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The Michigan Department of Transportation recently released a glossary of Bicycle and Pedestrian Terminology, a must-have resource for transportation advocates, citizens, and planners. Many non-motorized terms are similar, and some tend to be confused or misused. For example, could you state the difference between a bike lane, bike boulevard, and bike route? This glossary brings clarity to non-motorized discussions and when used, will help improve the conversation around pedestrian and bicycling issues.

MDOT Bike Ped Glossary

This story originally appeared on (Transportation for Michigan) 

Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) plans for moving forward with an internal all-out effort on Complete Streets were presented in what was likely the last meeting of the state’s Complete Streets Advisory Council (CSAC) on Thursday, December 5th. The update was another indication that a positive culture shift continues within the agency in regard to planning streets for all users.

Michigan’s Complete Streets Policy  implementation plan is nearly finished.  The department’s Complete Streets Internal Team is on track to meet its December 31 deadline for rollout of the policy implementation plan, which revises relevant MDOT procedures and guidelines and includes an exception process for projects where policy criteria might not be appropriate, said Brad Peterson of MDOT. Peterson emphasized that outreach will be a major component during the policy’s implementation, including notifications through MDOT’s social media, updated presentations, and a public MDOT Complete Streets webpage tentatively scheduled for early spring 2014.

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Brad Peterson of MDOT updates the council on Complete Streets progress

The plan focuses on project tracking and reporting, and will list MDOT’s Complete Streets accomplishments to date. During policy implementation, MDOT staff will receive training on the policy. Several Advisory Council members thanked Peterson and other MDOT representatives for the Department’s positive culture change regarding Complete Streets.

In addition to the implementation plan, MDOT’s Multi-Modal Design and Delivery (M2D2) project is another avenue the department is using to change its internal culture around Complete Streets and multi-modal transportation.

Roger Millar, vice-president of Smart Growth America and director of the Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, presented an overview of the project.  “The project will improve MDOT’s institutional capacity to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain Michigan’s transportation system for Complete Streets and multiple modes,” Millar said, noting that it was MDOT managers who approached Smart Growth with the desire to create better multi-modal outcomes. M2D2 will result in updated standards that consider multi-modal travel on state trunkline highway facilities, and will provide MDOT staff with the knowledge and tools to effectively implement multi-modal travel. An MDOT staff stakeholder group will be matched with national and in-state experts to better understand barriers, gaps, and opportunities in MDOT’s practices and procedures. From these meetings, Millar said a curriculum will be developed in early spring, workshops will be held in the summer, and recommendations for implementation will be ready by the fall. MDOT plans on communicating lessons learned to other state agencies, regional and local governments, advocacy groups, and the general public.

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Roger Millar of Smart Growth America presents on MDOT’s Multi-Modal Design and Delivery process

The meeting ended with a discussion of whether the council should continue to meet. CSAC was legislatively created with the passage of PA 135 2010, and charged to assist the State Transportation Commission with the development and implementation of the Complete Streets Policy. With the policy done and the implementation plan nearly complete, the council has met it charge. Members of the CSAC voted to send a letter to legislative leaders recommending they sunset the Advisory Council. Barring a new charge or further instruction from the legislature, it seems that CSAC will be dissolved, with members continuing to work on Complete Streets through their respective organizations.

The Complete Streets Policy implementation plan and the M2D2 process are signs that MDOT is continuing its culture shift towards accommodating all legal users on its roadways—not just cars. We look forward to the results of these two initiatives and potential benefits to Michigan communities.

Written by: Jeff Prygoski, Trans4M Fellow

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.

SEMCOGSEMCOG, a Michigan Complete Streets Coalition partner, is currently teaming up with MDOT on a regional nonmotorized plan for their seven county region, including Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties.

This planning process includes:

  • Collection of all nonmotorized plans for the region (as well as nonmotorized components in Master Plans, Area Plans, Recreation Plans, Complete Streets Plans, etc);
  • Digitization of  all existing and proposed on-road and off road bicycle facilities into GIS data formats;
  • A gap analysis for bike facilities and conceptual plan;
  • Public involvement workshops and surveys; and
  • A final plan with priority corridors for MDOT facilities and next steps for other road agencies.

To learn more about this regional nonmotorized plan and opportunities to provide public input, please visit SEMCOG’s nonmotorized page.

After the State Transportation Commission officially adopted a Complete Streets policy on July 26th, 2012, as required by PA 134 and PA 135 of 2010, the Michigan Department of Transportation wasted no time in getting the word out about the good news.  Upon request from the Michigan Complete Streets Advisory Council, MDOT recently published this one-page leave behind regarding the new policy in an effort to help inform internal staff, as well as road commissions, municipalities, and other interest groups across the state.

