Getting around in something other than a car is about to get a little easier in Metro Detroit.
The Michigan Department of Transportation gave more than $2 million in grants to communities in southeast Michigan to help improve trails and pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. The money is part of $5.7 million in MDOT and federal grants that were awarded toward projects dedicated for non-motorized traffic, such as trails, streetscape improvements and bike lanes.
"These investments will enhance recreation and transportation opportunities in Michigan communities and downtowns - helping make our state a great place to live and work for all of us," says Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm.
Detroit's downtown area is the big winner, taking in funds that will pay for $3.4 million in projects in Midtown and along the Riverfront. The funds will help pay for the first phase of the Midtown Loop along Kirby and John R streets. The two-mile urban greenway will connect several major institutions, such as Wayne State University , the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Medical Center.
The Loop will go a long way toward connecting the New Center neighborhood with the Detroit River and everything in between. The $2.3 million project will build the pathway and barriers separating vehicular traffic and the path. There will also be benches, bike racks, bike storage lockers, pedestrian lighting, landscaping, and trash receptacles.
The rest of the money will go toward the $1.1 million project to build a public dock and terminal at the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority space on the Detroit River near the Renaissance Center. The facility will serve as the port of entry and welcome center for the passengers from cruise ships and other vessels, such as naval frigates, historic tall ships, racing yachts and dinner cruises.
Among the other developments is a $322,000 streetscape improvement projects in St. Clair Shores along Harper Avenue between 8 and 14 mile roads. The money will pay for installing new benches, decorative paved crosswalks, trees and two gateways into the city.
The idea behind all of the projects is to encourage more people to walk or ride a bicycle, thus increasing foot traffic in their respective areas.
"These projects will improve trails, put bike racks on city buses and beautify local communities," says Kirk T. Steudle, director of state transportation. "Transportation enhancement grants help fund projects that improve the quality of life in Michigan and make our state a more attractive place to live and do business."
Source: Michigan Department of Transportation
Writer: Jon Zemke