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The Complete Streets Advisory Council met yesterday and announced the release of an annual report detailing progress made since Complete Streets legislation went into effect in Michigan on Aug. 1, 2010. The report is available online at: www.michigan.gov/completestreets or can be viewed in the PDF viewer below.

The Complete Streets law was enacted to encourage counties, cities, villages and townships to work cooperatively to incorporate policies that ensure that roads and streets take into account the mobility needs of all legal users, including bicyclists, pedestrians and those traveling by assistive devices such as wheelchairs. Public Acts 134 and 135 of 2010 also requires the State Transportation Commission to enact a Complete Streets policy for MDOT by August 2012.

The 18-member council worked together over the last year to develop a vision statement and sample policy language for the State Transportation Commission. The report released yesterday notes that 63 Michigan communities have enacted Complete Streets policies and/or resolutions as of November 2011, putting Michigan ahead of all other states.

Members of the Complete Streets Advisory Council represent road and transit agencies, state agencies, walking, biking and environmental organizations, senior citizen and disabled persons groups. The council’s role, according to law, is to provide education and advice to the State Transportation Commission, county road commissions and municipalities. More information is available online at: www.michigan.gov/completestreets.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications, 517-335-3084

 MDOT promotes on-road bicycling facilities

August 19, 2011 — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is sponsoring “Training Wheels” courses around the state designed to educate communities interested in providing on-road bicycle facilities for their residents and visitors. The five-hour course includes both classroom and outdoor instruction.

The courses will be offered in the following areas:

  • Sept. 12 in Three Rivers (merritt@threeriversmi.org)
  • Sept. 13 in Dewitt Township (niewiad9@msu.edu)
  • Sept. 14 in Big Rapids (msweppe@ci.big-rapids.mi.us)
  • Sept. 15 in Park Township/Holland (ehoekwater@the-macc.org)
  • Sept. 26 in Dearborn (dnorwood@ci.dearborn.mi.us)
  • Sept. 27 in Berkley (avansen@berkleymich.net)
  • Sept. 28 in Rochester (misuracan@oakgov.com)
  • Sept. 29 in Lapeer  (ljackman@ci.lapeer.mi.us)

“Training Wheels” is designed to show communities how to integrate bike facilities into existing infrastructure to make bicycling safe and convenient, providing alternate transportation that make roads more complete for everyone. Classroom instruction using a guide produced by the American Association for State Highway Officials (AASHTO) is followed by an on-road, on-bike portion. The outdoor segment provides participants a firsthand look at the benefits of providing an alternative mode of travel that does not require expensive facilities for communities to build or maintain.

The “Training Wheels” courses are intended for city, township and county managers; council members; engineers; and related design and planning staff. Registration is required. A bicycle and helmet also are required and may be rented; bicycles and helmets must be ordered in advance. Registration deadlines vary with locations. For details, contact Cynthia Krupp at 517-335-2923, or by e-mail at kruppc@michigan.gov.

After being featured on Streetsblog DC last week, we are pleased to inform our readers of an upcoming Training Wheels: On-Road Bicycle Facility Design Training, that will take place in Rochester, MI September 28, 2011.

WHAT:

Training Wheels is an educational course on the planning and design of on-road bicycle facilities sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). It will consist of two hours of classroom instruction on the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, followed by an on-road, on bike portion. During this portion we will casually ride through the community, analyzing types of on-road facilities available. There will be many stops to point out potential facility types, followed by a group exercise and discussion, questions from participants and a brief wrap-up.

WHO: This course is for City, County, Township, Village and MDOT managers, engineers, planners, City Councils, DDA staff, Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders that can help communities educate others and adopt on-road bicycle facilities.

WHERE:

Stoney Creek Schoolhouse
1051 Washington Road
Rochester, Michigan 48306

WHEN:

September 28, 2011
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

TO REGISTER: Email Nina Misuraca Ignaczak at misuracan@oakgov.com

MORE INFO:

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently posted the following Complete Streets FAQ document to their website.

As a follow-up to the Action Alert we posted in late April regarding the Michigan budget process, we wanted to update our supporters on the finalized budget in regards to complete streets and public transit funding.

