Posts Tagged ‘Natural Resources Trust Fund’

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…)

2012 Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund Grants

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The 2012 recommendations for Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund grants have been announced. There were just five in Southeast Michigan.

  1. Macomb County – Shelby Township, Riverbends Park to Macomb Orchard Trail Connection - $300,000 – Development to include trail connection from Riverbends Park to Orchard Trail.
  2. Macomb County – City of New Baltimore, County Line Road non-Motorized Pedestrian Path – $116,000 – Development to include completing the remaining section of pathway on County Line Road from the Crapeau Creek to Main Street.
  3. Macomb County – City of Fraser, McKinley Barrier-Free Park Improvements – $300,000 – Development to include universally-accessible barrier-free parking lot, sidewalk, walking path, basketball court and site amenities.
  4. Washtenaw County – City of Ypsilanti, River’s Edge Linear Park and Trail Development – $300,000 – Development to include multi-use trail, plaza, fishing pier, river overlook, signage and site amenities.
  5. Wayne County – City of Dearborn, Rouge River Gateway Trail Extension – $280,000 – Development to include 1/4-mile trail extension of the Rouge River Gateway Trail to connect to Ford Field Park.

This information is just the overview so it’s not easy determining exactly what each project entails.

The first couple Macomb county grants are for their 70-mile loop. The Shelby Township portion is part of the critical trail connecting the Metro Parkway to the Macomb Orchard Trail, Clinton River Trail, and Paint Creek Trails.

Many years ago Riverbends Park and Bloomer Park were the Rochester-Utica State Park. There used to be an old wooden bridge across the Clinton River that connected the two portions of the state park near the Yates Cider Mill. Governor Engler sold the state park to the city of Rochester Hills and Shelby Township. With the bridge falling into disrepair, it was eventually removed.

We’d much prefer seeing a new bridge rather than a sidepath along Avon Road and an unsafe crossing at 23 Mile Road. However, we also recognize that the sidepath would be completely within Macomb County and that does make implementation more expedient.

Rouge Gateway Extension

The Dearborn grant is welcomed news. Getting to the Rouge Gateway Trail head at Andiamo’s is not easily accomplished by bicycle at this time. Connecting to Ford Field makes a great deal of sense. Of course, connecting the Rouge Gateway down to Fort Street makes even more sense but has a much bigger price tag.

Of course these grants are merely recommendations at this point. In the past, the Michigan legislation simply passed the recommendations without politicizing the process. That all changed last year, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Commerce rail-trail section gets critical funding

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Three is a charm for the Commerce, Walled Lake and Wixom rail-trail.

After two previous rejections, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund recommended they receive a $3,755,400 grant to acquire the now-abandoned rail corridor which runs between the West Bloomfield Trail and the Huron Valley Trail in Wixom.

This near 33 acres provides a critical connection between the two trails mentions, but especially in the context of the Great Lake to Lake Trail which connects St. Clair to Lake Michigan. This new trail would also connect with the planned M-5 Trail which is a northern?extension?to the I-275 Metro Trail.

The funding also includes acquisition of the?Walled Lake Train Depot which would be used as a historic stopping point along the route.

Other projects in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties were recommended:

  • City of Dearborn (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $268,900 to develop a new bridge across the Huron River on the Camp Dearborn non-motorized trail with a fishing pier and canoe launch.
  • City of Detroit (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $300,000 for improvements to Jayne-Lasky Playfield, including development of walking trails, relocation of a soccer field, renovations to two softball diamonds, landscaping improvements and site amenities.
  • City of Detroit (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $300,000 for improvements to Lipke Playfield, including relocation of a football field, conversion of open space, horseshoe courts, renovation of a softball diamond, walking trails, landscaping and site amenities.
  • Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (Oakland County) is recommended to receive $94,000 for improvements to Kensington Metropark to include a pond overlook, replace a seawall, walks and railing, group seating area, interpretive signage, viewing scopes and accessibility to pond dipping programs.
  • City of Inkster (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to construct a trail within the Lower Rouge Parkway System.
  • City of Lathrup Village (Oakland County) is recommended to receive $50,000 to replace playground equipment at Goldengate Park.
  • Oakland Township (Oakland County) is recommended to receive $300,000 to develop a paved trail, boardwalks, pedestrian bridges, interpretive/directional signage and fishing access on the Paint Creek Trail/Polly Ann Trail south connector.
  • Southeast Michigan Eco-Region Consolidation is recommended to receive $1,475,000 for the acquisition of critical in-holdings within existing boundaries in state parks and recreation areas, state game areas, state harbors and Natural Rivers areas.

 

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  http://t.co/hVNYoFs

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.

Third time a charm for Wixom-area Rail-Trail?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

As reported in the Spinal Column, Wixom, Walled Lake, and Commerce and looking to apply for Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund monies for a third time.

The Michigan Airline Railway property spans from West Bloomfield Township to the western city limits of Wixom and is considered the missing link in a trail that traverses the county and connects to a cross-state corridor spanning the Lower Peninsula.

The target 5.33 miles of Michigan Airline Railway corridor crossing the trailway council communities would be converted into a non-motorized recreational trail to link the Huron Valley and West Bloomfield trail segments.

“Our resolution emphasis is on the acquisition of the property at and surrounding the Walled Lake depot and including the depot,” [Wixom city manager Mike] Dornan said.

This grant request was denied in 2009 when there was no commitment for the required matching funds from MDOT.

Last year it was rejected due to protests of a local business still using the line. According to the Trust Fund minutes, “Chairperson Muchmore responded he feels this proposed trail project has some loose ends that need to be resolved.”

The Spinal Column reports that the local business issue has been resolved and that this section of railroad is being formally abandoned this summer.

…the railroad owner has filed a petition for exemption which would lead to the abandonment of the railway, which has led the trailway council to try again.

“The three communities now feel we are on better ground now that the railroad will be abandoned,” [trailway council administrator Kathleen] Jackson said.

We sure hope so. This is a critical link locally, regionally, and statewide. It is part of the Great Lake to Lake Trail (formerly known as the Michigan Airline Trail.)

Also, the Spinal Column supported this rail-trail in this editorial.

LinkMichigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Nov. 2010 minutes (PDF)