Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Palmer Woods tweaks road closure for bicycling

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Hats off to the Palmer Woods Association and Hamilton-Anderson for making changes to the proposed street closure at Strathcona and Woodward.

The new design still prohibits motor vehicles from entering Palmer Woods, while accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

The other road closures on Woodward and Seven Mile won’t have a major impact on area bicyclists as there are other options. That really wasn’t the case for Strathcona.

Hopefully in the near future, the Complete Streets planning for Woodward can make it more welcoming for less confidant cyclists. A two-way, physically-separated bike lane from Eight Mile to McNichols would be one possible solution.

Other improvements

The Palmer Woods Association is also making other changes in the neighborhood, including adding internal traffic diverters (with accommodations for bikes), repaired sidewalks, and improved lighting. They are one of the three areas targeted under the Detroit Works Project. The work done here can serve as models for other neighborhoods in Detroit.

Actually, this street closure is a model for other areas throughout Metro Detroit and beyond.

How to make Pontiac more walkable and bike-able

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Clinton_River_Trail is routed away from the downtown Pontiac businesses -- and on sidewalks

How can the city of Pontiac’s transportation network be improved so that it brings more business and life to the downtown?

A public meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, March 17th from 10am until noon at the Crofoot Ballroom to discuss that.

This Oakland Press article has more information:

Oakland County planners are trying to figure out ways to attract traffic into downtown Pontiac, rather than have traffic diverted around the downtown district.

The public is invited to attend a meeting with local government officials, planners, residents and business owners to discuss how to fix what many argue has become a barrier for the neighborhoods and surrounding communities.

The group also has been examining the city’s transportation links, assets and past planning documents.

The data, along with input from residents, will create an action plan for the Woodward Loop and to improve the city’s streets, sidewalks and bike path system.

Here’s one obvious suggestion: Stop routing the Clinton River Trail around the downtown. The trail should go through the main downtown business area using the roads.

It shouldn’t be routed on sidewalks. Besides ignoring the downtown businesses, the trail design ignores best practices.


Milford Twp: Non-motorized planning session this Saturday

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

From the Charter Township of Milford:

Public Open House – Non-Motorized Planning Session

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 from noon to 2pm

Milford Senior Center, 1050 Atlantic Street

Milford Township would like your input! The Township adopted a resolution supporting Complete Streets in February 2011. A “complete street” is safe, accessible and convenient for all users regardless of transportation mode, age, or physical ability. The Planning Commission is looking to document where you think improvements are needed to provide safe facilities for non-motorized users. Maps of the community will be available and staff will be on hand to talk about non-motorized issues and mark up maps with your ideas to pass along to the Planning Commission.

  • Where should sidewalks or paves shoulders be provided?
  • Should additional trails be built?
  • Are there areas that are unsafe for pedestrians or cyclists?
  • What non-motorized improvements should be a priority?

The session will be set up as an Open House, so no need to commit to the whole 2 hour time slot – just stay to give your input and mark up the maps. If you have ideas and suggestions, but can’t make it to the Open House, please email your comments to Don Green, Township Supervisor at or call 248.685.8731.

Road closures should have bicycle cut throughs

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

The prestigious Palmer Woods neighborhood in Detroit wants to reduce cut through traffic by closing some of their street connections with Woodward and 7 Mile Road. The Hamilton-Anderson architects designed some road closures for Strathcona, Balmoral, and Lincolnshire.

Are they worried about speeding, cut through bicyclists? Probably not, so why do their designs block bicycle travel?

It’s frustrating seeing design work that considers the existing trees, catch basins, turn around driveways for vehicles, and trash pickup, yet ignore safe bicycle travel.

All that’s needed at the three closures is a bicycle cut-through – a paved pathway that’s only wide enough for bicycles yet still maintains a connection between the two roads.

Here’s one example of a bike cut through from Seattle.

These designs aren’t just for bicyclists cutting through the neighborhood, they would also make it easier for residents to bike to nearby popular destinations like Palmer Park and Dutch Girl Donuts.

It’s unclear whether the City will fix these designs. The City was asked back in October 2009 to make these designs bike friendly along with some suggested design elements, none of which are shown in the drawings shared with City Council on Monday.

City Council has a recommended resolution before them this morning. It could be improved by added the below bolded text.

RESOLVED, that the following portion of public streets shall be closed to vehicular traffic and converted into landscaped ares with access for necessary utility service vehicles, City of Detroit, and cut-through bicycle travel:

Unfortunately there are many road closures in Metro Detroit communities that are of a similar poor design. Lathrup Village, Southfield, Royal Oak all offer examples of how not to design road closures.

Hopefully we won’t have to add Detroit to that list.

Birmingham says “no” to Maple Road diet

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

We mentioned earlier about the city of Birmingham’s consideration of converting Maple Road from 4 lanes to 3 between Adams and Eton.

Prior to the meeting, the Observer and Eccentric newspaper stirred the mob mentality with the headline “Birmingham’s nightmare on Maple Street.” No, it wasn’t an op-ed.

Mostly negative comments were given during the public hearing.

From the Observer:

The commission came to the same conclusion, voting 6-1 to keep Maple a four-lane road. They did, however, show their support for the concept of trying to narrow major roads to make them more pedestrian friendly, directing staff to begin a Complete Streets study that encompasses the entire city rather than just one particular street.

“Somehow, some way, we’re going to make Maple a better road,” Mayor Mark Nickita said before the vote.

Tom McDaniel was the lone member of the commission to vote against keeping East Maple four lanes, saying the only way to do a valid study of whether the road would work as three lanes would be to re-stripe it for a set period of time and evaluate the results.

City Manager Bob Bruner is a staunch advocate of the Complete Streets initiative, and he thought the timing was right to see if some of the ideas would work on East Maple. Starting in the spring, the stretch of Maple between Eton and Adams is being reconstructed to the same width of 41 feet, giving the city an opportunity to re-stripe the road to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane.

We’ve never seen a road diet studied more than this. The studies and traffic modeling showed it could work, but that wasn’t enough to change public opinion.

As we mentioned in our comments, if it didn’t work as the modeling predicted, it’s just paint. The old road configuration could be restored.

But unless the City tries it, they’ll never know.

As for the Observer newspaper, they showed their 1950s understanding of traffic solving in a follow up opinion piece.

Maple has been a problem road for years. It’s too narrow as it is to handle the flow of daily traffic. If anything, it needs to be widened, not narrowed.

And they probably think the Internet is a series of tubes…