Posts Tagged ‘Southwest Detroit’

Your thoughts on a Detroit bicycle & greenway map

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

What would be helpful information to include on a Southwest Detroit greenway/bicycle map?

Schools, libraries, transit stops, bike shops, and parks are commonly shown on such maps.

We’ve reviewed maps from six different cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Montreal, and St. Louis) and compiled a list of what each includes.

Each are unique. Austin’s map shows swimming pools. Chicago highlights open metal grate bridges. Montreal and Boston show ferry service. Austin and Cleveland show how steep the roads are.

All of the maps show off-road trails. Except for Austin, all of the maps show the types of bicycle facilities on the roads, e.g. bike lanes, bike routes, etc.

The Austin map is unique in that it doesn’t show the facilities. Instead it assigns a comfort level to the road based on the existing bicycle facilities.

The roads marked HIGHcomfort level have either bicycle accommodations or low traffic volumes and speeds. On MEDIUM sections, you may find bicycle accommodations on high-speed roads, or shared-lanes on roads with moderate speeds and volumes. The LOW comfort level designates important connections with traffic volumes and speeds, and no bicycle accommodations. VERY LOW roads are not recommended for bike travel, but may still be necessary for some trips.

Of course the provide a disclaimer as well.

Cleveland’s map employs a similar mechanism based on bicycle skill level: basic, intermediate, experienced. They also highlight roads “no suitable for bicyclist but there may be no alternative route.” Of course they define what each skill level means.

Best Approach?

What do you think makes a bicycle and greenway map most useful?

It would be easiest putting only the bicycle facilities on the map, but designating roads by comfort level or bicycle skill level adds more information and is in more layman terms. It’s more work to do the latter – more data collection from cyclists, more vetting of preferred routes.

However, with so many of the city of Detroit streets having high comfort but not bicycle accommodations, perhaps this would produce a better map.

What are your thoughts?

New Detroit bike lanes for 2012

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

There are bike lanes planned for the city of Detroit that are expected to be completed this year. Here’s a run down of those projects.

Midtown bike lanes

The below projects all tie together to create on consistent north-south bike route from Cass Tech to New Center. Though not a bike lane, phase II construction of the Midtown Loop will begin this year, extending the pathway south on John R and on Canfield from John R to Cass. The segment along Cass is now phase III.

Second Avenue from Grand Boulevard to Palmer – The street is being returned to two-way travel with bike lanes added for most of it. There is insufficient road width north of the railroad underpass so sharrows will be used.

Anthony Wayne Drive from Palmer to Warren – Bike lanes will be added.

Third Avenue from Warren to Ledyard – This segment will become all two-way with bike lanes.

Cass Park – All of the streets surrounding the park will receive bike lanes.

Conner Creek Greenway

Another phase of this eastside greenway is being constructed this year. This time the portion between 6 Mile and 8 Mile is the focus. E. Outer Drive and Conner Avenue below the Milbank Greenway (which is just north of E. Outer Drive) will get bike lanes.

Trumbull Enhancements

Bike lanes will be added to Trumbull from Warren Avenue north to about Holden. We haven’t seen the drawings, but that’s what we’ve heard. The City has said they would look into continuing the Trumbull bike lanes from Warren south to MLK though there is no timeframe for that.

Safety Improvement Projects

These are the safety projects we’d mentioned earlier. There is one additional public meeting to discuss safety improvements to West Chicago from Spinozza (Rouge Park) just about to Livernois. That meeting is Monday, February 20th from 5pm to 7pm at the Don Bosco Hall, 19321 W. Chicago. We’re told the plans for W. Chicago include bike lanes but we don’t know to what extent yet. We do know they make a great east-west connection to Rouge Park which has great roads, pathways, and trails for biking. Spinozza also connects with W. Outer Drive, another great Detroit biking road.

Dix Road from Waterman/W. Vernor to Woodmere – This is basically an extension of the existing bike lanes on W. Vernor which provides a connection with the pathway in Patton Park.

Central from W. Vernor to McGraw – Only portions of the Central will get bike lanes. At times the road is too narrow so sharrows will be used instead. Central become an even more critical biking route after the Detroit International Freight Transfer Project (DIFT) closes nearby Lonyo Road. Central is also part of the proposed Inner Circle Greenway route that encircles the city.

E. Seven Mile from I-75 to Gratiot is also a safety improvement project but there was insufficient room to add bike lanes. However, like the roads mentioned above, the designs are such that they encourage motorists to drive more prudently.

Bike lanes: Safety and Southwest Detroit

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Here’s a quick thought for Friday.

It’s not uncommon to hear those who don’t ride bicycles or those who are just starting out say they don’t feel comfortable in bike lanes. One often heard reason? It’s just paint separating you from the cars.

Ask them if they’ve drive on a two-way road? You know those yellow lines in the center? That’s paint. (Thank you, Edward Hines.)

Cars crossing the centerline and hitting others is common crash type, especially with drunk or distracted drivers.

Bicyclists getting hit from behind is not very common. Most car-bike crashes occur at intersections, and usually in crosswalks.

Perceptions create reality

One interesting feature of roads with bike lanes is cyclists perceive them to be safer, so more cyclists ride. When more cyclists ride, everyone is safer due to the safety in numbers hypothesis.

When you have more people on bikes and you have roads with bike markings and signs, drivers’ expectation of seeing cyclists increases — and they adapt their driving habits. Safety increases.

Benefits to others

There is a Detroit resident in Southwest Detroit campaigning against bike lanes there. Her issues have gone so far as City Council where yesterday it was on the agenda for the Neighborhood and Community Services Standing Committee.

In response, the City Planning Commission reviewed the bike lane issues and wrote a report for the committee. The report noted that bike lanes “help develop more travel choices in Detroit, enhance travel safety, and improve the city’s quality of life.”

We agree.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are many benefit to bike lanes and most have nothing to do with bicycling. This paper from the Oregon DOT documents them.

Yes, even motorists benefit — something that’s always worth mentioning when making your bike lane sales pitch in the Motor City.

Besides, it’s just paint.


More bike racks in Southwest Detroit

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

More bike parking, more local green jobs. From the West Vernor and Springwells Business Improvement District (BID) newsletter:

The BID partnered with the SDBA and the SMART Bus System to identify locations for the installation of 8 decorative bike rakes designed by Disenos Ornamental Iron. The Bike Racks have been installed at Vernor Food Center, the Campbell Detroit Public Library, Chase Bank, Comerica Bank, La Mexicana, Secretary of State, Congress of Communities, and LA SED Youth & Senior Center. We have received many positive comments from residents and business owners who thought the bike racks were beautiful enough to be public art.

Would you like a bike rack too? Special Offer for Current BID Members!

If you are current on your BID fee, the BID will fabricate and install a bike rake in front of your business or property for the discounted price of $350. Please call Matthew Bihun if you are interested in having an ornamental Disenos bike rake installed at your location (313.254.8161).

Detroit bike lanes in the news

Monday, October 10th, 2011

The new bike lanes in Southwest Detroit have been getting of media coverage lately.

The Detroit News ran the article “Detroit becoming friendlier to bicyclists” last month.

Sarah Pappas, 27, who lives in the city’s Woodbridge neighborhood, commutes by bike to work in Corktown several times a week.

“Riding here is wonderful. There are hardly any cars around,” said Pappas, who moved to Detroit from New York earlier this year. “Even downtown after a (Tigers) game gets out isn’t bad compared to riding in lots of other places.”

The Detroit News article also included this video.

Yesterday, the Associated Press released an article on the bike lanes as well. It’s was picked up by the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Fox 2 Detroit, and Crain’s Detroit.

[The bike lanes are] the first large scale segment of the city’s Urban Non-motorized Transportation Master Plan to be completed, said Scott Clein, executive vice president of Giffels-Webster, the civil engineering and surveying consulting firm on the project.

“Detroit has a strong bicycle community and there are a lot of bikers in this region,” Clein said. “You’ve got flat streets and the spirit of freedom to go wherever you want.” also covered the story.

And while not about the new bike lanes, this article from Akron’s Beacon Journal covers bicycle touring in Detroit. It really highlights the bike tourism potential for Detroit, which is largely being driven by Wheelhouse Detroit.

The Motor City rocks but it really rolls. On two wheels.

Pedal power is surprisingly big, and it’s growing in Detroit. And, no, bicyclists don?t have to speed to get away from roving gangs. That image of violent Detroit won?t die.

One way to see the new Detroit is on bicycle. It offers a way to get an intimate look at the Motor City with its great neighborhoods filled with stylish buildings.