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.
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
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.”