Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Market’

The $1 billion Bloody Run Creek Greenway project

Monday, February 18th, 2013

BloodyRunIt’s been talked about for decades, but these conceptual plans makes the Bloody Run Greenway seem slightly more possible.

And yes, it does have a $1 billion total price tag. However, breaking the project into smaller phases makes it a bit more palatable.

Besides, how amazing would it be to have a creek running next to the Dequindre Cut?

Or a waterfall next to the shipping container hotel proposed for the Cut?

Are the recent demolitions east of Eastern Market related? We’re not sure, but both the demolitions and the Bloody Run project have Kresge Foundation funding.

Dequindre Cut Extension

While we don’t have any recent updates on the Dequindre Cut extension, the project must be out to bid by July of this year. We have seen the construction drawings and it looks phenomenal.

Keep in mind that this project will:

  • Extend the Cut under Gratiot and on to Mack Avenue
  • Add bike lanes from end of the Cut to Hamtramck
  • Add an Eastern Market connector trail just north of Wilkins
  • Add bike lanes and sidewalks from Eastern Market to Midtown
  • Add bike parking in Eastern Market

If Hamtramck receives grant funding this spring, they could build their bike network by next summer.

Current the Dequindre Cut is mostly undeveloped except for a rail car spur. That has been captured in this movie by Michelle Andonian entitled “The Cut.” That’s a living project that will evolve as the trail does.

 

Governor Rick Snyder: Bikes the talk in Detroit

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

At yesterday’s groundbreaking, George Jackson of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation spoke of his appreciation for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “He walks the talk.” Jackson said.

This day would be different.

As the governor noted later, today he would bike the talk — on the Dequindre Cut from Milliken State Park to Eastern Market — on a bike rented from the Wheelhouse Detroit.

I had the opportunity to give a Detroit Greenways button to the Governor, which he prompted pin to his jacket. We also discussed the Dequindre Cut and biking in Detroit. He asked if there were other places to ride in the city and if there was a bike map. I noted that we’re working on some maps now and that Detroit is among the nation’s most bike friendly due to the overbuilt road network.

I also spoke with him about the New International Trade Crossing. I asked if he would work with us to make sure the constructed bridge includes the paved shoulders (for bicyclists) and sidewalk that are in the approved current design — and encourage the Canadians to do the same. He sounded quite positive and asked me to contact his office with the details.

Milliken Park expansion

Governor Snyder was in Detroit for the groundbreaking of the Globe Trading Building. This historic structure will become the DNR’s Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center.

“The Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center project is an exciting next step in fulfilling a vision for Detroit’s Riverfront and serves as a shining example of what city and state, public and private partnerships and collaboration can achieve,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This is what place making is all about. And the project will help generate additional economic development and neighborhood revitalization that are core to Detroit’s and Michigan’s comeback.”

“The goal of everyone involved in this venture is to create a downtown destination where people living in or visiting an urban area can experience the adventure and excitement of Michigan’s great outdoors, gain confidence in participating in outdoor recreation activities, and understand more about protecting our state’s unique natural resources,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We feel the Globe Building project provides the right hub for outdoor experiences and fits that niche perfectly.”

This is going to be a tremendous asset at the intersection of two great greenways: the Dequindre Cut and Detroit RiverWalk.

During the 2011 RiverDays event, someone asked me when the city was going to tear down that old brick building. I promptly responded and told him about the DNR’s plans to revitalize it. They didn’t believe me. I recalled that transaction as the Governor spoke yesterday.

From the Detroit News:

“I want everyone to remember what that looks like today,” said Snyder during a press conference at Milliken State Park, gesturing across the street to the abandoned warehouse. “So when we come back and see what it looks like, we can see what the power of working together can do and the opportunity to reinvent Michigan and the opportunity to reinvent Detroit.”

The Free Press also published this article on the event and building.

We got a TIGER for the trail!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

After getting rejected for funding in the TIGER III, the city of Detroit and collaborators tweaked the grant proposal and re-submitted for TIGER IV.