The one-pager includes the following vision for Complete Streets in Michigan:

  • A transportation network that is accessible, interconnected and multimodal and that safely and efficiently moves goods and people of all ages and abilities throughout the State of Michigan.
  • A process that empowers partnerships to routinely plan, fund, design, construct, maintain and operate complete streets that respect context and community values.
  • Outcomes that will improve economic prosperity, equity, accessibility, safety and environmental quality.

Download the one-pager or preview it below.

Interested in making your neighborhood or community more conducive to walking? The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is promoting a series of “walkability” audits in seven communities around the state, designed to provide a hands-on evaluation of the walking conditions in a portion of the community, and a discussion of design improvement ideas.

The walkability audits are designed to help city engineers, planners, officials, residents and others realize the benefits of providing a safe and attractive environment for walking. The free audits will be conducted by Dan Burden of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, who has 40 years of experience in developing, promoting and evaluating active transportation facilities, traffic calming practices and sustainable community design.

Audits will be conducted from Aug. 12 to17. For more details, contact the community organizer.

The 2012 schedule follows:

Sunday, Aug. 12 – Paw Paw

Monday, Aug. 13 – Alpine Township

Monday, Aug. 13 – Wyoming

Tuesday, Aug. 14 – Meridian Township

Wednesday, Aug. 15 – Gaylord

Thursday, Aug. 16 – Trenton

Friday, Aug. 17 – Detroit

Yesterday the State Transportation Commission (STC),a six-member board that establishes policy and plans for Michigan’s transportation department, formally adopted a Complete Streets policy.  The policy will direct Michigan Department of Transportation planners to keep all users in mind – including bicyclists, transit riders, motorists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

The STC invited public comment on the draft Complete Streets policy released at its June 28 meeting in Sault Ste. Marie. Many citizens and bicycle and pedestrian advocates across the state took advantage of the public comment period to request that the policy include stronger, clearer and more specific language with firm timelines for implementation. This included a petition drive led by the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB), which collected nearly 2500 signatures in a single week.

We thank the STC for being so responsive to the requests made by concerned citizens. Added and/or modified language strengthened the final policy providing more clarity in a number of areas as outlined below.  A big thanks also goes out to all of the Michigan Complete Streets advocates who took the time to comment on the draft policy – your voices were heard!

Public Act 135 of 2010 requires the STC to enact a Complete Streets policy by August 2012. The STC has worked closely with the governor-appointed 18-member Complete Streets Advisory Council on the draft policy. The group’s role, according to law, is to advise the STC, county road commissions and municipalities on Complete Streets policies. Council members represent road and transit agencies, state agencies, walking and biking organizations, and environmental, senior citizens and disabled persons groups.

Below is a analysis of the final policy comparing it to the major revisions requested by the LMB petition.

  • Strengthen implementation language.
    • Identify the procedures or guidelines that will be developed or revised. – Did not include.
    • Include a timeframe by which implementing documents will be developed or revised. – Included, by December 31, 2013.
    • State a commitment to continue programs to educate and train MDOT personnel and other stakeholders on complete streets implementation. – Included language about training/education.
    • Include language about implementation accountability. – Included language with a bit more specificity on what MDOT will report annually to the STC, but nothing about who will be responsible for developing/revising procedures, etc.
  • State a commitment to continuing to base facilities design and construction on existing laws, best practices, and guidance documents. – Included language about this.
  • Strengthen exception language.
    • Refer to the exceptions already outlined in PA 135. – Not specifically referenced.
    • Include a timeframe by which an exception procedure document will be developed. – Included, by December 31, 2013
  • Include language about developing and using performance measures. – Included language about what MDOT will report annually to the STC, which stated “any information/examples to gauge MDOT’s performance.” (Not exactly what we was requested.)
  • Strengthen language to direct MDOT to work with local road agencies (change “may” to “shall”).  – Language was strengthened; “MDOT shall work with local road agencies that are undertaking road or bridge projects with federal funds…”
  • Amend language about the network approach to expand “non-motorized” users to include all users, including people with disabilities and transit users. – Language states “all users”
  • Specify whether there will be a sunset on annual reports to the State Transportation Commission. – Not specified.

Read the final policy below or download a PDF here.

Michigan’s draft Complete Streets policy is out, and the Michigan State Transportation Commission (MSTC) is looking for your feedback. Through July 13th, we urge you to join other citizens around the state by signing the petition asking MSTC to adopt a stronger policy.

MSTC, a six-member board that establishes the policy and plans for Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT), recently released the draft policy for implementing Complete Streets on state roads. The Complete Streets policy will direct MDOT planners to design and maintain roadways that fit within the context of the community and keep all users in mind, including bicyclists, public transit riders, motorists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

While the state’s effort is a big step in the right direction, bicycle, disability, transit, and pedestrian advocates around the state think the policy could be clearer, more specific, and include firm timelines for implementing Complete Streets procedures. Advocates analyzed the policy, comparing it to national best practices, and have identified a number of key areas where Michigan’s policy could be improved.

