Posts Tagged ‘Windsor’

New Underground Railroad Bicycle Route map released

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Adventure Cycling has just announced a new addition to their Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR). Currently the route begins in Mobile, Alambama and heads north to Oberlin, Ohio before turning east and crossing into Canada at Buffalo.

MTGA worked with Adventure Cycling and others folks — including descendants of those who used the Underground Railroad — to add a 281.4-mile route from Oberlin, Ohio to Detroit, Marine City and Sombra, Ontario.

The map for this route is now available. The cost is $11.75 for Adventure Cycling members and $14.75 for non-members.

This alternate, beginning in Oberlin, Ohio, takes cyclists around the western side of Lake Erie through historically rich Michigan. There are many sites to visit in the towns that the route goes through. In Michigan the route becomes much more urban. Because there is no bicycle-friendly connection between Detroit and Windsor the route crosses into Canada north of these cities, which were both important sites to freedom seekers.

The route does offer a balance between connecting the many historic UGRR sites while also providing a reasonable bicycle route. In other words, it doesn’t visit all the historic sites nor is it the most direct.

Within the city of Detroit, the route takes advantage of the new bike lanes installed on West Vernor and Michigan Avenue. It passes many historic UGRR sites, including the Finney Barn, Second Baptist Church, and Elmwood Cemetery.

The route also passes near the Hostel Detroit, which is expected to be a popular lodging option for cycling tourists.

MTGA continues to push for passenger ferry service to Windsor, Ontario that will accommodate cyclists. Currently cyclists need a motor vehicle to get to Windsor via the Tunnel or Ambassador Bridge. The route does provide an option for continuing north to Marine City where existing ferry service can transport cyclists to Canada.

A companion map showing the route through Ontario is under development now and is expected to be available by February 2012.

For those seeking a less ambitious bicycling tour, a 13-mile UGRR route within the city of Detroit has been developed. Brochures showing that route are also in the works.

And, the Wheelhouse Detroit offers UGRR tours throughout the summer as well though this year’s remaining tour is sold out. (Disclaimer: I lead those.)

Essex County Wide Active Transportation Study

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

The city of Detroit touches four counties. Most everyone can guess Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne, but the fourth? It’s Essex County in Ontario.

Essex has put together an impressive County Wide Active Transportation Study (CWATS) which looks to improve cycling throughout their region.

According to Bike Friendly Windsor:

The study aims to add a lot more bike lanes, multi-use trails and signed bike routes on county roads, and to also connect the county’s lanes with active transportation facilities neighbouring municipalities (like linking the Chrysler Greenway Trail to city routes).

The one missing piece seems to be biking links between Essex County and Detroit — whether that’s by the proposed ferry service or New International Trade Crossing bridge.

Earlier this month I submitted comments on this omission as MTGA’s Detroit Greenways Coordinator. We also provided four reasons why this cross border link is so valuable for cyclists.

Here are those submitted comments:

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Bike the Bridge 2011: Detroit to Windsor and back

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Over 300 riders from the U.S. and Canada rode in the 2011 Bike the Bridge event.

Those starting in Detroit checked in at the Milliken State Park on the RiverWalk. The group rode to the Ambassador Bridge and over to Windsor. It was here that 90 Windsor bicyclists joined the group and rode back over the bridge to Detroit.

Cyclists were reminded to keep moving and not stop. It’s not everyday that traffic across one of the world’s busiest international crossings is stopped for bicyclists.

Once back at Milliken State Park, riders ate breakfast before heading out on either a 24-mile or 45-mile guided tours. The shorter tour included the Dequindre Cut, Eastern Market, Belle Isle and Indian Village.

Perhaps one of the best comments on the event came from Tristan via Facebook.

Wow! Yesterday’s tour was an amazing experience. I have a very different perspective on the City of Detroit. Thank you to the organizers and volunteers who put so much work into this. I can’t imagine how much time it must have taken. Looking forward to seeing everybody next year.

More photos on Flickr: Ravenswift and OurWindsor

Registration opens for Bike the Bridge 2011

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

On June 12th, the busiest North American international border crossing will be closing very briefly for bicyclists riding in the Bike the Bridge event.

The only way to register for this event is on-line and that is now open.

This is a very special Biking event. The Ambassador Bridge, spanning from Detroit to Windsor, is shut down to car traffic. Canadians will be able to ride across the entire bridge. American riders will ride to the middle of the bridge, meet the Canadians, and ride back to Detroit. Breakfast will be provided after the bridge ride, on the Detroit Riverfront, at William G. Milliken State Park. Then one of two tours can be selected. The short tour will be approximately 15 miles in length. The Long tour will be approximately 45 miles in length. The details of the tours are still being planned.  If you want to attend this event you must have a valid Passport, Passport card, enhanced driver’s license, or Nexus.

No riders under age 16 please.

Registration closes early — May 27th — so that the information can be forwarded to the U.S. and Canadian Customs. Don’t delay!

There is also a Bike the Bridge page on Facebook.

Detroit Riverwalk under construction at new port

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The Detroit RiverWalk remains closed near Hart Plaza. This closure is due to the construction of the new port and wharf for cruise ships and ferry service.

There is a ribbon cutting being planned for June. However there’s a chance this section of RiverWalk will be opened closer to the beginning next month.

The Detroit Free Press recently had an article regarding this project.

The port authority is working with officials in Windsor, local businesses and private ferry consultants on a market study to determine the feasibility of ferry service between Detroit and Windsor, Kerr said. Service could begin as early as 2012.

Supporters say a ferry could have a built-in demand from tourists and an estimated 6,000 commuters who work in one country and live in the other, including about 4,000 health care workers.

As we mentioned before, this international ferry service would be invaluable for cyclists wanting to get between Detroit and Canada.