Posts about Michigan
Although people may not associate Detroit with biking, there are a few things Washington can learn from the Motor City. I recently got to ride 2 new trails that include features which could work well in our region.
The Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance and the Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative recently invited me to Detroit for a bike tour and to talk about biking in the nation's capital. My tour guide, Todd Scott of Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance, showed me the Detroit Riverwalk and the Dequindre Cut Greenway, a rails to trails project in the heart of Detroit.
Detroit is still in the beginning phases of building a bike infrastructure, their trails already sport some excellent features.
Separate bicycles and pedestrians
The trail is wide enough for a bike lane in each direction plus a wide pedestrian lane. For the most part, everyone stayed in their allotted space. I was on the trail during the middle of a weekday, so I can't speak for when the trail is busy on a weekend.
Make wayfinding and signage clear
Immediately I noticed the signage along the trail. Below is the sign at the beginning of the trail that serves as wayfinding and provides the rules of the trail.
The trail mile/kilometer markers are spaced every 0.1 mile. In the background there are banners on the lights. I didn't get a good photo of them, but they say things like "play," "bike," and "fun."
Incorporate public art
Public art gives an area a sense of place. There are murals all along the Dequindre Cut on the walls and bridge underpasses. Some range from graffiti to elaborate works of art. This mural was my favorite.
Ensure security and safety
I saw security guards patrolling the trails. In addition, there are emergency lights about every 200 feet along the trail. They have security cameras and an emergency button.
I really enjoyed the bike tour of Detroit. They have aggressive plans to implement new bike infrastructure, including a new bike sharing program. If they can keep expanding the system, bicycling could become a real travel option for a great many Detroit residents.
Grand Rapids, Michigan might not be known for its transit today, but it once was.
Here's one resident's look at the history of streetcars in Grand Rapids. And his encouragement for residents to vote to support better transit there.
Luckily, this week's vote to fund transit passed by 136 votes.
raising the gax tax to close huge budget gaps. With Mary Peters and her seemingly-irrational opposition to the gax tax in all forms on the way out, gas prices low, and budget deficits high, this makes some sense. (WTOP)
Not going to help: Port Huron, Michigan and Hollywood, Florida are both removing all parking meters to boost flagging. Parking Today thinks that's a mistake: employees will take up most of the spaces, parking still won't be more attractive than at the mall, and the cities won't even have money to use to improve downtown.
Greening our "unnecessary garages": Today's Post prints an op-ed by Ingrid Specht endorsing lower parking minimums for DC. "In fact, employees should receive benefits for not driving to work." Specht suggests the Columbia Heights garage could be better utilized if it stayed open later for restaurant goers, filled in some of the empty space with bicycle parking, or added Zipcar spaces, "rather than hoping they are someday filled with personal vehicles, promoting pollution." Tip: Michael P.
Paleolithic road planners: Dr. Gridlock considers a right-turn lane on Georgia Avenue at Spring Street (probably not a good diea) and reveals some ongoing old-fashioned traffic thinking at the Maryland State Highway Administration: "Their goal, [SHA traffic planners] say, is to get the most vehicles through the area in the most predictable way possible." Even pedestrians aside, the goal should be to get the most people through the area, not the most vehicles. It's an important distinction, since one bus carries as many people as a whole lane of cars.
And... The NOAA headquarters in College Park is indeed transit-unfriendly; Great Streets and the 11th Street Bridges may be on the budgetary chopping block; a Welsh translation attempt leads to a hilarious result.
Prince of Petworth noticed this "green" truck:
Using ethanol to power a big Chevy pickup is far from green in many ways: a big car uses a lot of energy, and ethanol isn't any better for the environment anyway.
Meanwhile, Streetsblog discoverd a "Bizarre News" article on a Flint, Michigan news station's Web site. What's bizarre? Bike sharing in DC. In Michigan, that really is bizarre. The more ironic part? The story carries a Chrysler ad.
- Bikeshare is a gateway to private biking, not competition
- Judge denies injunction against closing schools
- Short-term Washingtonians deserve a voice, too
- Long-term closures: A solution to single-tracking?
- Public land deals have both benefits and pitfalls
- Metro policy for refunds after delays falls short, riders say
- PG planners propose bold new smart growth future