Posts Tagged ‘Rouge Gateway’

TAP grants fund local bicycle and trail projects

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

The current Federal Transportation bill made many changes to how we fund non-motorized projects. One major change was the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) functionally replaced the old Transportation Enhancements (TE) program. The bill also required MDOT to share that TAP funding to groups like SEMCOG that would make grants within their seven county region.

At the national level, this sharing was considered a “win”. In Michigan, MDOT did a fair job with TE funding, so this may be a negative since it adds complexity and requires advocates to monitor two separate granting programs.

Either way, the first round of SEMCOG TAP grant funding has been announced — a total of $6.3 million in grants:

  • City of New Baltimore, Connection to the County Line Rd. Path, $183,016
  • City of Monroe, North Dixie Highway Median, $80,000
  • City of Auburn Hills, Opdyke Pathway Gaps, $267,475
  • City of Auburn Hills, Downtown Riverwalk Squirrel Ct Improvements, $194,589
  • City of Ferndale, Livernois Complete Street, $118,094.40
  • City of Ferndale, West Nine Mile Streetscape Improvement (Livernois to Pinecrest) Phase IV, $590,134
  • City of Novi, Metro Connector Trail, $741,200
  • City of Rochester, Safety Crossing, $99,970
  • St. Clair County Road Commission, Bridge to Bay Trail on Desmond Landing, $211,339
  • City of Port Huron, Bridge to Bay trail – 10th Street to Military Street, $250,614
  • Ypsilanti Twp (Road Commission for Washtenaw County), Grove Road trail reconstruction, $763,000
  • City of Allen Park, Ecorse Road Streetscape, $626,883
  • City of Dearborn, Proposed Rouge River Greenway Extension Project- UM Dearborn Connection, $242,830
  • City of Dearborn, Rouge River Gateway Trail Extension Phase I, $302,000
  • City of Detroit, West Vernor / Woodmere to Clark Streetscape, $1,000,000
  • City of Detroit, Congress Streetscape, $636,310

Our favorite? Ferndale’s Livernois Complete Street project will provide bike lanes and more to improve the cycling connection between Ferndale (at 9 Mile) and Detroit. The city of Detroit is also looking at improvements to Livernois south of Eight Mile. When completed, this will provide a nice route between the University District/Sherwood Forest neighborhoods and downtown Ferndale.

We also like Dearborn’s extension of the Rouge Gateway Trail from Andiamo’s Restaurant and westward. Ending in a restaurant parking lot on a busy Michigan Avenue is far from ideal. Continuing the trail to the nearby neighborhood and park is a great idea.

Many of the other projects are wide sidewalks and sidepaths along roads. With the exception of Novi’s project (which connects two MDOT trails), it’s disappointing to see these projects funded from a limited source. We think the cities should pay for sidewalks and sidepaths, especially since in so many cases they less safe and more costly than other options.

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.

Fordson Island: A key greenway connection

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The Detroit News is reporting about an initial clean up of Fordson Island in the Rouge River.

As noted in the article, the island is part of greenway connection between Hines Drive/Rouge Gateway and the Southwest Detroit Greenlink/Corktown.

A conceptual master plan from 2002 shows the Rouge Gateway continuing to follow the Rouge downstream. Currently the Gateway trail ends at Michigan Avenue, but with this plan it would extend southeast to the Fort Street bridge over the river. Fordson Island is directly upstream from that bridge.

And  as we mentioned a couple years ago, the Marathon Oil Company, the island’s primary land owner, wants to donate it for public greenspace. And that pledge to donate the land meant a proposed change to the master plans. That change is to shift the trail from the east river bank to the west and have the trail go across the island.

This connection could really spur economic development — even if it only connects those hungry cyclists on Hines Drive with the awesome Southwest Detroit taquerias.

Metro Times Best Of Awards

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

The Metro Times recently published their Best Of awards.  Detroit trails and bicycling walked away with a number of awards.

Perhaps the most unexpected was the award for Next best thing to light rail for Detroit.  The winner was the Detroit non-motorized transportation master plan.

