Royal Oak non-motorized plan updates

The Draft Royal Oak Non-motorized Plan was forwarded by the Planning Commission to the City Commission on September 13th. On Monday the City Commission will decide whether to approve the plan for distribution to adjacent communities, MDOT, SEMCOG, and others. After a 63-day comment period, the Planning Commission can hold a formal public hearing and decide whether to adopt the plan. The City Commission may assert their right to approve or reject the plan.

Confused yet?

The city staff did send a letter to the Commission which provides an overview and these concerns expressed by the Engineering department.

The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan includes recommendations for both road diets with bike lanes and shared-lane markings on various streets throughout the city. Questions arose after we received the plan regarding proposed road diets for Twelve Mile Road, Thirteen Mile Road, Fourteen Mile Road, Crooks Road, and Main Street. The Engineering Department indicated that road diets would not be suitable on these roads due to their traffic volumes and would therefore not support them. The Active Transportation Alliance disagrees and feels road diets would be suitable for these streets. As a compromise, the plan states that if traffic volumes preclude a full road diet on any of these streets, then shared-lane markings could be installed as an alternative.

The traffic volumes do support some of engineering’s concerns. However, Crooks Road and Main Street look very different throughout their length. Crooks Road north of 13 Mile might not be suitable for a road diet, whereas it might south of 13 Mile. Main Street through the central business district is ripe for a road diet, as are the portions north of 12 Mile into Clawson — where it has already been road dieted successfully.

During the past couple weeks, there have been at least a few news stories about the plan, the latter of which made the front page.

Royal Oak City Commission Candidates

League of Women Voters recently held a forum for Royal Oak Commission candidates. One question for the candidates was, “What is your opinion of the non-motorized plan?”

The Royal Oak Patch covered the event and has their responses to this question. All of the candidates voiced their support for the non-motorized plan, though some were quick to offer caveats as well.

Here’s what we think of the responses:

  • Kyle DuBuc: We think this was among the best responses, and as mentioned before, he supports Complete Streets.
  • Mike Fournier: We’re not clear what he means by doing it “the right way” and “benchmark, benchmark, benchmark.” Who’s made their community more bike friendly and walkable the wrong way?
  • George Gomez: Another good response, and he’s right. Bike friendliness and walkability are already in the master plan.
  • Peggy Godwin: She’s a “huge proponent” but with an eye toward being fiscally realistic. That makes sense.
  • Rick Karlowski: This seems to be the least supportive answer of the group. Road diets are not “extremely expensive” nor do they “shut down major thouroughfares.”
  • Bill Shaw: Somewhere among the nostalgia is a brief note of support.
  • Scott Warheit: We agree. This plan is merely a great start and we need to continue community engagement.

Have you read the plan? What are your thoughts?

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2 Responses to “Royal Oak non-motorized plan updates”

  1. Dave Says:

    I find it interesting that there are reservations by the Engineering Department to implementing a road diet in cettain areas (though the areas mentioned in this post and the ones the new parking meters will end up being installed on are not the same), yet when I go to Royal Oak’s website, there is a message from the mayor talking about parking. His final closing sentence was, “Now, if we could only make more parking spaces magically appear. .”, in response to new parking meters being or will end up being, installed.

    Not sure if I’ll get around to reading this plan in much detail anytime real soon, but if I were to stay in metro Detroit, it seems inner-ring suburbs or Detroit are a possibility, so a non-motorized plan being developed is encouraging and would appear to be ahead of plenty of other suburbs, only based on my impressions however.

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    Good news from Doug Hedges in the Royal Oak Planning department:
    Last night the Royal Oak City Commission authorized distribution of the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan to adjacent communities as required by state law prior to it being adopted as part of the city’s Master Plan. Notification letters were mailed to these communities earlier today and they now have 63 days to offer comments on the plan. At the end of the 63-day period, the Royal Oak Planning Commission can then hold a formal public hearing and adopt the plan. The exact date of that public hearing has yet to be determined, but will most likely be 12/13/2011 or 1/10/2012. The actual date will be published when available.

    Copies of the Non-Motorized Plan are now available on the city’s website at

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