SEMCOG Holding Public Meetings To 'Fill In The Gaps' For Region's Non-Motorized Transpo Plan

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments is hosting a series of public meetings to discuss a regionalized non-motorized transportation plan in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The meetings will take place in each of the seven counties that make up the SEMCOG region starting Today, from 4-7 p.m. at the SEMCOG offices in Detroit.

The goals of the plan are to:

  • Create an inventory of existing facilities in the region
  • Develop guidelines for new facilities
  • Address the most critical gaps within the non-motorized corridors
  • Create a planning resource for communities within the seven-county SEMCOG region to coordinate facilities across boundaries

Alex Bourgeau, SEMCOG’s coordinator of transportation, said SEMCOG has collected an inventory of the current non-motorized transportation infrastructure in the SEMCOG region and will display that information on maps at the meetings.

The maps, he said, will include details of the county’s bicycle network, trails, side paths, bike lanes and road shoulders. The maps will also include additional information about the roads, including traffic volume, speed limits and whether or not they are paved.

He said the meetings will be run in an open-house format where participants will have the opportunity to view the maps and physically mark them up with markers and sticky notes to determine the key characteristics of whether or not people would want to ride on those roads.

Versions of the maps can be found here: http://www.semcog.org/bikemaps.aspx

“The primary purpose, at this point, is to make sure we’re not missing anything,” he said.

The plan will be part of MDOT’s larger non-motorized transportation plans for the state.

Julie Edwards, the transportation planner in MDOT’s Metro Region Office, said MDOT currently has non-motorized transportation plans for each of its state regions except for its Metro and University regions, which also overlap with SEMCOG’s region.

She said MDOT approached SEMCOG to work together to develop these plans to create a coordinated effort between the region and the state.

“From MDOT’s standpoint, one of our major goals for this plan to be provide a gap analysis where we can see where there are gaps in non-motorized systems and where we can assist in filling those gaps,” she said.

Bourgeau said the plan will fit in as part of Michigan’s “Complete Streets” policy, which encourages city and state planners and engineers to design roads that accommodate non-motorized transportation, such as bicycling and walking, as well as cars.

Edwards said the non-motorized transportation plan isn’t directly related to the Complete Streets policy, but creating “complete streets” are being considered as part of the plan.

The non-motorized transportation plan does not include funding on how to implement the plan but will serve as a framework to be incorporated by road planners and municipalities. Edwards said the goal is tie in the findings of the non-motorized plan with future construction projects in counties and local communities.

“The hope is this plan will be implemented over time as communities go back and reconstruct or rehab their roads,” she said. “This plan isn’t going to be implemented overnight. It’s a long-term thing we’ll have to be working on.”

After the initial public meetings, Borgeau said SEMCOG will take the information to put together a set of draft recommendations to present to the public in another round of workshops this fall. He said the goal is to have the plan finalized by the end of the year and formally adopted by spring.

Here is the complete schedule of public meetings:

  • City of Detroit – Tuesday, July 16; 4-7 p.m., SEMCOG offices, Detroit
  • Livingston County – Thursday, July 18; 4-7 p.m.; Green Oak Township Offices
  • Macomb County – Tuesday, July 23; 4-7 p.m.; Warren Community Center
  • Monroe County – Tuesday, Aug. 20; 4-7 p.m.; Monroe City Hall
  • Oakland County – Tuesday, Aug. 13; 4-7 p.m.; Holly Police Department
  • Washtenaw County – Wednesday, July 31; 4-7 p.m.; Saline Council Chambers
  • Wayne County – Wednesday, Aug. 7; 4-7 p.m.; Taylor Public Library
  • St. Clair County – Tuesday, July 9; 4-7 p.m.; St. Clair County Administrative Offices, Donald E. Dodge Auditorium

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