Road closures should have bicycle cut throughs

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.

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4 Responses to “Road closures should have bicycle cut throughs”

  1. T.R. Morris Says:

    Note that one difference between the Seattle cut-through pictured in the link, and the Strathcona intersection is that Strathcona empties into Woodward, a busy thoroughfare. So the traffic patterns on Woodward would have to be considered. But the story raises an important point. Cyclists should not be forced onto the sidewalk.

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    Good point. I just couldn’t find a good photo via Google.

    One thing to keep in mind is that this section of Woodward could easily support a bike lane, though I think a two-way cycle track would make more sense from McNichols to Eight Mile. With either option built, the closure design look like a worst idea.

    That said, the closing the streets to motor vehicles makes the cycletrack easier to implement.

  3. Brian Says:

    Who at the city have you contacted? DPDD, DPC, DPW or someone else?

  4. Todd Scott Says:

    Wearing my Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance hat, I’ve been in contact with Councilmember Ken Cockrel, the City Planning Commission, and now the Palmer Woods Association.

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