Posts Tagged ‘Faye Alexander Nelson’

Faye Nelson: Leading the RiverWalk effort

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Continuing the topic of woman leading biking and walking improvements, BLAC Detroit magazine has this article on the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy‘s director, Faye Nelson.

One most impressive aspects of the RiverWalk is its public-private partnership model. We wouldn’t be able to bike or walk along much of the river if not for the Kresge Foundation, General Motors, DNR, MDOT, and many others. This is touched on during Nelson’s interview.

How do you respond to people who feel the focus on the riverfront is at the expense of other parts of the city?

No city tax dollars have been used. The Conservancy is a non-profit that has formed a public / private partnership. Private partnerships include the Kresge Foundation and its $50 million grant. There is the public collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources for Milliken State Park and Harbor, just to the west of Chene Park, the first urban state park in Michigan. Then there are the corporate contributions, like General Motors that spent $500 million renovating the Ren Cen, including building a riverfront plaza that it then donated to the Conservancy.

There is research showing the RiverFront is attracting people downtown, and they spend money downtown. Development is attracted to downtown by the RiverFront. We’re proud to say this project is helping to revitalize and sustain the entire city.

There is a minor downside to being so successful in getting private funding for biking and walking trails. When groups like the Alliance for Biking and Walking compile funding numbers to compare cities, they ignore private funding. That $50 million Kresge RiverWalk investment? General Motor’s $25 million RiverWalk investment? The Alliance purposely does not include that funding in their report and it makes Detroit look bad. That’s just one reason why groups like MTGA and others have declined to participate in their future reports.

Detroit bike shorts: Updates from around the city

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Google Bike Directions

If you use Google Maps to get a bike route between Detroit and Windsor, it will give you directions to use the Tunnel. Of course the Tunnel is not open to cyclists so we alerted Google and they are in the process of correcting that.

Southwest Detroit

We recently heard from the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) that construction on the Corktown/Mexicantown/West Vernor Greenlinks are on schedule and are close to moving to bid. “Construction is still scheduled for this spring/summer.”

Also on the Southwest side of Detroit, Model D is reporting on a planned Beard Park expansion led by the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI). The plans call for a pump track. We helped connect Miss Cory Coffey — a BMX World Champion now living in Detroit — with this project. Beard Park is located north of W. Fort Street and a couple blocks east of Woodmere.

Detroit to Muskegon bike route

The League of Michigan Bicyclists has compiled input from cyclists to create a bicycle route from Detroit to Musekgon. The PDF route is on-line and it is very large at 27 megabytes.

RiverWalk’s Faye Nelson

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy President Faye Nelson received the 24th Soul and Spirit Humanitarian Award from Judge Damon Keith. Nelson also recently recognized by Grio as a History Maker in the Making for her RiverWalk efforts. “Nelson’s work has brought over $100 million to the area and renewed interest in the once-struggling neighborhood, becoming not just a beautification project, but a rallying point for the community.”

Reimagining Livernois

A Free Press editorial discusses the planning efforts to revitalize Livernois Avenue in Northwest Detroit.

Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use gathered in northwest Detroit. The urban planners, developers, city managers and architects spent four days generating ideas to turn the Livernois corridor — from 6 Mile to St. Martins, north of 7 Mile — into a thriving urban main street that could meet the retail and entertainment needs of one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. Similar Urban Land Institute efforts will take place this year in Charlotte, Sacramento and Houston.

One of the group’s conclusions is to make the street more bike friendly with traffic calming and bike paths. The relatively new boulevard, while improving pedestrian and vehicle safety, does limit the options for on-road bike facilities. There may not be enough room for bike lanes. Sharrows would be an alternative. And while sharrows may not make the road comfortable for less experienced cyclists, it should be possible to make the parallel residential streets more bike friendly.

Ordonez bikes

As many Red Wings have done, Detroit Tiger Magglio Ordonez now includes biking, including mountain biking in his training regimen.

[Alex] Avila noted how Ordonez would occasionally be a few minutes late for the workouts, only to have a pretty good excuse.

“We’d say, ‘Where have you been,'” Avila said. “‘Oh, I was riding my bike 15 miles.'”

Ordonez’s workout regimen drew attention last year, when his program was compared to that of a football player. But he also got into bicycle riding, especially mountain bikes.

It looks like the Tigers are at home for the 2011 Tour de Troit weekend… You in, Maggio?

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy looks west

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Earlier this month we attended a public meeting in Southwest Detroit to discuss the westward expansion of the Detroit RiverWalk. This would be the 2-mile segment of RiverWalk from Joe Louis to West Grand Boulevard/Riverside Park.

The interest was very high as the room quickly filled to standing room only.

The initial plans looked great to us. This portion of the RiverWalk would look more like Belle Isle than the often hard-surfaced RiverWalk East. This is due in part to the larger land holdings, including the old Free Press printing plant site and Riverside Park. Of course the railyard in between adds a significant challenge.

It was noted that being able to bike and walk under the Ambassador Bridge would be quite a sight and quite a unique draw. It was good to see Dan Stamper of the Detroit Bridge Company in attendance to show their apparent support of the RiverWalk West concept.

A recent Model D article also added:

Faye Alexander Nelson, president and CEO of the Conservancy, had to remind the audience on several occasions that the planning is beginning now and the community will be a big component of the process.

“This will be challenging,” [Conservancy Chair Matt] Cullen says. “But a real exciting opportunity.”

The Conservancy says they’ll continue to have public meetings as the process for the West Riverfront moves a long.

Raising the millions in funding for this project is a major task, but the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has a track record of getting it done. We see no reason why this won’t come to fruition.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy CEO wins award

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The Detroit Free Press has some nice behind-the-scenes coverage of Faye Alexander Nelson, CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy — the group responsible for the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut.

Nelson speaks with pride and pleasure as she points out various attractions — the RiverWalk’s patio-pretty pavement dotted with parks, pavilions, play spaces and gardens; docking space for boats at Michigan’s first urban state park, and a paved trail that officially opened Thursday that allows people to go by foot, bike or Rollerblade from near the river to the Dequindre Cut, a former railroad track transformed into a nonmotorized trail.

It’s fitting that Nelson is at the helm of that bridge-to-bridge development. People who know her say she is indeed a bridge builder, uniting a diverse group of people behind the $300-million-plus project that is an undeniable bright spot in the issues-saddled city of Detroit.

“She has been a forceful and integral part of transforming Detroit’s riverfront into something spectacular,” said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., spokesman for the Michigan Environmental Council, which awarded Nelson the William and Helen Milliken Award for Distinguished Service on Wednesday.

And speaking of the RiverWalk, it’s home once again to the 2010 Detroit River Days event, which begins this Friday and runs through Sunday. River Days includes the Green Path (presented by Bank of America), which is numerous of environmental groups at Milliken State Park. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA) has a booth where you can get the latest information on Detroit biking and walking news. You will also be able to register your support for a Complete Streets policy in the city of Detroit.

And River Days wraps up with one of the world’s largest fireworks displays at 10:06pm on Monday. Afterwards, vehicular traffic is at a standstill which means it’s a perfect to bike to. It seems many more Detroiters are biking to the fireworks each year, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s faster.