Posts Tagged ‘Trails’

GREEN plan for Detroit’s East Riverfront

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

After about 18 months of planning and community engagement, the GREEN plan was revealed, a plan for greenways throughout the Detroit’s lower eastside.

The GREEN Task Force, a coalition of Detroit-based non-profit groups, presents to you a vision and a realistic plan for creating a network of greenways on Detroit’s greater riverfront east. Just as greenways serve many functions – from recreational venues to economic linkages between neighborhoods – this report also aims at many goals. This plan serves as a catalyst for:

    • Economic development
    • A tool for bringing communities together
    • A way of defining a new future for Detroit’s greater riverfront east

Modeshift covered this story a couple weeks ago.

“It’s evident things like greenways and bike lanes are good for community development,” [Villages CDC executive director Brian] Hurttienne says. “Otherwise we wouldn’t spend the money we do.”

“Greenways provide much more than ways to get somewhere without a car,” says Maggie DeSantis, chair of the GREEN Task Force and board member of the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative. “Greenways improve health and safety by creating recreational venues, beautifying neighborhoods, creating nodes of economic development, and by connecting neighborhoods and residents to each other, and to the broader city.”

Since the unveiling, the GREEN task force has been presenting this plan to many different groups and exploring funding options.

And some of the routes are closer to implementation than others.

  • The city has initial plans to add bike lanes to this segment of Kercheval next year.
  • The East Jefferson Corridor Collaborative continues their efforts for bike lanes on E. Jefferson. They are focusing on the roadway between Belle Isle’s bridge and Indian Village. They have a few different design options, two of which are physically-separated bike lanes, also known as cycletracks. They are currently doing a traffic study to ensure the required road diet would not be a roadblock.

The project furthest from implementation is likely the Detroit RiverWalk extension to Alter Road. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is focusing on completing the eastern portion of the existing RiverWalk before shifting resources to the western portion between Joe Louis Arena and Riverside Park/Ambassador Bridge.

Belle Isle trails now in Google Maps

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

This weekend we added the asphalt trails at Belle Isle to Google Maps.

This was a bit challenging as the tree canopy prevented us from seeing the trails in the satellite photography.

So, here are the steps we took to add them.

  1. Loaded the MyTracks app on our Android phone. Unfortunately it’s not available for the iPhone.
  2. Recorded our GPS tracks as we biked the trails.
  3. Exported our GPS tracks to Google Maps My Places.
  4. Went to the Google Map Maker web site and enabled overlays, an option in the Labs menu.
  5. Added an overlay using the KML link provided in My Places.
  6. Added a trail in Map Maker using the KML overlay as a reference. The GPS points weren’t perfect but one can guess the correct offset based on the aerials. Hiking the trails might have yielded more accurate data points.
  7. Added trail information, such as the bad the pavement condition and saved it.

Once these trail changes were published, there was a small delay before the Google Map graphics were updated. That seems to have happened now.

By the way, Google has produced an excellent video that basically explains this same process.

If you head out ride these trails for the first time, the asphalt’s condition may not be a good fit for skinny tires. Tree roots have pushed up the pavement and added speed bumps to the trail.

There are a number of fallen ash trees across the path as well.

Greenway mini-grants available in Detroit

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

From the Healthy Environments Partnership:

Detroit residents who want to create a more beautiful and physically active environment in their communities are in luck. The Healthy Environments Partnership (HEP) Greenway Mini-Grant program is funding projects, up to $1000, that will take place along the Conner Creek, Brightmoor Lyndon, and Southwest Detroit Greenways. HEP will be accepting requests for proposals from Detroiters engaging community residents, building local ownership, and promoting social and physical activity along the greenways. Some examples of the types of projects that will be funded are: creating youth artwork along the greenways, planting community gardens adjacent to the greenways, or hosting walk & talk programs that bring policy makers out where residents can share their local concerns.

For more information contact Julia Weinert at 734-763-0741, weinertj@umich.edu or go to the HEP website at www.hepdetroit.org and click on ‘Community Activities’. Mini-Grant materials will also be available at neighborhood development corporations in Eastside, Northwest, and Southwest Detroit. The application deadline is April 13, 2012.

