After 15 years of looking for ways to make Royal Oak more useful and safe for cyclists and pedestrians, the city has an official plan that could achieve that goal and more.
The Royal Oak Non-Motorized Transportation Plan
lays out a beginning-to-end process for not only making downtown Royal Oak more walkable and rideable, but also for connecting Royal Oak by pathways to neighborhoods and other communities.
Chicago-based consultant Active Transportation Alliance
worked with the city on devising this latest, likely final, plan, a process many cities statewide and nationwide are going through as advocates for pedestrian-friendly communities organize and cities and businesses see the economic and lifestyle advantage of designing transportation plans not completely centered around the automobile.
The plan calls for adding designated routes and bike lanes and connections to important places and corridors such as Woodward Avenue, Beaumont Hospital, downtown and regional trails. There will also be amenities and changes to increase safety and convenience for pedestrians and cyclists.
Implementation of the city's plan, which has passed the zoning and city commissions and is now going to neighboring communities for feedback, will take years and will "position the community for a brighter, healthier and more active future," says Douglas Hedges, city planner for Royal Oak.
Hedges says the method of funding for the projects to come out of the plan has yet to be decided, but it will most likely involve a combination of grants and Act 51 revenues, a state of Michigan transportation fund that is derived from fuel taxes on automobiles and spent on transportation enhancement.
"The main benefit of the plan," he says, "would be to improve Royal Oak's pedestrian-friendly environment and enhance the quality of life for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists."
Source: Douglas Hedges, city planner, city of Royal Oak and Royal Oak Non-Motorized Transportation Plan
Writer: Kim North Shine