We didn’t get the $15.3 million we asked for, but we did get $10 million.

What does this fund? The proposal centers around Eastern Market by improving streetscapes and bridges, while making three non-motorized connections via a Dequindre Cut extension, another segment of the Midtown Loop, and bike lanes to the proposed Hamtramck Trails network.

There’s more coverage on the MTGA web site and in articles by Crain’s Detroit Business and mLIVE.

Globe Trading Building

While these greenway connections improve access to Eastern Market, they also improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians heading to the Detroit RiverWalk and Milliken State Park. As for the latter, last month the DNR announced their $12.8 million investment in an Outdoor Discovery Adventure Center in the park and along the Dequindre Cut.

This Free Press article makes it sound like quite the trail-side attraction.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said this morning it anticipates as many as a million visitors a year coming to its planned discovery center to be built in the historic Globe Building on Detroit?s east riverfront.

Features will include a 60-foot climbing wall, an archery range, simulator rides demonstrating kayaking and other water sports, and classrooms to teach schoolchildren and other visitors outdoor safety as well as the science of natural resources and wetlands.

And yes, a young Henry Ford was an apprentice in this building while working on ship engines.

Given the current state of the Globe Trading Building, it’s difficult imagining that it will be open next year, but that is the timeline.

The DNR also expects a million visitors a year.

City of Detroit submits TIGER IV grant

Monday, March 19th, 2012

We mentioned Detroit submitted a TIGER III transportation grant that would have extended the Dequindre Cut and Midtown Loop. built bike lanes from Eastern Market to the planned Hamtramck Trail, and made major street improvements at Eastern Market.

That grant wasn’t funded though the city was told by one congressional office that it scored near the top.

The City is submitting an improved version of the grant request this round.

Competition?

One interesting wrinkle this time is it appears the M1 Rail group is applying for a $25 million TIGER IV grant as well. Even though it would be from the transit portion of TIGER IV, it’s unlikely two big grants would come to Detroit.

From the Detroit News:

[U.S. DOT Secretary Ray] LaHood said in January the government will consider awarding Detroit’s light-rail project up to $25 million on top of $25 million awarded for a bus rapid transit system.

LaHood told The Detroit News he is willing to offer additional government money if the M-1 light rail coalition can show it is financially viable.

Congressional aides said the M-1 plan assumes it will win the $25 million grant, which the FTA says is not certain.

The Detroit News is reporting the the U.S. DOT has “serious concerns” about the M1 Rail’s viability. The Detroit Free Press reports a more moderate response.

…while no decision has been made, there is skepticism in Washington, including concerns that the M-1 plan’s cost estimate — at $125 million — is too low and that the group of private investors won’t pull together enough private financing to qualify for a $25-million federal grant for the project.

Of course the other issue with M1 Rail and bicycling is their plan to run the street cars along the curbs. As we’ve said before, curbside alignments are problematic for cyclists and Complete Streets advocates.

Seattle cyclists sue

The street car tracks are a major safety issue and liability. At least a half-dozen Seattle cyclists have lawsuits against the city for crashes due to street car rails. We spoke with an attorney handling these cases and they said this would be a class action lawsuit if their office had the capacity to organize such an effort.

Does MDOT really want to open themselves up to that?

MDOT should know it’s a hazardous design for bicyclists — it’s mentioned as such in Detroit’s Woodward light rail reports.

There are safety concerns for bicycle users with [the curbside designs] due to the potential for bicycle tires to be caught within the rail flange space in the road. While alternative rail types may reduce this potential conflict, it cannot be fully mitigated.

Of course the odds are that neither project will receive the funding. It’s a hyper-competitive grant source.

Then again, Michigan’s only successful TIGER III grant was a road to a landfill, so anything is possible.

Feds fail to fund Detroit’s inspired TIGER project

Friday, December 16th, 2011

[Disclaimer: I provided assistance to the city of Detroit on this TIGER grant application.]

It wasn’t a good week in Detroit for transportation news.

