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Navigating a multi-lane state highway just got a lot easier for bicyclists on Lansing’s westside and users of the popular Lansing River Trail. A recent resurfacing project on Martin Luther King Blvd/M-99 in Lansing presented an opportunity for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to coordinate with the City of Lansing to install MDOT’s first contra-flow bicycle lane. While the addition of only 150′ of pavement marking and a few signs may not seem like a big deal, the recent restriping makes it easy,

M-99 contra-flow bike lane

M-99 contra-flow bike lane

safe and legal for eastbound bicyclist to cross M-99 at Moore’s River Drive. Prior to this, cyclists would either cross the road illegally, transition to sidewalk, or travel nearly 10 times the distance while navigating 6 lanes of traffic to make a “Michigan left” to avoid the one-way street, when in reality the bicyclists simply wants to travel straight 150′.

Prior to the project, this segment of Moore’s River Drive, located between northbound and southbound M-99 was an unorganized roadway and despite the do not enter signs, many motorists and bicyclists traveled the wrong way on this one-way street. With the new pavement markings and signs, order is created in the roadway and motorists and eastbound bicyclists have dedicated lanes. Bicyclists traveling westbound on Moore’s River Drive will share the lane as they had done prior to the project.

Now for west Lansing residents who travels this route by bicycle for their commute to work, to the neighborhood parks, the Lansing River Trail and downtown Lansing and East Lansing, this small improvement provides significant connectivity and mobility improvement What a difference a little paint and a few signs make.

By Josh DeBruyn, MDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.

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Michigan Complete Streets Coalition member, Norm Cox of the American Society of Landscape Architects used his testimony to state that HB 6152 and 6152 is "working to make amends for the lopsided transportation investments of the last 50-60 years," adding, "it's not taking money away, but redistributing it based on changing priorities."

The second House Transportation Committee hearing on Complete Streets legislation,  HB 6151 and 6152, saw the room once again packed with supporters of the policies. The legislation – which seeks to move Michigan away from auto-centric road designs and meet the needs of all roadway users – has attracted strong support from a broad range of advocates. A few of the groups represented at today’s hearing included: The American Heart Association, Crim Fitness Foundation and Citizens for a Safe Community.

The coalition would like to extend thanks to all those who spoke at the meeting today, as well to those that offered written testimony. Chairwoman Byrnes (D – Dist. 52) indicated she plans to hold a vote on the bills next week, and with some organizations like SEMCOG and MML still supporting the bill in concept only, it is important that the committee members continue to hear vocal support for these specific policies.

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Lansing Complete Streets Public Hearing Turnout

The bike rack was overflowing in front of City Hall as over 60 Complete Streets supporters came out to testify before City Council on August 10, 2009.

The Lansing City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to adopt a Complete Streets and Non-Motorized Plan Ordinance. This is a big victory for cyclists and pedestrians in Lansing, and for the Complete Streets movement in Michigan. Lansing becomes the first municipality in the State of Michigan to pass a Complete Streets ordinance, and joins a host of other communities across the state in committing to develop a non-motorized plan.

The effort to pass the ordinance was organized by the Walk and Bike Lansing! Task Force. Led by the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council, the task force is composed of a diverse group of community and state partners, including LMB and MEC. The initiative came to City Council by way of a signature drive, through which volunteers collected over 4,520 signatures of registered Lansing voters. Another 90 letters of support and 60 public comments at a recent Council meeting didn’t hurt, either.

There’s more information on this milestone at the Walk and Bike Lansing! website, but in summary, this ordinance:

  1. Requires the City of Lansing to adopt a Non- Motorized Network Plan.
  2. The Non-Motorized Network Plan would include, at a minimum, accommodations for accessibility, sidewalks, curb ramps and cuts, trails and pathways, signage, and bike lanes, and shall incorporate the principles of Complete Streets and maximize walkable and bikeable streets within the City.
  3. To the extent financially feasible, future construction or reconstruction of City rights-of- way or any parts thereof shall be in conformity with the Non-Motorized Network Plan.
  4. Sets a goal to adequately funding walk- and bike-friendly infrastructure. (The City of Lansing currently spends 2% to 3% for non-motorized facilities. The ordinance sets a goal of 5% for future budget years).
  5. Require an update of the Non-Motorized Network Plan every five years from the date of adoption.

Congratulations, Lansing! Here’s to hoping other Michigan communities and road agencies follow your lead!

Low-fi recording of CH6 news coverage of Complete Streets public hearing at Lansing City Council on Monday, August 10, 2009. More than 60 people came out in support of the ordinance.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Links to additional recent news coverage of the Lansing Complete Streets movement:

http://tinyurl.com/peo6pv – LSJ, 8/11/09
http://tinyurl.com/r7awhw – WKAR 8/11/009
http://tinyurl.com/pevggn – WKAR, 8/10/09
http://bit.ly/CrTWM
– LSJ, 8/10/09
http://bit.ly/k2LQe – LSJ, 8/6/09
http://bit.ly/27A8QH – City Pulse, 8/5/09
http://tinyurl.com/qyhtxk
– WKAR, 7/10/09
http://tinyurl.com/mqo5b5WILX, 6/26/09

Follow Walk and Bike Lansing on Facebook.

The Michigan Complete Streets Coalition recently launched a statewide collaborative photo project to document the current conditions of Michigan roads focusing on “complete” and “incomplete” streets.

While the photo project is a statewide effort (currently we have images from Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City and Detroit), a pilot website has been launched that  specifically highlights Lansing.   The goal is to help document the good, bad and ugly of Lansing roadways in order to motivate City Council to adopt a Complete Streets ordinance.

You can visit the new site at:
www.LMB.org/LansingCompleteStreets.html


Recently over 4,500 Lansing registered voters signed a Complete Streets petition, making it the first citizen-driven ballot initiative in the City since 1990. The petition will be presented to City Council on August 10th, 2009 where they will have the opportunity to either adopt the ordinance or put it on the November ballot where citizens can directly vote on it.

The new website is powered using Flickr.com, a popular photo sharing site and uses Tags, or keywords, to pull up images in different categories such as “Bike Lanes,” “Bus Shelters,” “Curb Cuts,” etc.  While we are still working on refining the categories and adding descriptions and titles to all the images, we are pleased to announce the Beta version of the site.


We are actively seeking people to document more of Lansing roads, as well as other communities across Michigan.  If you are interested in helping to take photos, or if you have comments or suggestions, please contact John Lindenmayer at the League of Michigan Bicyclists.



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