Posts Tagged ‘West Bloomfield’

More on the West Bloomfield Trail extension

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

We mentioned a couple weeks ago that West Bloomfield had received Transportation Enhancement funding through the Road Commission for Oakland County.

The Spinal Column has more exciting details:

“We’re going to put a new limestone surface on top of the ballast similar to the existing trail, and have a safe road crossing at Arrowhead, Halsted and Walnut Lake,” said West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Director Dan Navarre. “There will be 400 feet of boardwalk north of Walnut Lake over a wetland area and a pergola area with benches.”

There will be benches installed every quarter-mile and two overlooks with benches – one at Woodpecker Lake between Arrowhead and Halsted Road, and another over a large wetland area west of Halsted.

A small parking lot will be constructed at the terminus of the trail at Haggerty Road.

This will add 2.5 miles of pathway and extend the West Bloomfield Trail all the way to Haggerty Road. Here it will eventually connect with the Walled Lake, Commerce, and Wixom rail-trail also under development. MDOT has also suggested building a trail bridge across M-5 to connect the trails.

The Road Commission is even considering a speed table where the trail crosses Arrowhead — an innovative traffic calming design that we’d like to see more of. Not only does it act as a stretched speed bump for cars, it tells drivers that they’re crossing the trail. It visually says that the trail has a right-of-way. This is a design we would have preferred seeing where the Dequindre Cut crosses streets south of Jefferson.

As mentioned in the Spinal Column, the West Bloomfield trail extension should be under construction by May and completed by the end of summer.

Support Transportation Enhancements

Federal Transportation Enhancement funding really makes projects like this possible, but that funding source may get eliminated in Congress. A vote on this is coming up this week in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Local congresswoman Candice Miller serves on this committee.

Please take a minute and call her office before Thursday’s vote and ask her to not eliminate this funding. Her Washington DC phone number is (202) 225-2106.

Let’s keep this funding in the next transportation bill!


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.

Third time a charm for Wixom-area Rail-Trail?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

As reported in the Spinal Column, Wixom, Walled Lake, and Commerce and looking to apply for Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund monies for a third time.

The Michigan Airline Railway property spans from West Bloomfield Township to the western city limits of Wixom and is considered the missing link in a trail that traverses the county and connects to a cross-state corridor spanning the Lower Peninsula.

The target 5.33 miles of Michigan Airline Railway corridor crossing the trailway council communities would be converted into a non-motorized recreational trail to link the Huron Valley and West Bloomfield trail segments.

“Our resolution emphasis is on the acquisition of the property at and surrounding the Walled Lake depot and including the depot,” [Wixom city manager Mike] Dornan said.

This grant request was denied in 2009 when there was no commitment for the required matching funds from MDOT.

Last year it was rejected due to protests of a local business still using the line. According to the Trust Fund minutes, “Chairperson Muchmore responded he feels this proposed trail project has some loose ends that need to be resolved.”

The Spinal Column reports that the local business issue has been resolved and that this section of railroad is being formally abandoned this summer.

…the railroad owner has filed a petition for exemption which would lead to the abandonment of the railway, which has led the trailway council to try again.

“The three communities now feel we are on better ground now that the railroad will be abandoned,” [trailway council administrator Kathleen] Jackson said.

We sure hope so. This is a critical link locally, regionally, and statewide. It is part of the Great Lake to Lake Trail (formerly known as the Michigan Airline Trail.)

Also, the Spinal Column supported this rail-trail in this editorial.

LinkMichigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Nov. 2010 minutes (PDF)

Detroit bike shorts: Suburban updates

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Novi passes non-motorized plan

Congratulations to the city of Novi!

On a 7-0 vote, the Novi City Council adopted the proposed non-motorized master plan which we’d mentioned earlier. This is the first non-motorized plan passed in Oakland County. While Troy developed one earlier, the plan was never adopted by their city council. Royal Oak’s plan is still under development.

