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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Detroit GETS IT! Detroit Greenlink offers new connections for cyclists [Bike Radar]

Detroit's new GreenlinkDetroit's new Greenlink (Giffels-Webster )
With the world headquarters of General Motors dominating the skyline of downtown Detroit, MI few people need a reminder that despite its hard times this city is still the “Motor City.” Yet despite this car culture, city planners are serious about making the old Motown friendlier to those looking to get around via pedal power.
This is evident in the city's recent completion of the Corktown-Mexicantown-Southwest Detroit Greenlink, 16 miles of bike lane that will connect these three inner city neighborhoods. Additionally, this project now connects to the Southwest Detroit Greenway, the largest concentrated network of bike lanes in the city.
The irony of this happening in Detroit is that the city has wide roads, originally built to accomidate big cars, which atucally made adding bike lanes all the easier. “Detroit's streets are actually a huge asset in creating a bicycle-friendly city,” Scott Clein, PE, LEED AP, and executive vice president at Giffels-Webster Engineers, told BikeRadar. “The wide rights-of-way and reduced traffic volumes allow for significant improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians with little to no negative impact on vehicular traffic.”
Clein adds that the unique design of the city’s street plan, which to this day utilizes the post-1805 fire plan by Augustus Woodward, also offered opportunities that many other cities don’t have. “The radial layout of the ‘spokes’ and their relationship to the more traditional grid configuration of streets outside of the central business district is also helpful in creating a connected system,” said Clein. “It allows for more direct routes along streets like Michigan Avenue and positions the city nicely to expand the network out to the surrounding communities.”

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