The draft policy is the result of Complete Streets legislation passed in 2010 with overwhelming support from Michigan Legislature and the public. The legislation requires that the state adopt a policy by August 2012.  MSTC is only allowing two weeks for the public to review and comment on the policy and this period is quickly coming to a close on July 13th. That’s why we need you to ACT TODAY and sign the petition urging MSTC to make improvements to the policy before adopting it.

Michigan officials need your input on a draft policy that could make streets in your community much safer.

It’s Michigan’s official Complete Streets policy, and through July 13, you can join other citizens around the state to send a clear message to the state:
Adopt a policy that is strong and that moves Michigan forward.

Last week, the Michigan State Transportation Commission, a six-member board that establishes the policy and plans for Michigan’s transportation department, released a draft policy for implementing Complete Streets on state roads. The Complete Streets policy will direct Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) planners to design and maintain roadways that fit within the context of the community and keep all users in mind, including bicyclists, public transit riders, motorists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

While the state’s effort is a step in the right direction, most bicycle, disability, bus, and pedestrian advocates around the state think the policy could be clearer, more specific, and include firm timelines for implementing Complete Streets procedures.

Without clarity and timelines most feel that the policy could become just another document that sits on a shelf in Lansing.

Michiganders have made it clear. They want safe and convenient transportation choices. And they want better, safer, and more Complete Streets.

To make sure Michigan adopts a strong policy, here’s how you can get involved:

Read the 2-page DRAFT Complete Streets policy here.

Please send an email to the Michigan State Transportation Commission and tell them how you feel about roads in your local community.

Here’s the email address:

In your note, please tell them that you want a complete streets policy that:

  • Establishes clear internal timelines and specific procedures that the Department, must adopt;
  • Commit to training Department staff and other stakeholders on Complete Streets implementation, and;
  • Directs state officials to use best practices while working with local officials and stakeholders on best practices to make better, safer streets for all.

Spread the word on Facebook:

Please “like” and “share” Trans4M’s Facebook postcard. Include the caption:

Michigan is adopting a Complete Streets policy and we think it can be better. Tell the Michigan State Transportation Commission that we need a stronger Complete Streets policy!
Let’s move Michigan forward!
Please “like” and “share”
To learn more about Complete Streets in Michigan, check out the Michigan Complete Streets Coalition website:

Let’s move together to complete Michigan’s streets!

Reposted from the League of Michigan Bicyclists

Currently in Michigan, bikes are not allowed on board Amtrak trains, nor as checked luggage. Urge Amtrak to allow bikes on Michigan trains. Click the image to sign the petition.

LMB is extremely pleased that the recently published Michigan State Rail Plan makes clear recommendations that bicycles need to be accommodated on Michigan passenger trains. LMB thanks the Michigan Department of Transportation for recognizing this need. We also thank all of our supporters who responded to our call to submit comments to the rail plan this past year.

We now are asking for your help again to ensure that these recommendations are acted on promptly. Please sign our petition urging Amtrak to implement roll-on bicycle service on all Michigan service routes as they have already done in other states.

Currently in Michigan, bikes are not allowed on board Amtrak trains, nor as checked luggage. On board accommodations for bicycles will make seamless multi-modal connections possible by allowing passengers to bicycle to train stations, ride the train, and then conveniently bicycle to their final destinations within the community.

Our state is home to a number of bicycle tours in or near Michigan communities serviced by Amtrak. By adding bike facilities on Amtrak trains, many Michigan communities could benefit from increased tourism spending, particularly from vacationing Chicago residents. Without options to bring bicycles on board, Michigan is losing out on significant travel-related spending generated by bicycle tourism. Commuters traveling within Michigan would also have additional transportation options.

We encourage everyone to sign the petition, but it is especially important for Amtrak to hear from individuals living or working in or around current stations locations in Albion, Ann Arbor, Bangor, Battle Creek, Birmingham, Dearborn, Detroit, Dowagiac, Durand, East Lansing, Flint, Grand Rapids, Holland, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, New Buffalo, Niles, Pontiac, Port Huron, Royal Oak, and St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. [The petition has received over 2350 signatures since it was launched]

Please click here to add your name to the petition and please share the petition link over your networks. When you add your name to the petition please use the “Why This Is Important” option to help personalize the message.

For those on Facebook, we have also created a Facebook Event titled “Tell Amtrak to Allow Bikes on Trains – Sign the Petition” to help raise awareness around this issue.

We sincerely appreciate your support on this issue and hope that by spring we will all have the ability to bring bicycles on board passenger trains in our state.

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