Posts Tagged ‘WA3’

Woodward Complete Streets meeting on April 17th

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Woodward Complete Streets flyerThe Woodward Complete Streets planning project has been underway for months, but now it’s time to engage with residents and stakeholders.

To accomplish this, a series of five 3-day open houses are being announced along Woodward. The first is April 17th through the 19th with a focus on Woodward from McNichols (6 Mile Road) north through Ferndale.

The meeting location is the St. James Catholic Church at 241 Pearson Street at Woodward in Ferndale.

A special focus group meeting for cyclists is scheduled for April 17th at noon. Yes, lunch will be provided. This is your best bet to giving feedback on how to make Woodward more bicycle friendly.

If you can’t make this meeting, there are drop in hours:

  • April 17th from 9am until 5pm
  • April 18th from 12pm until 8pm
  • April 19th from 9am until 3pm

There’s also a walking audit with Dan Burden. We’ve been on many of his tours that are full of common sense traffic solutions. He strongly recommend you consider attending one of these.

More information is available on this Woodward Complete Streets flyer.

Southeast Oakland County bike summit

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

A bike summit is planned for this Wednesday, December 12th at 7 PM in the Royal Oak Public Library (222 E. 11 Mile Road.)

The purpose it to provide updates on efforts to improve biking in Southeast Oakland County, primarily Berkley, Birmingham, Clawson, Huntington Woods, Madison Heights and Royal Oak. There will also be an update on a new bike route map some of us have been working on. The Road Commission for Oakland County will also share their recent Complete Streets report.

The Detroit Free Press has this article describing the summit as well as this interesting story from Huntington Woods.

In 2010, Berkley and Huntington Woods residents who live on 11 Mile Road rejected what could’ve been a bike-friendly narrowing of 11 Mile during repaving from Woodward to Coolidge.

“We thought it would improve everyone’s property value along there, to have one lane (of traffic) each way instead of two, but the residents didn’t want it,” Huntington Woods City Manager Alex Allie said.

A road diet on 11 Mile would have had no affect on vehicle congestion. Some people just don’t want improved property values, less speeding, reduced noise, safer streets and a more walkable, bikeable community.

This raises the question of why do we let those who live along a public road limit how safe it will be? Isn’t safety more important than the opinions of some residents?

Apparently not yet in some parts of Southeast Oakland County.

Gran Fondo

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) will also be at the summit to discuss their Complete Streets planning effort and proposed race/ride on Woodward.

The ride and race event is called the Gran Fondo, and while the WA3 boards, MDOT and others support it, Royal Oak’s city manager has come out strongly opposing it. The police chief opposed the ride because motorists speed on Woodward, will get road rage, and senior church goers will be confused.

Modeshift has excellent coverage of the recent Gran Fondo discussion before the Royal Oak City Commission.

Royal Oak’s bicycle ban

While the Royal Oak Commission did not vote on the Gran Fondo, they did move towards banning bicycle riding on downtown sidewalks. What the Commission failed to discuss is why cyclists ride on the sidewalk to begin with. Mayor Jim Ellison was quite certain it was only because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to.

Apparenty Royal Oak Commissioners don’t ride bicycle much downtown. If they did they’d know that the city’s streets are not comfortable to ride for a majority of bicyclists. They feel safer on the sidewalks. If they made any investments to make more bike friendly streets in the downtown, it would draw cyclists off the sidewalks.

Instead the City is proposing they invest in signs banning bicycles. We estimate it will take about 40 signs or roughly $6,000 to properly sign the downtown per state law requirements.

And contrary to what was said at the recent Royal Oak Commission, without these signs, the city’s ban on bicycle riding is not enforceable.

One thought we’ll share at the summit is these Southeast Oakland County communities are relatively more progressive than many of the other neighboring communities, but they’re much less progressive compared with the city of Detroit. For as much attention Detroit gets for having a “broken government” they are consistently more supportive and committed when it comes to being bike friendly.

Detroit Complete Streets: Updates and meeting tomorrow

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Speak up for Complete Streets

We’re asking people to attend tomorrow’s (7 pm, Wednesday, June 27th) Mayor’s Community Meeting at city hall to speak in favor of a Complete Streets ordinance in Detroit. An ordinance has been drafted and is being reviewed by the Law Department. The Department of Public Works is opposed to an ordinance, while others are in support.

The Mayor’s office holds much sway in determining how this will play out. We hope to encourage the Mayor to support the ordinance. This meeting is one opportunity to do that.

Mode Shift published this article with more details:

Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues and moms, dads, sisters and brothers to come tell officials why a bikeable, walkable, transit- and disabled-friendly city is crucial to the progress and revitalization of Detroit!

We plan on arriving a bit early in order to get on the list to give public comments.

