Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Bicycle Route System’

Pilot ride on the Lake Erie Cycling Route

Friday, September 16th, 2011

On Monday, a group of cyclists rolled out of Windsor for a pilot ride on the proposed Lake Erie Cycling Route.

From the Windsor Star:

The project is being spearheaded by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, which has established a similar 900-kilometre signed route from the Niagara Region, along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, to the Quebec border. Also involved are the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, Transportation Options and the Carolinian Canada Coalition.

The goal is to establish a mapped and signed Lake Erie cycling route that will help attract cycling tourists and encourage local bicycle use, said Marlaine Kroehler, executive director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. It could be completed as early as 2013.

This new route is a mix of paved roads with some sections of unpaved rails-to-trails added — mostly the Chrysler Canada Greenway. This is one difference from the otherwise similar U.S. Bicycle Route System which keeps to paved surfaces.

Interestingly enough, the Chrysler Canada Greenway was perhaps less scenic than the road, which ran closer to the lake.

Some highlights along the first leg are Amherstberg and the Fort Malden National Historic Site; Ontario’s wine country; the John R. Park Homestead (no relation to Detroit’s John R. Williams); and the Point Pelee National Park. The latter is about 60 miles from Windsor.

The Lake Erie Cycling Route connects with the existing Waterfront Trail along Lake Ontario, which also connects with Quebec’s Route Verte. Yes, you’ll be able to ride from Windsor to Montreal along these cycling routes.

One bonus: The Bike Train means you don’t have to ride out and back. One could take the train and take the route backwards to Windsor.

For Detroit residents, having these mostly rural bike routes (and wineries) so close to the city is a real bonus. This is much closer (and much flatter) than Metro Detroit’s rural roads and much closer than the vineyards near Traverse City. Southeast Ontario drivers seems to be rather congenial as well. The biggest issue is once again, getting across the Detroit river without needing a car.

The Windsor Star published this follow up article with more details, including a discussion on the growing Detroit bicycle scene and the plans to build bike routes through the Motor City. Ignoring the Windsor Star’s inappropriate reference to “the poorest neighborhoods”, the article does capture the excitement of bicycling in the Windsor-Detroit area and the potential to grow the culture and cross-border tourism opportunities.

Ferrying bicyclists across the Detroit River

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

We discussed this last year. Could a new ferry service across the river be the solution for Detroit and Windsor bicyclists wanting to cross the border?

It seems the answer is closer to “yes” these days.

Model D reported on this possibility at the end of last month in a conversation about the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority’s riverfront dock and terminal building construction. They spoke with the Port Authority’s John Kerr who “envisions… a commuter ferry service between Detroit and Windsor.”

Kerr was also on WDETs Craig Fahle Show last week. A podcast of that episode is on-line with the discussion beginning at 0:43.

We are also looking at commuter ferry service. We’ve had some discussions with the Windsor Port Authority and feel like there’s a market for potential ferry service. So, how cool would it be on the RiverWalk between the Ren Cen or maybe you’re at Cobo for a show and you come in and cross the border and to go to Windsor for lunch and bring people from Windsor to come over here for lunch?

That would be cool, especially if you could bring your bike.

But beyond just being able to get your bike across the river without a car, there are three specific projects that could greatly benefit from ferry service.

  1. The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route: The Adventure Cycling Association is working with others to develop a new bicycle route that would connect with their existing route. This new route would come to Detroit and preferably cross the river to Canada, just as thousands of freedom-seekers did. In fact we note that it was easier for freedom-seekers to cross the Detroit River than it is for bicyclists today.
  2. U.S. Bike Route System: Michigan is leading the nation in getting new U.S. Bike Routes closer to reality. Dividing the mitten, USBR 20 is almost ready for final approval. USBR 35 up the west coast is progressing as well. USBR’s 25, 30, and 36 all go through Detroit. It would invaluable if these routes allowed cycling tourists to cross into Canada.
  3. Bike the Bridge: This annual event rides across the Ambassador Bridge in the morning, but its return is via buses and with bikes stuffed in rental trucks. This event would be much more appealing if cyclists could return via ferry at their leisure.

We shared these projects with Kerr and look forward to getting more information on this cross-border opportunity in the near future.

National Bike Summit: a Detroit perspective

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The 10th National Bike Summit in Washington DC was last week. This three day event was a great opportunity to learn the latest on bike advocacy issues, lobby Congress, and network with peers.

I was attending this wearing a two main MTGA hats: Detroit Greenways Coordinator and Michigan Airline Trail Ambassador.

My highlight was Thursday morning. We had a group breakfast for last minute legislative updates and some cheerleading prior to our Congressional office visits. I was waiting behind this older gentleman for coffee. Being a bit impatient, I asked if I could cut in front. He poured my coffee and I said “Thanks”. It was then that I realized Congressman James Oberstar — one of the key bike supporters in DC and chair of the House Transportation committee — had just poured my coffee.

It was going to be a great day!


Two Trail Conferences for October

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The 2009 Oakland County Trail Summit: By Land, By Water is scheduled for October 8th at the Proud Lake State Recreation Area near Milford.

The details and agenda are on the registration page. Note that this event is limited to 150 registrants.

Later in the month (October 25th through the 28th) is the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference in Kalamazoo.

There is less than two weeks left to get the early registration price.

Here are some additional conference details from Nancy Krupiarz, executive director for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance:

The 4th Mid American Trails & Greenways creates an excellent opportunity for all those involved in trails and greenways to share our experiences learn from each other and continue connecting our trails and greenways.

Sponsored by eight Mid America states of Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky, and supported by a host of national, state, regional and local trail agencies and organizations, the conference will feature interactive educational sessions and exciting mobile workshops bringing together the best presenters from Mid America and the nation. An update on the state of trails and greenways in Mid America will be followed by informative sessions that will look at all aspects of trail and greenway development and operations.

An exhibit area with more than forty exhibitors displaying their products and services will be a part of this event!

In my job at MTGA, I’ll be presenting on our trail and greenway efforts in Detroit.

After the conference, we’re looking at meeting in Detroit to discuss a new Adventure Cycling bike route we are developing. It will be a spur off of their existing Underground Railroad route and will extend from Ohio, through Detroit, into Windsor, and over to Toronto. We’ll also be discussing the U.S. Bicycle Route System and how it might be routed through Detroit.