Posts Tagged ‘Ford’

Detroit Bike Shorts for June 7th

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Here are various bike-related updates from around the state and Metro Detroit area —

Model D Speaker Series: Urban Mobility

If you missed this event, don’t worry. Jason Rzucidlo has a nice writeup with photos.

Of course, Model D also covered the event.

Marja Winters, deputy director of the city’s Planning and Development department, said non-motorized transit options are an essential component to the mayor’s Detroit Works Project. Credit the growing movement across the country to urban areas, often for the diversity of options a city affords. “The quality of place is becoming the number one determining factor,” she said. “And ranking high in the decision-making process is the notion of alternative forms of transit.”

We probably would not have heard similar quotes from Detroit’s planning department just a few years ago. This really signals the great deal of progress and increased awareness that has happened during that time.

Bicycle Friendly State rankings

Michigan continues to drop in the state rankings developed by the League of American Bicyclists. The Mitten state is now ranked 22nd and was given a “D”.

This 10 spot drop since 2008 is likely attributable to new ranking criteria and the lack of progress in key areas — progress that other states have made. Michigan received an “F” score in the categories of Infrastructure, Evaluation & Planning, and Enforcement.

Ride challenge for MDOT Director

With the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood biking to work yesterday, we suggested MDOT’s Director Kirk Steudle could do the same via Twitter.

@michigandot OK Director Steudle. You’re next and please post pics

MDOT responded with “I forwarded your tweet to Dir. Steudle to let him know. Thanks! ”

GM’s Akerson calls for fuel tax increase

The unwillingness in Washington DC and Lansing to increase fuel taxes has helped led to a transportation funding crisis. (Yeah, sprawl and the lack of regional planning in Metro Detroit are factors as well.)

Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated for a fuel tax increase. Now, so to has GM’s CEO Dan Akerson according to this Detroit News article.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

“You know what I’d rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said.

“People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

An increased fuel tax can also encourage more people to bike, walk, and use public transit, while providing improved funding.

I-275 Metro Trail

There was a reopening ceremony for a portion of the I-275 bike path on Saturday. We weren’t there, but the Detroit Free Press was. The I-275 path will continue to be expanded northward as the southern portion is rebuilt and reopened. You can stray up to date with the progress by visiting the Friends of the I-275 Pathway on Facebook.

Michigan Airlines Rail-Trail

The Spinal Column is reporting that the Surface Transportation Board has denied a quick abandonment for the rail corridor that many hope will soon become a trail.

STB board members denied Michigan Air-Line Railway’s petition because it didn’t “provide the Board with sufficient evidence regarding the revenues and costs associated with the line, thereby making it impossible to determine what burden, if any, (Michigan Air-Line) Railway incurs in continuing to operate the line.”

Nevertheless, Michigan Air-Line Railway still hopes to get the STB’s approval to abandon the railroad, therefore allowing the trail project to move forward.

“We’re still moving forward with the grant applications,” said Commerce Township Planner Kathleen Jackson. “The NRTF board doesn’t make the grant decision until December, and (Michigan Air-Line Railway) hopes to have an answer by then.”

We do hope this gets resolved prior to the Natural Resource Trust Fund grant decision is made in December. This is the third attempt at getting this grant which will help pay for most of the property.

Southwest Detroit sustainability planning

Monday, March 21st, 2011

The Detroit Free Press published an interesting story on a Lawrence Tech (LTU) project which looked at making Southwest Detroit energy self-sufficient.

That planning involved creating energy as well as reducing current usage by encouraging more energy efficient transportation. In other words, more public transit, more walkability, more greenways, and more bike lanes.

Other tactics suggested by the team include creating more public transit and more green infrastructure, like the planned extension of the RiverWalk west of downtown.

Still other aspects of the project include mapping sites where higher-density, mixed-used development might create a more walkable urban environment.

The LTU team is working with the Southwest Detroit Development Collaborative, a coalition of more than a dozen community nonprofit groups. Kathy Wendler, president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, said the LTU project dovetails with other greening projects under way, like the bicycle lanes and energy-efficient street lights planned along West Vernor.

This project was funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. According to the article, previous grants  “supported a bike-sharing program in Atlanta.”

Tuesday Media: Bikes in the news

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Let’s Save Michigan

Bike to Work day received some coverage on the Let’s Save Michigan web site, hosted by the Michigan Municipal League.

It was great to see so many people, despite the less than perfect weather, bike to work or wherever they were going and prove that Michigan’s roads aren’t just for cars. Once we start designing our transportation system to accommodate users beyond cars, we’ll be able to develop the more walkable and desirable communities that people want to live, work and play in.

The Let’s Save Michigan campaign is teaming up with the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition to move forward to policy that will help develop the state policies that will develop a better, safer and more accommodating transportation system for Michigan. The Coalition includes groups such as AARP, the League of Michigan Bicyclists, and the Michigan Environmental Council.

The web site includes many photos from events around the state.

The 10 Things You MUST Do

Metromode has a list of The 10 Things You MUST Do Outside In Metro Detroit This Summer. Riding with Ferndale’s Defying the Law Bike Club made the list.

If Marlon Brando in The Wild One got sick of motorcycles, got a bike and developed a taste for garage sales and microbrews, he would so be in this club. It’s a cool mix of professionals, students, blue collar, and artsy types who meet up in Ferndale every Saturday to bike around and see what they can find going on or going down, whatever the case may be.

Worried you’re not exactly in shape for a bike club? No worries. “If anyone wants to ride, they just have to show up,” says Mike Kawamoto of Berkley, who has been a member of the group for three years. “It’s usually a pretty casual-paced ride.”

Ford to measure suppliers’ carbon footprints

The Detroit News is reporting on Ford’s recent announcement as part of their efforts to reduce their carbon emissions by 30% by 2020.

And although it doesn’t mention biking to work, that is one strategy for reducing a company’s carbon footprint.

Ford Motor Co. said today it will begin surveying its largest suppliers to find out how much energy they use and how much greenhouse gases they emit.

It’s part of a broader effort to reduce the carbon footprint of Ford’s global automobile manufacturing operations.

The Dearborn automaker said it ultimately plans to use the data to establish carbon-reduction goals for its suppliers.

“Suppliers play an important role as we look to reduce our overall carbon footprint and drive more efficiency in an energy constrained world,” said Tony Brown, Ford group vice president in charge of global purchasing.

Of course, we would prefer they “bike more efficiency” rather than drive, but it is Ford.

Road of Tomorrow wasn’t a Complete Street

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

The Henry Ford has been uploading archived footage from their collection to YouTube. Their most recent upload was from the 1940 New York World’s Fair. It shows their “Road of Tomorrow” which looks more like an elevated expressway, though the cars are going quite slowly. Ford was certainly pitching the idea of more car-only roads.

This is the same World’s Fair where GM unveiled Futurama, a more elaborate model for highways in America.

GM also documented their exhibit through this gem from Jam Handy: