There’s been a great deal of media coverage on a proposed agreement between the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan to make Belle Isle a state park.
Based on what we know right now, how would such a lease affect bicyclists?
Here are some changes we’ve seen in based on the proposed Belle Isle lease agreement.
- Belle Isle would remain free if you rode your bike onto the island or brought your bike via a re-established DDOT bus route.
- If you bring your bike onto Belle Isle using a motor vehicle, you will need to have a $10 annual Recreation Passport starting in April 2013.
- Six to 12 months after signing the lease, the DNR would meet with MDOT to convert some internal roads on the east end of the island into two-way trails — a concept the current park manager has already put forth.
- MDOT will assume maintenance on all park roads.
The existing asphalt paths and bathroom facilities would also be improved under the DNR.
One major concern we have is MDOT’s commitment. We want these roads improved, not just maintained. These roads should be made into Complete Streets.
- We need sidewalks on many of the roads. Without them, people have little option but to walk in the bike lane.
- The two bike lane cross over points at the entrance to the island need to be improved.
- The MacArthur Bridge doesn’t require five vehicle travel lanes. We would like one lane removed, the bike lanes widened, and a buffer zone added.
- The connection between E. Jefferson and the bridge needs to be improved for cyclists. While the entire intersection needs a redesign, that responsibility would remain with the City.
The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has submitted comments to Detroit City Council that suggest a change to the proposed lease — MDOT should commit to “preserving” these roads, which would include the above ideas and more.
This is a 30-year lease with two 30-year renewals. If this lease goes forward, do we want these roads only maintained as they are for the next 90 years?
MDOT has a greater commitment to state trunklines within the city of Detroit. The roads on Belle Isle should be given that same level of commitment.