The current Federal Transportation bill made many changes to how we fund non-motorized projects. One major change was the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) functionally replaced the old Transportation Enhancements (TE) program. The bill also required MDOT to share that TAP funding to groups like SEMCOG that would make grants within their seven county region.
At the national level, this sharing was considered a “win”. In Michigan, MDOT did a fair job with TE funding, so this may be a negative since it adds complexity and requires advocates to monitor two separate granting programs.
Either way, the first round of SEMCOG TAP grant funding has been announced — a total of $6.3 million in grants:
- City of New Baltimore, Connection to the County Line Rd. Path, $183,016
- City of Monroe, North Dixie Highway Median, $80,000
- City of Auburn Hills, Opdyke Pathway Gaps, $267,475
- City of Auburn Hills, Downtown Riverwalk Squirrel Ct Improvements, $194,589
- City of Ferndale, Livernois Complete Street, $118,094.40
- City of Ferndale, West Nine Mile Streetscape Improvement (Livernois to Pinecrest) Phase IV, $590,134
- City of Novi, Metro Connector Trail, $741,200
- City of Rochester, Safety Crossing, $99,970
- St. Clair County Road Commission, Bridge to Bay Trail on Desmond Landing, $211,339
- City of Port Huron, Bridge to Bay trail – 10th Street to Military Street, $250,614
- Ypsilanti Twp (Road Commission for Washtenaw County), Grove Road trail reconstruction, $763,000
- City of Allen Park, Ecorse Road Streetscape, $626,883
- City of Dearborn, Proposed Rouge River Greenway Extension Project- UM Dearborn Connection, $242,830
- City of Dearborn, Rouge River Gateway Trail Extension Phase I, $302,000
- City of Detroit, West Vernor / Woodmere to Clark Streetscape, $1,000,000
- City of Detroit, Congress Streetscape, $636,310
Our favorite? Ferndale’s Livernois Complete Street project will provide bike lanes and more to improve the cycling connection between Ferndale (at 9 Mile) and Detroit. The city of Detroit is also looking at improvements to Livernois south of Eight Mile. When completed, this will provide a nice route between the University District/Sherwood Forest neighborhoods and downtown Ferndale.
We also like Dearborn’s extension of the Rouge Gateway Trail from Andiamo’s Restaurant and westward. Ending in a restaurant parking lot on a busy Michigan Avenue is far from ideal. Continuing the trail to the nearby neighborhood and park is a great idea.
Many of the other projects are wide sidewalks and sidepaths along roads. With the exception of Novi’s project (which connects two MDOT trails), it’s disappointing to see these projects funded from a limited source. We think the cities should pay for sidewalks and sidepaths, especially since in so many cases they less safe and more costly than other options.