Posts Tagged ‘Wayne County’

Woodward Corridor lands huge Complete Streets grant

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Here’s some exciting news about Woodward that has nothing to do with the Dream Cruise.

Senator Carl Levin’s office and the Federal Highway Administration just announced a $752,880 grant for “developing a Complete Streets plan for Michigan’s 27-mile Woodward Avenue corridor that connects 11 communities and two Southeast Michigan Counties.”

“Transportation investments like these will create jobs and improve the quality of life for Michigan residents as well as strengthen the state’s economy,” said Secretary [U.S. DOT Secretary Ray] LaHood. “The demand from the states for these funds shows just how critical the need is for infrastructure investment.”

The funding is being awarded to the Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) who will be releasing more details soon.

WA3 has been a big supporter of Complete Streets and they are members of the Detroit Complete Streets Workgroup.

It will be interesting to see how this new planning effort fits with some prior Woodward bike/walk plans, the forthcoming Royal Oak non-motorized plan, and the Woodward Light Rail project.

But as for the Dream Cruise, there is a Complete Streets connection. The best way to move within the Woodward Corridor during the Cruise is on foot or by bike. Making Woodwared a Complete Street could give better, safer, and faster transportation options during the event.

Complete Streets Resolution passes

And in related news, Oakland County Commissioners passed a Complete Streets resolution for the county.

Special thanks to everyone who contacted their commissioner. It worked.


Complete Streets in Oakland County

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

We just sent the following letter to Congressman Gary Peters asking his support for continued bike and pedestrian funding and HR 1780 — the federal Complete Streets bill.

The fatality numbers for Oakland County, which Peters represents a portion of, are quite compelling. There have been reductions in road fatalities among motor vehicle operators, but far less so for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For that reason, 29% of all road fatalities in Oakland County in 2010 are now pedestrians and bicyclists. This is an increase from 25% in 2009. The national average? Only 14% in 2009.

And for 2010 Oakland County’s bike and pedestrian fatality percentage is higher than Wayne and Macomb County’s.

Clearly something needs to be done to reduce bicycle and pedestrian deaths in Oakland County. Building Complete Streets needs to be a priority.

[Data sources: Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]

Here is our letter to Congressman Peters:


Major Detroit trail and park grants get the nod

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The Dequindre Trail abuts the historic Globe Building

Yesterday was likely the biggest day in Michigan history for greenspace grant decisions largely due to a recent windfall in gas and oil leases on state land.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board of Trustees today recommended to Governor Jennifer M. Granholm that 117 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $102,098,400 be funded in 2011. The board this year had considered 165 applications for development and acquisition projects totaling $140.4 million, which were competitively evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the MNRTF board.

“Michigan’s remarkable natural resources help to make our state more appealing to residents and visitors alike,” said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. “The important work of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund makes it possible to acquire and safeguard some of our most beautiful natural and recreational areas for the enjoyment of current and future generations.”

Of course these grant decisions are not final and are subject to a review by the Governor before the Michigan legislature actually appropriates the money sometime next year.

So, how’d this area do?

City of Detroit

Clearly the biggest winner was the Detroit RiverWalk, Milliken State Park, and Dequindre Cut. These three projects were recommended for a whopping $34.4 million for land acquisition.

Here’s how that funding breaks down. Note the the DNRE was the applicant for the first three, while Detroit applied for the Dequindre Cut expansion.

  • William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor (Wayne County) – $20 million. This funding will be used to acquire three to six large private inholding parcels and trail easements along the Detroit Riverfront as additions to the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor in downtown Detroit.
  • Globe Building Adventure and Discovery Center Acquisition (Wayne County) – $9 million. This funding would be used by the DNRE to acquire 48,000 square feet of built-out space in the Globe Building for the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor Adventure and Discovery Center in downtown Detroit.
  • Detroit Riverfront Easements and Acquisitions (Wayne County) – $5 million. These funds would be used by the DNRE to acquire public use easements and land acquisitions along the Detroit River from the Ambassador Bridge to the MacArthur Bridge as part of a 5-mile-long public greenway.
  • Dequindre Cut Expansion, City of Detroit (Wayne County) – $375,000. These funds would be used to acquire a 0.7-mile section of abandoned rail corridor in downtown Detroit that continues the Dequindre Cut north, connecting the Detroit Riverfront to the historic Eastern Market.

A million dollars in Detroit Recreational Department projects were also recommended, both of which include trails. These grants  along with the Dequindre Cut grant would not have been possible without the city’s recreation plan being approved earlier this year — a basic requirement for this funding source.

  • City of Detroit (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $500,000 to develop the Balduck Park In-Town Youth Camp and Family Picnic Area. This will include restrooms, picnic shelter, play area, nature trail, walking path, camp activity areas, pathways and interpretive signs.
  • City of Detroit (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $500,000 for improvements to Patton Park, including construction of two softball diamonds, lighting, comfort station, picnic shelter, parking lot improvements, connecting pathways, and an asphalt trail linking the Greenway to the sidewalks.

Wayne County

Four other projects in Wayne County were recommended:

  • Northville Township (Wayne County) – $3,053,700. These funds would be used for Phase II acquisition of 51.01 acres to create a linear park connecting the former Northville State Hospital property with the Wayne County Hines Parkway system and also preserve 200-year-old growth forest and link to the Southeast Michigan Greenways Network.
  • Wayne County is recommended to receive $500,000 to develop the Refuge Gateway Boat Dock/Fishing Pier for the Great Lakes Schoolship and associated recreational features.
  • City of Flat Rock (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $447,900 for the Flat Rock-Oakwood Metro Park Connector. This project will develop 1.93 miles of trail linking the Flat Rock Greenway to the Oakwood Metro Park Greenway to create a contiguous 23-mile greenway system in southeast Michigan.
  • City of Inkster (Wayne County) is recommended to receive $408,000 to develop a 4.5-mile Inkster Park Greenway Trail through the city along Wayne County parkland adjacent to the Lower Rouge River.