First came the light rail decision, and now this. The U.S. DOT did not select Detroit’s TIGER III grant.

There were 828 application and only 46 were selected. The odds weren’t good but Detroit’s $20 million grant request was first-class.

It was called Link Detroit, a Multi-model enhancement plan and a copy of it is available on the city’s web site.

The listed project benefits were:

  • Implements a $25 million infrastructure project that includes bridge replacements, streetscapes, on and off road non-motorized greenways ($20 million DOT grant, $5.8 million local match)
  • Links Detroit’s core investments such as the Riverfront Conservancy and adjacent downtown central businesses through the Dequindre Cut and Midtown Loop greenways to the Eastern Market, Midtown and Hamtramck
  • Intersects major transportation routes including auto, bus, and the planned Woodward Light Rail, enabling multi modal options from anywhere in the region
  • Enhances non-motorized and multi-modal connections to:
    • Jobs (downtown and midtown anchors, locally owned commercial/professional services, start up establishments, hotels and restaurants, eastern market district)
    • Educational institutions (Wayne State)
    • Cultural institutions (DIA, MOCAD, DSO, theatres)
    • Recreational opportunities (Milliken State Park, numerous city parks, marinas)
    • Famers market (Eastern Market)
    • Neighborhoods (Midtown, Hamtramck, East Villages)
  • Leverages significant investments already made in the transportation infrastructure (Campus Martius, Detroit RiverWalk, Woodward Light Rail, Dequindre Cut Greenway, Midtown Loop Greenway, Hamtramck Greenway) and real estate development (Downtown, Midtown, Eastern Market)
  • Provides 289 direct near term jobs, and up to 16,000 long term jobs, assuming the residential and commercial fill in development typically stimulated by this kind of investment

Can Detroit just reapply for TIGER IV? That’s uncertain.

Congress has asked that TIGER “focus on road, transit, rail and port projects.” One source says it’s not a ban on bike-ped oriented projects, but that future focus doesn’t help Link Detroit.

In addition, some of the matching funds will likely be spent before the next TIGER round, and therefore will become ineligible.

Detroit had received $25 million in the first round of TIGER grants. That money was to be spent on the Woodward light rail and will now be applied towards planning bus rapid transit. We don’t know what role this previous award and the city’s current financial situation had in this grant request cycle.

No Dequindre Cut Extension?

This does not stop the planned Dequindre Cut extension. The city has a purchase agreement for the private property from Gratiot to Mack and is now doing due diligence. The funding is there to keep moving this project forward.

Eventually the Midtown and Hamtramck connections will be built once the needed funding is found. TIGER III would have put these critical projects on the front burner.

Other Michigan TIGER grants

The only successful TIGER III grant was for $3.6 million to rebuild 2.6 miles of road in St. Clair County which “provides essential access to the County’s only landfill facility.” Yeah, that stinks.

That said, we’re not surprised the MDOT/Canton TIGER request was rejected. This was a $22 million project to improve the IKEA exit on I-275.

The required grant section on Livability appears to have been written in the 1980s or earlier. One claimed project benefit is it will improve the quality of life by having “a safer operational and connected network to and from the surrounding community and the freeway network.” That and they won’t remove the existing bike path.

The grant’s section on Alternative Transportation and Sustainable Development says, Canton is “committed to promoting sustainable development opportunities and alternative transportation options for residents.” Canton opted out of SMART. You cannot take the SMART bus to the IKEA store.

If anything, this is an example of why transportation in Michigan is not a sustainable model. We let a major traffic generator locate in an area which lacks the existing transportation infrastructure to handle it. And now Canton (and MDOT) want taxpayers to fix their $22 million mistake.

IKEA even mentioned in their support letter for this grant that “when IKEA was considering potential locations for our Michigan store, we had strong concerns about the interchange.”

But to be fair, there are other costly expressway exit examples, from the Chrysler headquarters to the Great Lakes Crossing at Baldwin. We have a history of funding mistakes.

The bottom line is Michigan can’t afford to keep ignoring the obvious relationship between land use and transportation.