Posts Tagged ‘complete streets’

Detroit Complete Streets: Updates and meeting tomorrow

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Speak up for Complete Streets

We’re asking people to attend tomorrow’s (7 pm, Wednesday, June 27th) Mayor’s Community Meeting at city hall to speak in favor of a Complete Streets ordinance in Detroit. An ordinance has been drafted and is being reviewed by the Law Department. The Department of Public Works is opposed to an ordinance, while others are in support.

The Mayor’s office holds much sway in determining how this will play out. We hope to encourage the Mayor to support the ordinance. This meeting is one opportunity to do that.

Mode Shift published this article with more details:

Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues and moms, dads, sisters and brothers to come tell officials why a bikeable, walkable, transit- and disabled-friendly city is crucial to the progress and revitalization of Detroit!

We plan on arriving a bit early in order to get on the list to give public comments.

If you cannot attend and want to show your support, you can submit a letter of support. A sample letter with information on where to send it are available here.

Streetlights

There’s been much discussion over public lighting in Detroit and Highland Park. Both cities have removed or are removing more lights. Many lights are no longer work due to their outdated design, equipment, and scrappers.

It’s been reported that 40% percent of Detroit’s 88,000 streetlights are broken. Highland Park just removed nearly 70% of their streetlights.

What we’ve learned through community workshops across Detroit is that public lighting is a key reason why people don’t walk or bike more.

Woodward Avenue

Woodward could get a bit safer for biking and walking.

From the Birmingham Patch:

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to support its efforts to develop a Complete Streets master plan for Woodward Avenue.

The grant is from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and complements the $752,880 grant that was previously awarded by the Federal Highway Administration for the initiative.

The association, an economic and community development organization based in Royal Oak, plans to develop a “Complete Streets” master plan that will transform the 27-mile corridor – from the Detroit River to Pontiac – into a complete, compatible and integrated roadway.

Certainly Woodward looks different across its 27 miles. Those differences will call for different Complete Street solutions.

We’re just excited that this discussion is underway.

Legislation would eliminate 1% bike/walk funding

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

A group of bills were introduced in Lansing earlier this year that change how Michigan generates and distributes road funding.

These bills as written have many opponents. Bicyclists, pedestrians, trail users, and Complete Street supporters should be among them.

Here are three reasons.

Eliminates bike funding requirement

First, House Bill 5300 would transfer funding from the current Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) to the Commercial Corridor Fund (CCF) over an 8 year period. The MTF and CCF distribute funds to counties, cities, and villages. The MTF requires 1% of the funding to be spent on non-motorized facilities like bike lanes and sidewalks. The CCF has no such requirement.

So rather than remove the 1% requirement in law, legislators are simply creating a new fund without the requirement and shifting the money. We’re not sure how intentional this change was, but it has been a long standing goal of the County Road Association of Michigan to remove this requirement.

Increases funding for sprawl

The current road funding is generally distributed based on the miles of roads. House Bill 5303 would change that to distribute funding based on motor vehicle miles traveled or VMT.

Counties and cities that require people to drive more and longer distances will be rewarded. There will be a financial disincentive for counties and cities to promote public transit, biking and walking as they’ll receive less money.

Forecasts from MDOT show the city of Detroit would see some devastating funding cuts as a result. Even if the fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees are raised significantly, the City will still lose 8% of their road funding. And since those tax and fee increases may not even occur, the loss will be even greater. The City has already testified against this change.

Ironically enough, the bill’s sponsor is former City Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi.

Promotes speeding

Granted this is the weaker of the three sins, but it deserves a mention for its sheer stupidity.

House Bills 5301 and 5302 require counties, cities, and villages to time traffic lights but not for the speed limit. On a road that has enough speeding cars, this legislation requires road agencies to time the traffic lights for them, which will likely induce more speeding.

We’ve already heard of MDOT doing this on a local state trunkline. Now this practice will be enshrined in law.

Recommended action

We recommend you contact your state representative and state senator to let them know you oppose removing the 1% requirement and oppose distributing road funds according to vehicle miles traveled.

These bills have been out for more than a couple months now. We can’t afford to keep sitting on the sidelines.

With ever rising fuel prices and increasing public interest in Complete Streets, it is unacceptable that we change road funding that takes us back to the 1970s mind set.

What’s preventing more people from biking?

Friday, March 9th, 2012

CBS Detroit recently reported on entrepreneurs developing a bike that automatically shifts.

The company’s idea and business plans won first-place honors on Friday, Feb. 10, in the Intercollegiate Business Plan Competition hosted by Eastern Michigan University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and representatives were to present to the OU INC Investment Review Board at OU INC on Tuesday, Feb. 14, to win additional funding opportunities. Company co-founder Sean Simpson said the Ann Arbor Spark loan represents a key step forward in AutoBike’s efforts to provide casual bicyclists with a means to ride a bike at a steady cadence without having to push levers or turn knobs.

“Our technology allows even the most novice bicyclists to always be in the right gear, because instead of teaching the rider how to shift, we taught the bike how to,” the company’s Web site explains. “The AutoBike bicycle riding experience can best be described as a stress-free ride in the park.”

While the intention of this article is not to critique this technology but to critique the idea that some new bike technology is the answer to stress-free riding.

It isn’t.

Having an optimal cadence isn’t going to make riding in the product’s hometown of Troy “stress-free.” Implementing the non-motorized master plan the city of Troy paid for and put on the shelf would be a step in the right direction. Or building Complete Streets.

What’s primarily holding Metro Detroiters back from riding more is the condition of the riding environment and the perception that it’s not safe. We hear that all the time and it’s a common problem in many other cities across the U.S.

Detroit’s Golden Era of Bicycling

And consider the technology when bicycling was at its peak in Metro Detroit – the 1890s.

There were no gears to shift. Everyone rode fixed gears, and in most cases, the bikes didn’t even have brakes.

Why was bicycling so popular then? Detroit’s streets were quite welcoming to cyclists of all abilities and there were more dense land uses, which meant shorter distances between destinations.

If you want to see the Autobike, here’s a video they produced.

Looks like it’ll work in London, too.

 

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 supervisor@milfordtownship.com or call 248.685.8731.

Another Complete Streets presentation in Detroit

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

MTGA and the city of Detroit continue to partner with the Michigan AARP to bring a Complete Streets discussion to the community. From the Michigan AARP event flyer:

Join AARP Michigan for a Complete Streets Symposium

Livable communities allow people of all ages and abilities to have a range of safe travel choices. AARP Michigan supports the Complete Streets ordinances in Detroit that ensure the development of livable communities.

AARP Michigan, along with Bridging Communities, the City of Detroit and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance will share information about Complete Streets including local examples, what the City of Detroit is doing to implement them, and how you can become involved.

Please join us at this important community meeting:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Holy Cross Center Fellowship Hall (7060 McGraw, Detroit, MI 48210)

Light refreshments will be provided.

Call 1-877-926-8300 to register by March 5, 2012.