Oakland County

Five projects in Oakland County were recommended, but perhaps the biggest news was the one that wasn’t, the Wixom, Commerce, Walled Lake rail-trail, part of the Michigan Air Line. It was rejected last year due to a lack of matching funds. This year the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) spoke against it since the original plan would have negatLively impacted a local rail customer. That plan had been updated to remove that impact but MEDC was apparently unaware of it and no one was at the meeting to address the update. This is very unfortunate given the large amount of funding available this year.

  • West Bloomfield Township (Oakland County) is recommended to receive $500,000 to develop a 2.5-mile, 10-foot wide aggregate path; road crossings; benches; interpretive signs; native seeding along the West Bloomfield Trail, which is part of the Michigan Airline Trail system.
  • City of Novi (Oakland County) is recommended to receive $437,500 to develop a trailhead for Landings Park for the existing and future non-motorized regional pathway system within the 11-acre Landings parkland, with an accessible waterfront park with 835 feet of naturalized shoreline.
  • Oakland County is recommended to receive $308,000 to develop universally accessible amenities at Highland Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Red Oaks and Rose Oaks parks.
  • Oakland Township (Oakland County) is recommended to receive $154,900 for the improvements at the Lost Lake Nature Park, including renovation of existing residence for nature center use, a fishing dock, non-motorized boating, nature observation/education, accessibility improvements to parking lot, pedestrian routes, interpretative signage and storm water buffers.
  • Village of Leonard (Oakland County) – $22,500. This funding would be used to acquire 0.28 acres of property adjacent to the Polly Ann Trail.

Macomb County

Only one project was recommended in Macomb County. The county had submitted a grant request for the Lake St. Clair Shoreline Trail between Selfridge AFB and the lake. That was rejected since the land was already in public ownership. The case was being made that although it was in public ownership, it hadn’t been open to the public. Apparently that argument didn’t win out.

  • Macomb County is recommended to receive $205,000 to develop the Nicholson Nature Center, including a restroom facility, classrooms, boardwalk, trails, stream crossings, wetlands enhancement and signage.

Link: Complete list of all funding recommendations

Candidate pushes livability in Wayne County Commission election

Monday, November 1st, 2010

A recent Free Press article discusses current Michigan senators running for seats on the Wayne County Commission.

It’s great to see Senator Raymond Basham mention livability — a term that’s getting much use by Ray LaHood, the U.S. DOT Secretary.

Basham, running in the 15th District, is most recently known for spearheading the smoking ban in Michigan this year. He also supported raising the state’s minimum wage.

At the county level, he said he wants to improve transportation, enforce environmental laws and create “livable cities” so residents can walk and bike in their communities.

That’s great to read.

While Wayne County has said they no longer oppose bike lanes on their roads, they haven’t built any yet claiming it’s a money issue. Still, there are funding sources that pay for adding such features and we’re not aware of the County pursuing those.

However, there are early discussions about adding bike lanes to the County’s portion of Conner Avenue in Detroit as part of the Conner Creek Greenway.

We could use a leader on this issue on the County Commission.

We should note that Basham was also a leader in the Michigan Senate. He’s been supportive of bike friendly legislation and Complete Streets, especially as Minority Vice Chair on the Senate Transportation Committee.

Basham is running in Wayne County’s 15th district which includes Romulus, Taylor, Flat Rock, Huron Township and Brownstown Township.

Snyder Team responds to comments on bike bridge

Monday, November 1st, 2010

We submitted comments on gubernatorial candidate Rick Synder’s web site regarding his comments on the US23 pedestrian bridge.

We noted that the true inefficiencies in Michigan transportation lie in the structure. There are 50-some communities in Oakland County alone that receive road funding. There is significant room for consolidation.

We also noted that there are 81 county road commissions which are separate from county government, many if not all of which are not beholden to the public.

This is the response we received:

Thank you for your inquiry.  I would like to clarify that Rick does not oppose bike trails.  He is a big supporter of bikeable and walkable cities.  What Rick said during the debate is that we need to prioritize funds better.  Despite the fact that he is supportive of building new bike bridges, he thinks that it is a higher priority to reinforce dangerously crumbling bridges that thousands of people drive over every day.

The point you make about non accountable agencies is an interesting one.  I am not intimately familiar with how Rick’s ideas for transportation reform but I can tell you that he is committed to bringing greater efficiency and common sense to MDOT and transportation in Michigan as a whole.

Please continue to follow Rick’s campaign and let us know if we can be of any assistance to you.


The Reinvent Michigan Team

There’s a clear need to educate candidates such as Rick Snyder and others on the efficiency benefits of consolidation within Michigan’s transportation funding environment.

One first step would be to make it easier for counties to have their own road agencies and eliminate their county road commissions. This consolidation would eliminate duplicate administration and make them accountable to elected officials. It would also bring together county planning with road planning, which could result in significant savings through proper land use planning.

However, under current state law this consolidation is prohibited for all but two counties — Wayne and Macomb. State law also requires counties to become charter counties first, something that takes significant time and money.

And when Macomb County adopted a charter a year ago, 64% of their voters also chose to dissolve their road commission.

We should make it easier for voters in the other 81 Michigan counties to consolidate and save taxpayer money.