It seems like a simple ideal: Roadways should be safe for all users, whether they drive, ride public transit, bike or walk. But Detroit is ranked the 12th-most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the country, so the area has a long road ahead.
In April 2010, Detroit received a federally-funded grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health that supports the effort to fortify “Complete Street” policies, which state that pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all kinds are to have safe access along all complete street roadways.
Next year Detroit will see the beginning stages of the North-South Complete Street Greenway which connects Cass Tech High School to The Fisher Building; Second Ave. and Third St. will be converted into two-way streets with bike lanes.
And The Detroit Complete Streets Coalition is leading the way. It’s an all-star team comprised of many advocacy groups, including the Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance, Department of Public Works, City Planning Commission, Detroit Department of Transportation, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative, Wayne State University, City Connect Detroit, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, Transit Riders United and plenty of committed community advocates.
“Detroit’s the best city I’ve ever ridden!” Todd Scott, Detroit Greenways Coordinator for the Michigan Trails & Greenway Alliance said “Almost all the projects are occurring because of local efforts made by people who want to see it happen.”
And Biking seems to be making a comeback! “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in people walking and biking. We really just want to see more and more people choosing to walk and bike and building a healthier, greener, more sustainable communities.”
While the Motor City’s automobile heritage is often celebrated, Scott reminds people not to overlook the long legacy of cycling in Detroit. Biking advocates went on to become the founders of the auto industry, from the Dodge brothers, who first made bicycles, to Henry Ford, whose first car, the Quadricycle, was made of bike parts.
And motorists in the area have been conducive to the recent greenway changes - Scott said that bike riders in region are surprised at how well drivers share the road and adhere to traffic rules for bike lanes.
Todd Scott and many others are working to make the city more bike-friendly in a variety of ways. Online resources are making bike riding safer and easier and, like Google Bike Maps, and two informational Wikipedia pages, Cycling in Detroit and Trails in Detroit.
(Full Article: HuffingtonPost.com)