Archive for the ‘On-road bicycling’ Category

Bad local biking ordinances become enforceable in 2018

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Oops!

The state legislature recently enacted bills that raise speed limits in Michigan and decrease penalties for doing so. That wasn’t smart but that’s not all.

Many Michigan cities have bad local bicycling laws. We’ve documented them both here and here, though some may have been removed since these articles were written. Now fortunately nearly none of these are enforceable since current state law (MCL 257.606┬áSection 4) requires local authorities to post these local bicycle ordinances on signs.

That requirement goes away on January 5th, 2018.

Why? Because the that speeding bill we mentioned earlier incorrectly amended 257.606. It removed items from Section (1) and failed to update Section (4) which referenced those items. It appears to only affect the enforcement of local bicycle ordinances (posted signs are no longer required) and truck routes (posted signs are now required.)

The Detroit Greenways Coalition worked with Detroit City Council to remove its outdated local ordinances. Other cities have not. We expect the Coalition will help get this state law corrected. It would also be a good opportunity to remove local authorities from requiring bicycle registrations and licenses — and fees.

Not that you will, but you can potentially get tickets for the following bicycle violations starting January 5th: (more…)

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.

MDOT adds buffered bike lanes to Northwestern Highway

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

MDOT was resurfacing Northwestern Highway this year and did something quite unexpected. They converted the road’s 12 foot paved shoulders to buffered bike lanes.

Originally this road from Inkster to 14 Mile had a 12 foot asphalt shoulder. That shoulder is now a 7 foot bike lanes with a 5 foot painted buffer. Is it ideal for families? Of course not, but many cyclists will find it a comfortable and safe place to ride in spite of the road’s 50 MPH speed limit.

We’ve encouraged MDOT to pursue similar designs on other state roads, but especially in Detroit where there are lower vehicle traffic and under-utilized vehicle travel lanes.

Also, we submitted the new bike lane information to Google Maps for approval.

Why Northwestern Highway?

As we see it, these bike lanes came about for three reasons.

First, the state’s Complete Streets policy encourages MDOT to add biking facilities to its roads.

Second, area cyclists were riding this road segments and had written to MDOT asking for an improved signs to better accommodate cycling. Well, MDOT did better than that. The key was letting MDOT know cyclists were already using Northwestern Highway. This provided documented justification for making the improvement.

Third, there was already a wide, paved shoulder. That made this retrofit very cost effective. The total cost was $21,855 on what was likely a million-some dollar project.

News Coverage

MyFoxDetroit covered this story as part of a segment on bicycling safety. Their story includes a video showing the new lanes.

MDOT announces 2012 Training Wheels workshop dates

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The Training Wheels program is an invaluable training that provides insight on how to redesign roads to better accommodate cyclists. It’s beneficial to the seasoned planner as well as the casual cyclist looking to make their city more bike friendly. The costs vary but are minimal (e.g. River Rouge is $15.)

Here is the press release from MDOT:

MDOT promotes on-road bicycling facilities

June 18, 2012 — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is sponsoring “Training Wheels” courses around the state designed to educate communities interested in providing on-road bicycle facilities for their residents and visitors. The five-hour course includes both classroom and outdoor instruction. The courses will be offered in the following areas:

  • July 16 in Alma
  • July 17 in St. Ignace
  • July 18 in Ferndale
  • July 19 in River Rouge
  • July 20 in Kalamazoo

“Training Wheels” shows communities how to integrate bike facilities into existing infrastructure to make bicycling safe and convenient, providing alternate transportation that makes roads more complete for everyone. Classroom instruction using a guide produced by the American Association for State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is followed by an on-road, on-bike portion. The outdoor segment provides participants a firsthand look at the benefits of providing an alternative mode of travel that does not require expensive facilities for communities to build or maintain.

The “Training Wheels” courses are intended for city, township or county managers; council members; engineers; and related design and planning staff. The course is eligible for five Professional Development hours for professional engineers. Advance registration only. A bicycle and helmet are required – please notify local host if needed, since limited equipment may be available. Registration deadline is June 28.

For details, contact Cynthia Krupp at 517-335-2923, or by e-mail at kruppc@michigan.gov.

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.