Working quietly last month, Detroit City Council heard and approved the Detroit Non-Motorized Transportation Master Plan. That sounds deathly dull, but it’s actually exciting news for the pedalists among us. Though the state had vowed to commit funds to cycling initiatives in Detroit, and Detroit’s Traffic Engineering Department had signed off on the endeavor, the plan had never been brought before council for its approval — something MDOT needed before it would help move things forward. The plan ought to get cyclists pumped: It will track cycling destinations across Detroit with an eye to connecting them with a network of bike trails, lanes and greenways, calling for as many as 400 miles of bike lanes across the city. The plan’s organizers believe lanes could be painted down during normal MDOT road maintenance. And for groups wanting bike lanes in their neck of the woods, working in tandem with the city means it won’t be the uphill slog it used to be.

Wow!

Here are the rest of the awards.

Metro Times People’s Poll

BEST BICYCLING PATH OR TRAIL
Dequindre Cut

BEST PLACE TO ADD BICYCLING PATH OR TRAIL
Woodward Avenue

BEST MOUNTAIN BIKING
Pontiac Recreation Area

BEST ROAD TO PRETEND YOU’RE LANCE ARMSTRONG
Hines Drive

BEST DETROIT RIVERFRONT ATTRACTION
RiverWalk

Read more about each People Poll winner at the Metro Times.

Metro Times Staff Picks

DETROIT’S BEST STEP FORWARD
Detroit’s RiverWalk

BEST WAY TO SUPPORT RIVERWALK
Buy a brick

NEXT BEST THING TO LIGHT RAIL FOR DETROIT
City Bicycling Plan

BEST PROJECT OF 2008 WE’RE STILL WAITING TO BE FINISHED
Dequindre Cut Bicycle Path

BEST URBAN GETAWAY
University of Michigan-Dearborn natural area (and Rouge Gateway Trail)

Read more about the Staff Pick’s at the Metro Times.

This Week in Detroit Biking

Friday, October 24th, 2008

It’s been a busy week for bike advocacy and promotion in Detroit this week, which explains the lack of new entries on m-bike.  My job with the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance take precedence over the blog!

So here’s a brief recap of some highlights.

Downriver Trails

The Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative met to provide updates throughout the Downriver area.  In summary, there’s a lot going on from Monroe to the Detroit’s southwest border.  Some of the major trail efforts include:

  • I-275 bike path revitalization
  • Pathway connections along the Huron River
  • The Downriver Delta project – a partnership to connect Southwest Detroit with its neighboring communities
  • Humburg Marsh International Wildlife Refuge
  • All the water trail (a.k.a. blueway) efforts along the Detroit, Huron, Rouge and other area rivers.

Woodbridge Greenway

A couple University of Michigan students are continuing work to look at possible greenways within Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood.  We discussed many possibilities within the neighbor as well as how it could connect with the Corktown/Mexicantown Greenlink, Midtown Loop, and Wayne State University.  This has huge potential.  Woodbridge is a very cool neighborhood.

Model D Speaker Series

Scott Clein from Giffels-Webster gave a great presentation at the Russell Industrial Center on Tuesday.  He spoke along side John Hertel from the Regional Transportation Coordinating Council.  Yes, it was well-received, but what I found so positive is that we (cyclists and peds) got equal billing with some major transportation leaders.

Rouge 08

This annual event is far more than trails and greenways.  It’s overriding theme is the Rouge Watershed.  Still, trails are a part of efforts to improve the Rouge.  They provide recreation, but also build stewardship by providing access to these valuable regional resources.  If the public doesn’t have access to them, they’re much less likely to become stewards and advocates for their protection.

A couple highlights stuck out at this event.

First, Marathon Oil committed to making their two-thirds ownerships of Fordson Island a greenspace.  This is great news.  Fordson Island sits in the Rouge River just north of the Fort Street bridge.  We had hoped to extend the Rouge Gateway across the island, and this announcement makes that hope much more realistic.

Second, we have some great grassroots groups within the Rouge watershed.  Three addressed the group at Rouge 08: ACCESS, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV), and the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA).

Lisa Goldstein from SDEV discussed many of the environmental issues facings Southwest Detroit, including the new bridge proposals.  Lisa deserves some big thanks for submitting excellent comments on MDOT’s bridge proposal.  Her comments noted the need to non-motorized access to Canada, as well as access within the bridge/expressway area.

Kathy Wendler from SDBA gave an excellent presentation on a vision for extending the Rouge Gateway around the Fort Street Bridge and Fordson Island.  This is an absolutely amazing project that really justifies the word “Gateway.”  It would tie together green industries with greenways and blueways.  It’s also a presents a paradigm shift.  Yes, this area is heavily industrial, but it’s our heritage and we can celebrate it in very green ways.