Posts Tagged ‘Pontiac’

How to make Pontiac more walkable and bike-able

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Clinton_River_Trail is routed away from the downtown Pontiac businesses -- and on sidewalks

How can the city of Pontiac’s transportation network be improved so that it brings more business and life to the downtown?

A public meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, March 17th from 10am until noon at the Crofoot Ballroom to discuss that.

This Oakland Press article has more information:

Oakland County planners are trying to figure out ways to attract traffic into downtown Pontiac, rather than have traffic diverted around the downtown district.

The public is invited to attend a meeting with local government officials, planners, residents and business owners to discuss how to fix what many argue has become a barrier for the neighborhoods and surrounding communities.

The group also has been examining the city’s transportation links, assets and past planning documents.

The data, along with input from residents, will create an action plan for the Woodward Loop and to improve the city’s streets, sidewalks and bike path system.

Here’s one obvious suggestion: Stop routing the Clinton River Trail around the downtown. The trail should go through the main downtown business area using the roads.

It shouldn’t be routed on sidewalks. Besides ignoring the downtown businesses, the trail design ignores best practices.

 

Clinton River Trail bridge under construction

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

The Friends of the Clinton River Trail have posted some very exciting construction photos of the Clinton River Trail bridge over Telegraph Road in Pontiac.

According to the Friends site, “Progress is being made on the bridge, with the ramps set and the first steel spans in place… Engineers say they are on track to have the bridge open by sometime in June!”

For more information and many more construction photos, visit the Friends of the Clinton River Trail blog site.

MDOT to finish Clinton River Trail bridge in Pontiac

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

According to MDOT, the new trail bridge over Telegraph should be open by mid-June:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2011

CONTACT: Rob Morosi, MDOT Office of Communications, 248-483-5127

Bridging the gap! Clinton River Trail pedestrian overpass construction begins Monday, Feb. 28, in Oakland County

February 22, 2011 – The first phase of a $2 million investment to construct a pedestrian overpass above US-24 (Telegraph Road) may begin as early as Monday, Feb. 28, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The new bridge will be constructed just north of the Orchard Lake Road overpass located at the Sylvan Lake/Pontiac border.

Due to the space limitations, lane closures will be needed on both directions of US-24 until mid-March. Weather permitting, crews will implement single and double-lane closures starting Monday, Feb.28 and lasting until Monday, March 14. Lane closures will begin on southbound US-24 and proceed to northbound US-24 during the latter part of the week.

For southbound US-24, a single lane may be closed weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. As needed, crews may close an additional southbound lane outside of those peak travel times.

For northbound US-24, a single lane may be closed weekdays from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. Two-lane closures are permitted outside of the peak afternoon time period.

In order to safely install steel beams above US-24, full closures are expected on the first two Saturdays in March. On Saturday, March 5, southbound Telegraph Road will be closed, while on Saturday, March 12, northbound US-24 will be closed. The full closures will begin at 7 a.m. and end by 3 p.m. on both days. Detours will direct traffic to Old Telegraph Road.

Pedestrians can expect to enjoy the newly constructed overpass by mid-June. This project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Pontiac gets a TIGER II grant

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The U.S. DOT announced the 75 winning transportation projects for the $600 million in TIGER II funding.

There were 1,000 applications asking for a total of $19 billion, so this was very competitive.

The good news is the city of Pontiac received a planning grant.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Carl Levin (D-MI) today announced that the City of Flint will receive $1,570,233, Grand Traverse County will receive $395,000, and the City of Pontiac will receive $300,000 to promote economic development. The grants were announced as part of a joint funding collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The funding will boost local economic development by increasing access to affordable housing, redeveloping land, and investing in transportation infrastructure.

“This funding is critical to helping Flint, Grand Traverse County, and Pontiac create new jobs,” said Stabenow. “These grants will help our local communities increase access to affordable housing, redevelop land, and make important transportation improvements which will foster greater economic development.”

The City of Pontiac will use the TIGER II Planning Grant to help connect downtown, the Pontiac Transportation Center, regional trail system, and surrounding neighborhoods.