The Healthy Environments Partnership, established in 2000, is a partnership including the Brightmoor Community Center, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Friends of Parkside, Rebuilding Communities Incorporated, The Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, Henry Ford Health System, and the University of Michigan. It is funded through the National Institute of Environmental Science and is an affiliated project of the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center.

West Bloomfield trail: Its history and expansion

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Parks and Recreation Director Dan Navarre is giving a presentation on both the history of the West Bloomfield Trail and the plans for its expansion. That expansion runs from Arrowhead Road west to Haggerty Road.

This trail is a key portion of the Great Lake to Lake Trail.

This free presentation is being held on Saturday, December 3rd at 11am at Marshbank Park (2805 Hiller Road, north of Commerce.)

The event is hosted by the Friends of West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation. If you want more information, contact Doug McEwen at 248 788-3940.

Detroit Bike Shorts for June 7th

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Here are various bike-related updates from around the state and Metro Detroit area —

Model D Speaker Series: Urban Mobility

If you missed this event, don’t worry. Jason Rzucidlo has a nice writeup with photos.

Of course, Model D also covered the event.

Marja Winters, deputy director of the city’s Planning and Development department, said non-motorized transit options are an essential component to the mayor’s Detroit Works Project. Credit the growing movement across the country to urban areas, often for the diversity of options a city affords. “The quality of place is becoming the number one determining factor,” she said. “And ranking high in the decision-making process is the notion of alternative forms of transit.”

We probably would not have heard similar quotes from Detroit’s planning department just a few years ago. This really signals the great deal of progress and increased awareness that has happened during that time.

Bicycle Friendly State rankings

Michigan continues to drop in the state rankings developed by the League of American Bicyclists. The Mitten state is now ranked 22nd and was given a “D”.

This 10 spot drop since 2008 is likely attributable to new ranking criteria and the lack of progress in key areas — progress that other states have made. Michigan received an “F” score in the categories of Infrastructure, Evaluation & Planning, and Enforcement.

Ride challenge for MDOT Director

With the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood biking to work yesterday, we suggested MDOT’s Director Kirk Steudle could do the same via Twitter.

@michigandot OK Director Steudle. You’re next and please post pics  http://t.co/hVNYoFs

MDOT responded with “I forwarded your tweet to Dir. Steudle to let him know. Thanks! ”

GM’s Akerson calls for fuel tax increase

The unwillingness in Washington DC and Lansing to increase fuel taxes has helped led to a transportation funding crisis. (Yeah, sprawl and the lack of regional planning in Metro Detroit are factors as well.)

Bill Ford Jr. has previously advocated for a fuel tax increase. Now, so to has GM’s CEO Dan Akerson according to this Detroit News article.

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

“You know what I’d rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said.

“People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

An increased fuel tax can also encourage more people to bike, walk, and use public transit, while providing improved funding.

I-275 Metro Trail

There was a reopening ceremony for a portion of the I-275 bike path on Saturday. We weren’t there, but the Detroit Free Press was. The I-275 path will continue to be expanded northward as the southern portion is rebuilt and reopened. You can stray up to date with the progress by visiting the Friends of the I-275 Pathway on Facebook.

Michigan Airlines Rail-Trail

The Spinal Column is reporting that the Surface Transportation Board has denied a quick abandonment for the rail corridor that many hope will soon become a trail.

STB board members denied Michigan Air-Line Railway’s petition because it didn’t “provide the Board with sufficient evidence regarding the revenues and costs associated with the line, thereby making it impossible to determine what burden, if any, (Michigan Air-Line) Railway incurs in continuing to operate the line.”

Nevertheless, Michigan Air-Line Railway still hopes to get the STB’s approval to abandon the railroad, therefore allowing the trail project to move forward.

“We’re still moving forward with the grant applications,” said Commerce Township Planner Kathleen Jackson. “The NRTF board doesn’t make the grant decision until December, and (Michigan Air-Line Railway) hopes to have an answer by then.”

We do hope this gets resolved prior to the Natural Resource Trust Fund grant decision is made in December. This is the third attempt at getting this grant which will help pay for most of the property.