabs weren’t allowed in Detroit until some entrepreneurs worked with city council to change the ordinances.

After 12 years of traveling with the military, Walker brought back a new perspective on entrepreneurial opportunities. The one he settled on has increased the level of charm throughout Detroit while addressing some complex issues with transportation and the environment. This old method of transportation seems forward-thinking in today’s increasing emphasis on alternative sources of energy.

“This is one of those rare opportunities to start a business right out of the box,” [Terry L.] Walker says. “But ultimately, it adds to the quality of life.”

Detroit Greenways

The Time Magazine blog recently gave coverage to the growing trails and greenways scene in the city of Detroit — something we’ve been bugging them about for a long time. It also gives much deserved mention to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the group that really kicked off the greenway movement in this area.

Recently, I met with the Tom Woiwode, director of the GreenWays Initiative for the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. We took a tour of this project, which is connecting the city, Mexicantown, Corktown and part of Dearborn’s Salina business district. It is one of the first projects these groups have ever worked on together. And, chances are, it won’t be the last.

“It’s always been about the community,” Woiwode emphasized. “You start connecting these groups, and you’ll connect the community.”

And on a related note, an upcoming Detroit City Council agenda includes a resolution to apply for a half-million dollar grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. That grant is “to acquire the Right-of-Way (ROW) needed for the construction of Dequindre Cut, Phase II Project.” Yes, that’s the Dequindre Cut extension from Gratiot to Mack Avenue. One doesn’t apply for such grants until you have a willing seller, so this is positive news.

Detroit’s “Big Bikes”

Detroit makes stuff, so it’s no surprise we have some nice big bikes. Really nice.

We’d previously written about the Dog Sled a couple years ago. That quadricycle has since been transported to Burning Man.

The creator of the Dog Sled now has a new ride — the BigDog — and it will be at the Maker Faire at the Henry Ford at the end of this month.

The Make zine has an interview with the creator.

1. Tell us about the project you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
A wonderfully impractical assemblage of bicycle, go-cart, and golf-cart pieces and parts, drainage pipe, steel tubing, and patio chairs. This four-wheel vehicle allows four passengers to travel in minor discomfort at speeds approaching a brisk walk, for relatively short distances, on completely flat terrain.

There’s also a video of the BigDog roaming Vinsetta Boulevard in Royal Oak. The new bike looks lighter and faster than the Dog Sled.

Why the Motor City is becoming a cycling mecca

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

This week’s Metro Times produced a very comprehensive look at the state of cycling within the city of Detroit. It’s a must read.

If you’re live in or near Detroit, this will hopefully motivate you to get on that bike and ride in Detroit.

If you’re a suburban cyclist, perhaps you could drop a copy on your city manager’s or county executive’s desk with a note, “If Detroit can do it…”

The article is superbly quotable, but one of our favorites includes quotes from Tom Woiwode of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which has invested millions into greenways throughout Southeast Michigan.

“The city has really embraced the idea of investing heavily in nonmotorized transportation, and it’s been a terrific transition.”

What? Detroit outpacing the suburbs in a civic improvement? Woiwode responds with an emphatic “Yes.”

You may want to highlight that in yellow marker for your city manager and county exec. It seems many of the cities, townships, and counties think they’re doing plenty for bike friendliness when the reality is much different.

In addition, this Metro Times includes articles called Bike seat conversations and Reading in gear.

Sandra Svoboda, the author of these articles, was also on WDET’s Craig Fahle show. That’s available via podcast. Sandra’s interview begins at 1:34.

Greenways, Riverwalk, and Dequindre Cut Blogging

Monday, September 15th, 2008
Photo by Marvin Shaouni

Photo by Marvin Shaouni

Tom Woiwode knows greenways. ?He’s been at the forefront of the movement in Metro Detroit since 2001 when he led development of the GreenWays Initiative.

At the end of August, Tom wrote a series of guest blogs covering topics from the Dequindre Cut to the Riverwalk to other trails and greenways in Metro Detroit. ?The resulting blog entries are some of the best you’ll read on trails and what they mean to the people and communities that build and use them.

Thanks to Metromode and Model D for putting these on-line. ?The photo was taken by Marvin Shaouni.