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By Bob Krzewinski, Chair of the City of Ypsilanti Non-Motorized Advisory Committee

Over the summer of 2011, the City Council of the City of Ypsilanti voted on, and approved, a Complete Streets ordinance, becoming the 8th Michigan community to locally put Complete Streets into law.  The Ypsilanti Complete Streets ordinance takes effect on September 17th, thirty days after the last of two required votes by City Council.

Complete Streets policies ensure that when roads are constructed, or rebuilt, they are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities can move safely along and across a Complete Street. They improve public safety and reduce crashes by providing dedicated pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, such as safe crosswalks, sidewalks and on-road bicycle facilities such as bike lanes and sharrows.

Complete Streets also have an extra benefit in that they tend to boost local economies by increasing residential property values.  Demand for walkable communities is growing across the country and home buyers are often willing to pay a premium to live in areas where they can safely walk and bike. Businesses located along Complete Streets corridors also often report increased sales after pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities are installed.

Complete Streets also promotes public health by making it safe and convenient for children and families to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. With Michigan’s rampant obesity epidemic, Complete Streets provides a golden opportunity to replace our crumbling transportation infrastructure with safe and convenient active transportation options.

By passing a Complete Streets ordinance, the City of Ypsilanti joins scores of communities across Michigan that are embracing Complete Streets, including Washtenaw County neighbors in Saline, Dexter and Ann Arbor.

With rising gasoline prices, more and more Michigan residents are walking and bicycling for both transportation and recreation. Complete Streets ordinances, such as recently enacted by the City of Ypsilanti, will certainly help make such activates not only more possible, but easier and safer.

Download Ypsilanti’s Complete Streets ordinance here.

From AnnArbor.com

The The City of Ypsilanti will hold a public hearing on a proposed Complete Streets ordinance on Wednesday, April 20th, 6pm at City Hall, 1 South Huron Street.  A Complete Streets ordinance basically encourages that when a street is constructed, or rebuilt, that all users, including pedestrians, the handicapped and bicyclists be considered in the final design. The City Planning Department is receiving assistance in drafting the ordinance from the  Washtenaw County Public Health Department, which in turn has received funds from the Michigan Department of Community Health to promote Complete Streets. The Complete Streets workshop will last one hour (again starting at 6pm on April 20th) and will be followed by a meeting of the Ciyt Planning Commission which will review the ordinance.

For the 2011 grant year, the following local health departments and communities have been awarded an ARRA-Complete Streets grant:

Local Health Department Community
District Health Department #10 City of Big Rapids
City of Ludington
Ingham County Health Department Lansing Township
Marquette County Health Department City of Marquette
Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties City of Escanaba
Washtenaw County Health Department Pittsfield Township
City of Ypsilanti
Western U.P County Health Department City of Hancock
City of Ironwood


Eight communities
were awarded an ARRA-Complete Streets grants in 2010.

An example of how policy change can be accomplished widely is in Washtenaw County. As a result of funding (in part) and assistance from the Washtenaw County Health Department, the City of Saline was able to pass a Complete Streets ordinance in September, 2010. Recently, Washtenaw area’s regional transportation planning organization, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, decided to take on Complete Streets as a special planning and visioning project in 2011. WATS will be convening a stakeholder group and have a public engagement process to develop a Complete Streets vision for Washtenaw County, including model policy language, design recommendations, etc.

For more information on the Complete Streets program, please contact Holly Madill at madillh@michigan.gov or (517) 335-8372 or Lisa Grost at grostl@michigan.gov or (517) 335-9781.

Congratulations to all of the grantees!  We look forward to adding more push pins to our Complete Streets policy map.

Read Press Release

This week the Washtenaw County Road Commission approved road diets (turning a four lane road into two traffic lanes, a center turn lane and bike lanes) for Golfside Road in Pittsfield Township and Ford Boulevard in Ypsilanti Township.

At the meeting opponents of the Ford Boulevard road diet argued that such a configuration would put them out of business, and that the number of crashes on Ford Boulevard were not all that many. Road Commission staff, however, pointed out that Ford Boulevard’s crash rate is much higher than it should be and that study after study has shown that road diets reduce crash rates.

Supporters of the road diets included League of Michigan Bicyclists, Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, Bike Ypsi and Friends of the Border To Border Trail, all Michigan Complete Streets Coalition partners.

Construction on Ford Boulevard is expected to take place in 2011.

Road Diets are a cost-effective tool to calm traffic and reclaim street space for other roadway users such as bicyclists. With many Michigan roads built for to carry a larger amount of automobile capacity than they actually do, road diets are low hanging fruit opportunities for Complete Streets advocates to push for in their own communities.

Road diets, however, do not always go over well with the auto-centric public, as has been seen recently in Williamston and Jackson.  It just goes to show why nonmotorized plans and Complete Streets policies are so important so these battles do not happen on a road by road basis.

We salute the Washtenaw County Road Commission for supporting the concept of road diets.  They may find that adopting their own Complete Streets policy, as the Ingham County Road Commission recently did, may help demonstrate to the community a long-term commitment to building active transportation infrastructure.



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