Posts Tagged ‘Detroit parks’

Detroit pursuing improved bike upgrades at Dorais Park

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Riding the Dorais velodrome in Detroit

One of those is the Farwell/Dorais Park. The city will be applying for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to match their $125,000 contribution.

As you may know, Dorais is home to an old concrete velodrome built by the Wolverine Cycling Club in 1969. The city was looking into options for restoring it. Dale Hughes came in to offer his advice. Hughes is an international expert on velodrome construction and his father-in-law, Mike Walden built the Dorais track.

His advice was it’s beyond repair. It would be easier to build a new one.

Why?

Water began seeping through some seams early on, which caused the sand base to erode. That erosion led to small cracks. When cars and motorcycles starting riding on the track, the cracks became far more substantial. The cracks are larger enough that one could not simply lay down a thin layer of blacktop.

Besides, the track has an irregular design. It was surveyed prior to grading but vandals removed half of the survey markers. With no time to redo the surveys, the north oval was made using an outstretched garden hose.

Despite the defect, this track still produced hundreds of national champions and even world champions.

But unfortunately the replacement cost far exceeds what the city can provide, not to mention the cost of programming the track. So, the city instead plans on doing some additional patchwork to fill some of the large, tire-sucking seams.

New Trails

The majority of funding would go towards a crushed stone trail around the park, a singletrack climb up Derby Hill, a multi-use, banked downhill, and more.

If you want to provide comments , you can this Wednesday at a public hearing or via writing the Recreation Department. The details are below: (more…)

A cycling perspective on Detroit’s EFM

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Detroit EFMOn Friday, Governor Rick Snyder announced his plans to install an Emergency Finance Manager or EFM in the city of Detroit.

There are many varied opinions on this, but we’ll just look at it from a cycling and trails perspective just as we did with the earlier consent agreement.

The Mayor’s office and City Council have been very supportive of making the city more bike friendly and more walkable. There’s not another city in Metro Detroit that’s doing more. So from a high-level perspective, an EFM reduces their influence and could potentially derail some of this positive momentum.

Will that happen? Probably not.

The EFM will likely focus on general funding issues. Most of the bike and trail work is funded through grants, philanthropy, and the city’s road fund, which comes from the state and federal government. General funds are not used to build bike lanes or trails. The state and federal road funds cannot be spent on anything but transportation according to Michigan’s Constitution.

However, general funds are used to maintain city parks, through which some trails pass. Those park services were severely cut after the failed Belle Isle lease proposal. The park closure most directly affecting trails is Maheras-Gentry. The Conner Creek Greenway would remain open, but the park entrance maybe closed to motor vehicles.

According to the Detroit Free Press, public transit, lighting, and public safety are more likely to be affected. Certainly these all affect bicycling and walking as well. Deeper cuts to public transit could force more people to seek alternative travel options, like biking. And, Detroit surveys say that adequate lighting and public safety are key requirements for residents to walk and bike more, especially at night.

One area of concern is will key city employees seek other employment during this tumultuous time. Traffic Engineering recently lost two designers to other opportunities. At least one will be able to be rehired. But again, Traffic Engineering doesn’t rely on the general fund. Filling other vacant staff positions under an EFM might not be challenging.

There is one EFM rumor that we know is false. Detroit’s EFM will probably not be the young cyclist with training wheels shown on the Governor’s EFM brochure.

What are your thoughts?

Bike Shorts for June 29th, 2010

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

A young protester at the Palmer Park rally against closing Detroit parks

Complete Streets bills pass the House

House Bill 6151 passed on a 85 to 21 vote while House Bill 6152 passed 84 to 22. Both bills are now on their way to the Senate. This is great news, but we’re not done yet. Please contact your Michigan Senator and ask them to support both bills.

Michigan Ranked 10th for Obesity

The newest obesity report was just released.

Michigan was named the tenth most obese state in the country, according to the seventh annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010 report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Obesity rates among youths ages 10-17 from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) also were included in the 2009 F as in Fat report; 12.4 percent of children were obese in the state, with the state ranking 41st out of the 50 states and D.C. for childhood obesity.

What’s interesting is Michigan’s youth obesity rank is 41st.

Detroit RiverWalk: A touch of nirvana

There’s a insightful Free Press opinion piece by Stephen Henderson.

We spent a big chunk of last Sunday, Father’s Day, on the RiverWalk, just a few blocks from where we live. …for my children, now 5 and nearly 7, this was just another slice of Detroit nirvana.

The riverfront is their very public backyard, where they ride bikes or scooters and marvel at the bellowing vessels headed for the Soo. They’ve seen a wedding. They’ve learned about ducks and geese and powerboats.

Their neighborhood is safe and full of nearby thrills.

Model D: Game changing projects

The Conner Creek Greenway is at #10 on this interesting list from Model D.

10. Conner Creek Greenway: Among the numerous bike lane and greenways projects around town, I chose to single this one out because of the fact that about a third of the 9-mile project, which will ultimately run contiguously from the Detroit River to Eight Mile by 2013, is already complete. The fact that the greenway taps into Creekside’s 140 acres of riverfront parks, Chandler Park and Mt. Olivet Cemetery and that it takes you pretty darn close to the haunted and awesome Two-Way Inn knocks this project out of the park.

Detroit Parks to remain open

The budget standoff between Detroit City Council and the Mayor’s office has been resolved. The $4.5 million cut to General Services has been restored. That cut would have eliminated 40 from the city’s grass cutting crew and kept parks from being mowed.

Sally Patrella from the Friends of Rouge Park posted the following on the Detroit Parks Coalition page on Facebook:

We did it. The mayor gave his budget amendment to City Council that restored half of the funding for parks and City Council approved it this afternoon. Mayor’s office says it is unlikely any parks will close now. President Pugh and Kenyatta agreed to work with this new coalition and Kenyatta is going to start a task force.

The Detroit Parks Coalition is having its second meeting next Wednesday, July 7 at 9 a.m. at the St. Luke Tabernacle, 19633 Joy Road (at Plainview 1 block east of Evergreen).

Had those 77 parks closed, it would likely have affected greenways and trails, including those at Rouge Park, Patton Park, and Palmer Park.