It’s important that bicycling advocates get involved in this planning process. Previous work with MDOT and Pontiac to extend the Clinton River Trail into downtown was poorly conceived. It signed a bicycle route on sidewalks in clear disregard of best practices and the AASHTO design guidelines.

Instead, they should be planning for Complete Streets, bike parking, and much more. We need to make sure they get that message.

The bad news is Detroit’s TIGER II grant application for the Inner Circle Greenway did not get funded. The request was on the high-side of $30 million and would have basically extended the Dequindre Cut around the city of Detroit. It included connections with Hamtramck and Highland Park. While portions would have used bike lanes, much of the route would be on an abandoned Conrail corridor.

But all hope for this project is not lost. MTGA is continuing discussions with the Conrail about converting this approximately 12-mile corridor into a trail. There are other funding sources that could pay for portions of this project, albeit in a more incremental fashion.

And there may be a TIGER III.

But it’s also a positive sign that in a city with so many infrastructure needs, they to chose to seek funding for this greenway project.

With the ongoing Complete Streets project, many miles of new greenways and bike lanes, the city has never been more in lockstep with the efforts of area non-profits to make Detroit more walkable and more bike friendly.

Opposition to the Clinton River Trail bridge funding

Monday, October 4th, 2010

There has been a national discussion on the merits of stimulus funding. In response, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has traveled among transportation projects and noted how they’ve benefited from stimulus funding.

Locally, the Oakland Press has been covering public opposition to the Clinton River Trail bridge in Pontiac. Unfortunately the newspaper seems more interested in being a soapbox for the uninformed.

“They could have awarded that $2 million as a tax credit for a developer,” he said, maybe enticing a department store to take over the massive empty space. “That would create permanent jobs.”

No, they couldn’t. This is federal transportation dollars with very specific strings attached. To think MDOT could convert this to a tax credit for a Wallmart is asinine. It’s media stories such as this that help give life to these unrealistic opinions — not once, but twice.

(In fact in their first article, the Oakland Press incorrectly reported that there is no trail on the east side of the bridge. We spoke with an attendee at Arts, Beats, and Eats who called this the bridge to nowhere, an impression that they could have gotten from reading this initial article.)

“The trail could have gone straight along sidewalks on the south side of Orchard  Lake Road,” she said, “and (stimulus) money could have improved the aesthetics on the Orchard Lake Road corridor and people would still have had a bike trail.”

No, it couldn’t. This transportation stimulus funding was for “shovel ready” projects. Neither of those mentioned were even planned. Besides, it would be against best practices and the national design guidelines to put cyclists on a sidewalk because it’s unsafe.

“Why didn’t stimulus money go toward cutting dead trees?”

Apparently the dead tree cutting lobby in DC just ain’t what it used to be. They didn’t bring home the bacon.

Dear Oakland Press,  If you want to publish articles about whether economic stimulus funding is philosophically good or bad, that’s fine. But, don’t hold the Clinton River Trail bridge hostage by publishing unworkable, unrealistic, if not impossible alternatives without letting your readers know why these aren’t alternatives at all. The true alternative to the bridge is for MDOT to have spent this money on a non-motorized transportation somewhere else.

Is it really about race?

There was significant opposition to the Clinton River Trail in Sylvan Lake when it was first proposed.

From what we saw first hand, that opposition was largely based on race.  Sylvan Lake had closed roads and created barriers between itself and their pre-dominantly black Pontiac neighbors to the east. The trail threatened to create a non-motorized path that would connect those two communities.

At one Sylvan Lake city council meeting a resident said “those people” would use the trail to break into their garage and steal their snowblower.

A Pontiac resident smartly responded by asking the question: Why would anyone walk more than a mile, take your snowblower, then push it another mile back? Why wouldn’t they just drive?

And now that the Clinton River Trail bridge is being built — the final connection between these two communities — we can’t help but wonder if this race issue is at least partially to blame to fueling this discussion.

Of course, we’re not counting on the local media to look into it.