Posts Tagged ‘Planning’

Birmingham surveys biking and walking interest

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Rebounding after a very public Complete Streets battle over Maple Road, the city of Birmingham is developing a transit and non-motorized transportation plan not unlike what other cities have done in Detroit, Royal Oak, and Novi.

A public survey was used to collect information for the plan. The Birmingham Patch reported the results.

Overall, the survey found that most of the responses were similar to those found in similar communities across the U.S. People want better to bike and walk more.

However, we’re not sure there’s much value in some survey answers. For instance, the survey asks people to evaluate bicycle facilities that don’t exist in the community or even Metro Detroit. How comfortable are you riding in a cycletrack? We’re not sure we could have answered that until we’d spent some time riding them in Montreal earlier this year.

We’d rather see cities just build bike facilities according to best practices and available funding. Best practices include designing the safest option that best meets the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists. That’s basically what’s done for motorized transportation planning.

As an example, a survey of local community residents probably would not have shown much support for the Dequindre Cut before it was built. People vehemently said there would not go into that ditch. It took conceptual drawings, community Q & A meetings, and just building it to change minds. Now the community is asking when it will be extended.

It’s challenging for people to evaluate something they’ve never seen or used, or at least not seen in their community. It takes visionary leaders to absorb the community needs and build the best practices infrastructure to meet them.

Moving forward

This planning effort really shows how Birmingham moving in a positive direction for those who walk and bike. We’re excited to see where it takes them.

Among the communities in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties, Detroit is still at the top for their non-motorized efforts and lengthening their lead on the other cities. With its citywide bike network and improved bike parking, Ferndale is in second. Novi and Royal Oak are stepping up. Birmingham, Warren, Pontiac and Dearborn are making moves — and don’t count out Berkley.

Also, the new Woodward Complete Streets project will help knit many of these efforts together. It’ll be interesting to see where we are a few years down the road — or cycletrack.

Take the Birmingham bike/walk/transit survey

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Press release from the city of Birmingham. Note that the survey is intended for everyone, not just Birmingham residents:

The City of Birmingham is in the initial stages of preparing a multi-modal transportation plan for the City. The plan will help to improve the balance between all modes of transportation, with the goal of making foot, bike and transit travel easier and safer. To help guide the project, a survey has been prepared that will be used to help identify travel patterns, preferred types of improvements and desired project outcomes. The survey takes approximately ten to fifteen minutes to complete. To access the survey please click on the following web link:

Alternatively, paper version of the survey may be obtained at the City Clerk’s office (located on the first floor) and the Planning Department (located on the second floor) at City Hall or the Baldwin Public Library. Completed paper surveys may be returned to the same locations or faxed to 734‐668-8820.

The web survey will close Sunday, November 4th at 11:00 p.m.

The results of the survey will be posted on the project webpage and be presented to the City Commission on November 12th.

Future public input opportunities for the project include: a Visioning Workshop on Thursday, January 17th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., and two Preliminary Plan Open House sessions on Thursday, February 28th from 3:00 to 5:00 and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Visioning Workshop and the Preliminary Plan Open Houses
will be held at the Baldwin Public Library.

For more information on the project please contact:

Susanna Weckerle
Assistant City Planner
Birmingham, Michigan
(248) 530-1846

Or visit the project webpage at

Your time and insights are most appreciated.

Milford Twp: Non-motorized planning session this Saturday

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

From the Charter Township of Milford:

Public Open House – Non-Motorized Planning Session

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 from noon to 2pm

Milford Senior Center, 1050 Atlantic Street

Milford Township would like your input! The Township adopted a resolution supporting Complete Streets in February 2011. A “complete street” is safe, accessible and convenient for all users regardless of transportation mode, age, or physical ability. The Planning Commission is looking to document where you think improvements are needed to provide safe facilities for non-motorized users. Maps of the community will be available and staff will be on hand to talk about non-motorized issues and mark up maps with your ideas to pass along to the Planning Commission.

  • Where should sidewalks or paves shoulders be provided?
  • Should additional trails be built?
  • Are there areas that are unsafe for pedestrians or cyclists?
  • What non-motorized improvements should be a priority?

The session will be set up as an Open House, so no need to commit to the whole 2 hour time slot – just stay to give your input and mark up the maps. If you have ideas and suggestions, but can’t make it to the Open House, please email your comments to Don Green, Township Supervisor at or call 248.685.8731.