The House version of the budget ultimately reduced bus operating and bus capital by $20 million, however the final version that came out of conference committee restored funding for public transportation to current year levels. We are extremely pleased to see that the House and Senate came together to recognize the vital importance of funding public transportation in Michigan.

The complete streets boilerplate language did not fare so well, however. Unfortunately, while the Senate version of the budget included the complete streets boilerplate language, which gave Transportation Enhancement (TE) funding preference to communities with complete streets policies, the final version lacked such language.

The TE program is a competitive grant program that funds projects such as nonmotorized paths, streetscapes, and historic preservation of transportation facilities, that enhance Michigan’s intermodal transportation system and improve the quality of life for Michigan citizens.

The TE incentive language, which was successfully included in last year’s budget, helped encourage over 25 communities in Michigan to adopt complete streets resolutions and ordinances in the past year alone. We are extremely disappointed that this incentive language, which did not cost anything, was removed from the bill.

We are pleased to report, however, that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), who administers TE funding, has verbally indicated that they will continue to give TE priority to communities with complete streets ordinances and resolutions despite this language being stripped out of the budget bill.

Having received numerous inquires regarding the subject of TE priority going to communities with complete streets policies; we recently requested further clarification from MDOT about how they implement this preference. The Department has explained to us that basically all things being equal in the applications between two communities applying for TE dollars, a community that has shown a true commitment to complete streets would have the more competitive TE project.

This does beg the question of how often communities actually submit truly identical applications. MDOT went on to explain that a community with a competitive project, a complete streets resolution, policy, or ordinance, and a robust public input process that engages all users of the system will have a better chance to secure TE funding than a community that does not develop projects on a good complete streets foundation. “There is no guarantee of funds, but complete streets is good for the community and it improves your chances for a successful application,” said Amber Thelen, MDOT’s TE Program Manager.

MDOT’s Project Competitiveness Details document, available on the TE Program website, specifically references complete streets in two places under the heading “What other factors make a project competitive for TE funding?”:

  • project identified as a result of a community’s Complete Streets stakeholder involvement Process
  • projects supporting a community’s Complete Streets policy, or is part of a statewide initiative such as Cool Cities, Cities of Promise, the Safe Routes to School Program, Heritage Route or Scenic Byways Program

They stressed that regardless if a community has passed a resolution or ordinance, their primary concern is whether or not the community can demonstrate a true commitment to the principles of complete streets in how they approach transportation projects. In addition, MDOT encouraged communities with questions or who have a potential project idea, to contact a TE Grant Coordinator who are available to assist communities by providing more information on the program, guidance on competitive projects, and how to best develop a competitive application. Contact information is available www.michigan.gov/tea, under the “Contact Us” heading.

We will continue to share further details on this topic as they become available.

We would again like to thank all of our supporters who contacted their legislator to ask them to protect transit funding and the complete streets boilerplate language.

We are pleased to report that the much anticipated Complete Streets Advisory Council met for the first time on April 27.  The Council elected Suzanne Schulz (Michigan Municipal League/Grand Rapids DDA) as Chair, John Niemela (County Road Association of Michigan) as Vice Chair and Andrea Brown (Michigan Association of Planning) as Secretary.

In addition to electing officers, the Council made decisions on how meetings will be conducted and had a lively conversation about potential presentations and topics of discussions for future meetings. The Council will meet quarterly, with the next meeting scheduled for sometime in July.  Below you will find a DRAFT copy of detailed meeting minutes.

Laashtoet Your Voice Be Heard – Take Action Now!

Last week, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a letter and supplemental document, which asked the US Department of Transportation to weaken their guidance on accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians. The supplemental document, submitted as part of a formal review of regulations, asks that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) withdraw their guidance on the meaning of “due consideration” of bicyclists and pedestrians to make it easier for states to ignore the needs of non-motorized travelers. AASHTO prefers the weaker “consider where appropriate” to allow states to avoid having to justify failure to accommodate bicycling and walking.

This request is misguided. At a time when cities are building entire bicycling networks for the cost of one mile of urban four-lane freeway, bike projects are putting people to work, and benefiting business, this is not the time to move backwards. With 23 states embracing Complete Streets (and 39 Micigan policies), AASHTO should be a leading voice in shaping holistic and comprehensive transportation systems, not resisting them. In fact, AASHTO’s own 12 year-old Bicycle Guide, due to be up dated this year, says that bicyclists and pedestrians can be expected on any roadway they are legally allowed to operate and therefore should be accommodated.