If you cannot attend and want to show your support, you can submit a letter of support. A sample letter with information on where to send it are available here.

Streetlights

There’s been much discussion over public lighting in Detroit and Highland Park. Both cities have removed or are removing more lights. Many lights are no longer work due to their outdated design, equipment, and scrappers.

It’s been reported that 40% percent of Detroit’s 88,000 streetlights are broken. Highland Park just removed nearly 70% of their streetlights.

What we’ve learned through community workshops across Detroit is that public lighting is a key reason why people don’t walk or bike more.

Woodward Avenue

Woodward could get a bit safer for biking and walking.

From the Birmingham Patch:

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to support its efforts to develop a Complete Streets master plan for Woodward Avenue.

The grant is from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and complements the $752,880 grant that was previously awarded by the Federal Highway Administration for the initiative.

The association, an economic and community development organization based in Royal Oak, plans to develop a “Complete Streets” master plan that will transform the 27-mile corridor – from the Detroit River to Pontiac – into a complete, compatible and integrated roadway.

Certainly Woodward looks different across its 27 miles. Those differences will call for different Complete Street solutions.

We’re just excited that this discussion is underway.

Making Woodward Avenue more bike friendly

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Former Red Wing Chris Chelios biking home from work on Woodward in Royal Oak

The Oakland Press has an article on the newer planning efforts to make Woodward more bike friendly.

Heather Carmona, the executive director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association, said the study is a step toward making the Woodward area more attractive to businesses and young residents, who tend to view walkability, rideability and mass transit more favorably than their older counterparts.

“The economy as a whole is forcing us to look at new ways of doing things, but this is more about making living in the Woodward area more pedestrian-friendly and livable,” she said. “We have users of all types — those who would like to walk, others who would like to ride their bikes. We’re looking at ways to make moving around without a car easier.

“Look at cities like Portland, Oregon and other cities have plans in place for non-motorized transportation,” Carmona said. “It’s one of the factors that we believe is attractive to the younger people that we’d like to see stay in the area.”

The initial plan has received much feedback. We’re not convinced the plan is where it needs to be. If you want to be like Portland (or even follow AASHTO bicycle design guidelines), you don’t put in sidepaths where there is a fair amount of cross streets and driveways.

We prefer Planner Dan Burden’s suggestions to treat the outside lane of Woodward as a local lane for turning traffic, buses, and bicycles. That lane could even be painted or marked to indicate it’s not designed for high-speed through traffic. That is an inexpensive solution that doesn’t remove a vehicle lane yet improves bicycling opportunities for intermediate and advanced riders.

UPDATE: Heather Carmona also discussed this on the July 15th Craig Fahle show on WDET. The Woodward discussion begins 38 minutes into the show.

Woodward: the first mile of concrete highway

Thursday, August 13th, 2009
Woodward celebration

A cake in need of a Blumenauer bike pin

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) had a ceremony today to celebrate the 100th anniverary of the world’s first mile of concrete highway. That first mile was Woodward Avenue from McNichols to Seven Mile Road in Detroit. It was just 18 feet wide.

This historic milestone was very much the result of decades of tireless work, often led by bicyclists such as Horatio “Good Roads” Earle and Edward Hines. WA3 was generous enough to let me briefly speak at today’s event to highlight the cyclists’ role in this project and the Good Roads movement.

Hines, former chief consul for the League of American Wheelmen Michigan Division was a Wayne County road commissioner (along with Cass Benton and Henry Ford.) He helped oversee this project. Back in 1893, he helped create legislation that enabled county road commissions.

Earle followed Hines as Chief Consul of the Wheelmen before becoming a state senator and our first state highway commissioner. He founded both MDOT and the American Road Builders Association. The National Cement Association called Earle the “Father of the Concrete Roads of the World.”

For this Woodward paving project, Earle helped secure Wayne County’s bond and completed the approval inspection on June 21, 1909.

It’s highly ironic that some motorists question cyclists rights to the roads when we were there first and literally paving the way for improved motoring.

Moving Forward

In speaking today, I also noted that we got stuck focusing exclusively on automobiles for some time and that’s now changing. Detroit’s non-motorized master plan calls for bike lanes on Woodward. WA3 has contracted Giffels-Webster for non-motorized planning along Woodward from Eight Mile to Maple.

And we are closer than ever to getting light rail on Woodward.

I told the crowd this means “giving people more transportation options,” which elicited perhaps the biggest cheer of event.

Thanks!

So, if you go for a ride today, make sure you thank Mr. Earle and Mr. Hines for the smooth ride beneath your tires.

And here’s an Earlism to consider: “One anvil outlasts hundreds of hammers. If you are anvil-like, a little hammering will not hurt you.”