Road Removal Would Impact Downtown Detroit Cyclists

UPDATE January 14, 2014

DETROIT—The Detroit city clerk's office has confirmed the passage of a city council resolution that could lead to the closure of a section of downtown roadway often used by bicyclists (SEE BELOW).

Council considered the measure, Line Item 12, during a special Dec. 20 holiday session. Despite some initial confusion about the outcome of the decision, Carleen Ford of the clerk's office told Mode Shift last week that it had been approved.

The measure authorizes a "special district review" of proposed modifications to an area near Cobo Center. These changes include a proposal to eliminate part of Civic Center Drive near the intersection of Washington and West Jefferson as well as the installation of two pieces of public art near the convention facility.

The review is part of a process outlined in the City of Detroit's zoning ordinance. It requires the City Planning Commission and the Planning and Development Department to prepare a written recommendation prior to City Council making a final decision on the development.

From original story:

DETROIT—City Council will be considering the removal of a strip of Civic Center Drive betwen Jefferson Avenue and Atwater Street during a special session Friday at 9 a.m. It's a proposal that local cycling advocate Todd Scott finds troubling.

Scott, who works with the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and is also a member of the Detroit Greenways Coaltion, told Mode Shift the measure wouldn't have much impact on pedestrians but would hinder cyclist's access to the RiverWalk.

"Hart Plaza is a more common pedestrian access point. Cobo Center is also allowing pedestrians to walk through their facilities to get to the RiverWalk," he said. "This is not an option for bicyclists, and for many reasons, Hart Plaza isn't either. Hart Plaza is not safe to ride to on its north side, it's not legal to bike in the park, and the plaza is often closed to public use for summer festivals."

He's also concerned that the elimination of the drive would impede a Detroit Underground Railroad bicycle route.

Scott told Mode Shift his coalition had reached out to Detroit's Department of Public Works about concerns related to Cobo Center's construction in January and thought the issue was resolved until plans to remove the drive surfaced earlier this month.

The upcoming city council measure is part of several pending resolutions that would approve a special district review for modifications to Cobo Center. It would impact a section of Civic Center Drive between Jefferson and Atwater Street.

Ashok Patel works in the DPW's Traffic Engineering Division. He told Mode Shift the proposed changes would allow motorists to turn around where Civic Center now connects with Washington and would make for easier access to Cobo's parking garage.

Scott told Mode Shift, his coalition plans to attend Friday's special city council session and urged concerned cyclists to contact Detroit city council members.

 

Do you oppose the removal of this strip of road? Let City Council know via e-mail or attend the special session to voice your concerns.

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