Novi  city counilmember Andrew Mutch adds, “The plan provides the framework to guide the continued development of the city’s non-motorized transportation system and includes detailed recommendations for changes to our design and construction standards and ordinances for implementing the recommendations. It also includes concepts plans and cost estimates to implement various aspects of the plan.

The master plan is available on-line along with the presentation made by the consultant before city council.

This plan was developed by the Greenway Collaborative, Wade-Trim and the Active Transportation Alliance.

Berkley adding bike racks

The city of Berkley is installing six new bike racks as part of a SMART grant.

“It’s something we’re seeing more of, and we want to see even more of,” says Tom Colwell, facility manager and parks and recreation director for the city of Berkley.

“Ultimately we’re going to put some of the racks closer to bus shelters and around town,” Colwell says. “What we want to promote is people not driving their own cars everywhere, but getting around by biking. We want to promote a healthier lifestyle.”

The city is also looking at how it could make its roads safer for bicyclists. They also passed a Complete Streets resolution recently.

West Bloomfield extending trail

The Spinal Column has an update on plans to extend the West Bloomfield trail westward to the township border near Haggerty Road.

“We will hire a design coordinator that will work with the commission on developing a design plan and preparing construction drawings,” said Parks and Recreation Commission Director Dan Navarre. “The coordinator will then monitor the construction process so it’s done according to plan.”

When it is completed, the West Bloomfield Trail will stretch out to 6.5 miles.

“We should have the design and the bids done in the fall and we may begin building in the spring of 2012 and hopefully have it finished in June 2012,” Navarre said.

Clawson examines ordinances

In 2009 we noted some of the more ridiculous rules of the road that some local municipalities have. One was Clawson’s ordinance which made it illegal to take your hands off the handlebars while riding.

This article in the Royal Oak Review talks about Clawson’s recent efforts to remove these types of ordinances.

“We are looking into all of our outdated ordinances,” Pollock said. “These are laws that are not going to be enforced.”

The city, like many others in the area, has many old and odd ordinances on the books. They range from the funny — for example, it’s unlawful to ride a bicycle without both hands on the handlebars — to the possibly illegal — it’s against the law in Clawson for a liquor license owner to allow his business to be frequented or become a gathering place for homosexuals.

Complete Streets: a bitter pill for the Road Commission

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

We recently wrote about the Road Commission for Oakland County and their unwillingness to follow the national design guidelines for safe bicycling facilities.

That unwillingness is going to make  Complete Streets a bitter pill.

One doesn’t have to look too far to confirm that. Here’s the text they’ve had in the Oakland County’s Oak Routes Map.

The Road Commission for Oakland County is a member of the Oakland County Trails Advisory Council in order to accomplish two goals. First, our goal is to encourage and facilitate the movement of people throughout the county by non-motorized means as a way to promote healthier living and reducing the number of trips required on the road system. Secondly, the Road Commission wants to create the best possible nonmotorized network by contributing technical expertise to the location and design of the pathway system. This will create fewer conflicts with the motorized network and result in the safest possible trails for all users. Accomplishing both goals is in the best interest of our residents’ health, safety, and quality of life.

Yes, they refer to roads as the “motorized network.”

Yes, they are trying to gets bikes off the road.

Some of their best work is in Oakland County townships such as West Bloomfield. West Bloomfield has partnered with the Road Commission to get bikes of the roads and onto side paths, which they call safety paths.

Township officials have acknowledged to us that these paths are not safe for many bicyclists. That said, they’re still committed to building them.

One of their engineers admitted that these paths do not follow AASHTO bicycle design guidelines, but insisted it’s okay because the township only labels them as pedestrian facilities. That doesn’t explain the path’s bike routes signs or much of their safety path documentation.

Given all this, it is a major disappointment that the League of Michigan Bicyclists is giving its 2010 Community Award to the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission, for among other things, “activities that support making Michigan a better place to bicycle.”  The Commission has been a supporter of this safety path program and calls for more of them in their master plan.

Safety paths are not making Michigan a better place to bicycle.

And safety paths in nearly all cases do not make a Complete Street.