Public hearing on Royal Oak non-motorized plan

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Forget your Valentine. It’s time to speak up for improved biking in Royal Oak this Tuesday.

From the Royal Oak Planning Department:

The Planning Commission will be conducting a formal public hearing on the revised Non-Motorized Transportation Plan as an amendment to the city’s Master Plan on Tuesday, February 14, 2012. The public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 211 Williams Street, Royal Oak, Michigan 48068.

Any individual or group interested in the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan is invited to present their view at the public hearing. For those unable to attend, written comments regarding the plan can be mailed to the City of Royal Oak Planning Department, P.O. Box 64, Royal Oak, MI 48068-0064. Comments may also be faxed to (248) 246-3005 or e-mailed to

Link: Royal Oak Non-motorized Transportation Plan

We think this is a very good plan and cyclists should support it.

We do plan on making some suggestions on Tuesday.

  • Adding bike lanes on Main Street from Catalpa south to I-696, including a road diet through the central business district.
  • Reducing the number of signed bike routes, especially those that are short, disconnected, and redundant.

If you cannot attend on Tuesday, please consider sending a email expressing your support to Doug Hedges in the Planning Department.

There has been some concerns about road diets on some of the busier roads. Keep in mind that this plan doesn’t give Engineering carte blanche to make those changes without further study. Traffic studies and perhaps even traffic modeling may be used prior to making changes in order to avoid creating problems.

The Daily Tribune has an article on this planning effort.

If you would love to see friendlier roads for motor-less modes of transportation, you best make your way to City Hall on Tuesday.

Don’t worry. Your Valentine will understand.

Royal Oak non-motorized plan updates

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The Draft Royal Oak Non-motorized Plan was forwarded by the Planning Commission to the City Commission on September 13th. On Monday the City Commission will decide whether to approve the plan for distribution to adjacent communities, MDOT, SEMCOG, and others. After a 63-day comment period, the Planning Commission can hold a formal public hearing and decide whether to adopt the plan. The City Commission may assert their right to approve or reject the plan.

Confused yet?

The city staff did send a letter to the Commission which provides an overview and these concerns expressed by the Engineering department.

The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan includes recommendations for both road diets with bike lanes and shared-lane markings on various streets throughout the city. Questions arose after we received the plan regarding proposed road diets for Twelve Mile Road, Thirteen Mile Road, Fourteen Mile Road, Crooks Road, and Main Street. The Engineering Department indicated that road diets would not be suitable on these roads due to their traffic volumes and would therefore not support them. The Active Transportation Alliance disagrees and feels road diets would be suitable for these streets. As a compromise, the plan states that if traffic volumes preclude a full road diet on any of these streets, then shared-lane markings could be installed as an alternative.

The traffic volumes do support some of engineering’s concerns. However, Crooks Road and Main Street look very different throughout their length. Crooks Road north of 13 Mile might not be suitable for a road diet, whereas it might south of 13 Mile. Main Street through the central business district is ripe for a road diet, as are the portions north of 12 Mile into Clawson — where it has already been road dieted successfully.

During the past couple weeks, there have been at least a few news stories about the plan, the latter of which made the front page.

Royal Oak City Commission Candidates

League of Women Voters recently held a forum for Royal Oak Commission candidates. One question for the candidates was, “What is your opinion of the non-motorized plan?”

The Royal Oak Patch covered the event and has their responses to this question. All of the candidates voiced their support for the non-motorized plan, though some were quick to offer caveats as well.

Here’s what we think of the responses:

  • Kyle DuBuc: We think this was among the best responses, and as mentioned before, he supports Complete Streets.
  • Mike Fournier: We’re not clear what he means by doing it “the right way” and “benchmark, benchmark, benchmark.” Who’s made their community more bike friendly and walkable the wrong way?
  • George Gomez: Another good response, and he’s right. Bike friendliness and walkability are already in the master plan.
  • Peggy Godwin: She’s a “huge proponent” but with an eye toward being fiscally realistic. That makes sense.
  • Rick Karlowski: This seems to be the least supportive answer of the group. Road diets are not “extremely expensive” nor do they “shut down major thouroughfares.”
  • Bill Shaw: Somewhere among the nostalgia is a brief note of support.
  • Scott Warheit: We agree. This plan is merely a great start and we need to continue community engagement.

Have you read the plan? What are your thoughts?