Please take a minute to thank the Michigan Department of Transportation for their continued leadership in helping to make Michigan roads safe for all users, including bicyclists, and encourage MDOT Director Kirk Steudle to contact AASHTO President Susan Martinovich, to let her know that Michigan bicyclists disagree with the recommendation.  You are encouraged to personalize the pre drafted message.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Reposted from our partners at Transportation Riders United (TRU)

As reported by the Detroit News, Michigan among states vying for $2.4B for high-speed rail:

Michigan and 23 other states have submitted applications for high-speed rail funding after Florida returned money it was allocated.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office said the state sought more than $200 million for four projects, including $196.5 million for a program to complete a “corridor enhancement program over the next three years between Kalamazoo and Dearborn” and would allow trains to travel up to 110 mph in that stretch.

Tim Hoeffner, MDOT administrator, said the improvement could be completed by the end of 2013 and shave 50 minutes off the Detroit-Chicago train trip – reducing it to about four hours.

“Governors and members of Congress have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate. That’s because they know that high-speed rail will deliver tens of thousands of jobs, spur economic development across their communities and create additional options for their citizens as the country’s population grows,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

In addition to the potential funding, this is also exciting because it clearly demonstrates support from Governor Snyder for high speed rail, for which he has only shown lukewarm support in the past.  This bodes well!

The Michigan Department of Transportation has finalized their selections for the Complete Streets Advisory Council and will host their first meeting on Dec 13, 2010 from 1 – 3 pm in the Lake Superior Room within the Historical Center in Lansing. You can learn more about the Advisory Council and see the agenda for the first meeting on MDOT’s website. The following individuals were selected to serve on the Advisory Council:

Organization Named
in Act
Affiliation Representative Title
State Transportation Department MDOT Kirk Steudle
or designee
Director
Department of Community Health MDCH Janet Olszewski
or designee
Director
Department of State Police MSP Capt. Monica Yesh-(Col. Washington’s designee) Captain
State Transportation Commission STC Linda Miller-Atkinson-
(Chairman Wahby’s
designee)
Vice Chairwoman
Environmental Organization Grand Traverse Regional
Land Conservancy
Megan Olds Associate Director
A Planning Organization Michigan Association of
Planning
Andrea Brown Executive Director
Disabled Persons Organization Michigan Disability Network Jim Magyar Executive Director
Road Commission Organization County Road Association of Michigan John Niemela Director
Public Transit Users Organization Wheelhouse Detroit Kelli Kavanaugh Local business owner
& regular transit rider
Licensed Professional Engineer Oakland County Road
Commission
Gary Piotrowicz Traffic & Safety
Department Manager
The Michigan Municipal League The Michigan
Municipal League
Suzanne Schulz Legislative Associate
AARP AARP Michigan Karen Kafantaris Assoc. State Director
for Community Servs
League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) Region 8 Representative Barbara Schmid Secretary, LMB Board of Directors
Pedestrian Organization Safe Routes to School
National Partnership
Rory Neuner State Network Manager
Michigan Public Transit Association Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Christopher White Manager of Service Development
The Michigan  Township Association Delta Township Ken Fletcher Township Supervisor
Michigan Department of Resources
& Energy (non-voting)
MDNRE Rebecca Humphries DNRE Director
Michigan State Housing Development Authority (non-voting) MSHDA Gary Heidel Interim Director

The Dexter Village Council unanimously adopted a Complete Streets Ordinance Monday designed to promote safer travel for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists.  This makes the 4th Complete Streets ordinance in Michigan along with over a dozen resolutions.

As reported by Ann Arbor.com, the ordinance was developed by the American Association of Retired People and members of the Walking and Bicycling Task Force, which include the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, the Michigan Department of Transportation and Consumer’s Energy.

“The goal of developing a complete streets ordinance and policy will be to continue planning, designing and engineering the village’s transportation network to serve all ages and abilities through the inclusion of all elements of transportation,” said Allison Bishop, community development manager.

Congratulations to the Village of Dexter!

Read more in AnnArbor.com

Download PDF of Ordinance



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