(Crystal A. Proxmire, 11/24/2011)
The Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board is inviting cyclists from Royal Oak, Birmingham, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, and Pleasant Ridge to tell them what routes they use. The suggestions will be used to create an area-wide bike route map to make it easier for cyclists to get where they need to go. The map will integrate into the “Bike” function on Google Maps and can be useful as Cities implement “Complete Streets” legislation.
The meeting takes places on Wednesday, December 7 at the Royal Oak Public Library, 222 E. 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak from 7pm to 9pm. Representatives from Clawson, Huntington Woods, Berkley and Pleasant Ridge have already confirmed attendance according to organizers.
“It’s important because Royal Oak is moving ahead with its Non-Motorized plan and surrounding cities are as well. Unless cyclists come forward from surrounding cities and tell the city which routes make sense, we are going to have a bunch of bike lanes that dead end at city borders,” said Matthew Faraday who is volunteering on the mapping project. Faraday is from Royal Oak, but says he bikes into neighboring cities often. “I work out at Anytime Fitness and probably spend too much time at the Berkley Front. I have a couple buddies in Ferndale, so I usually ride to the Emory, WAB, Fly trap and Como’s.” Biking to work at Beaumont Hospital finds it easier to snake through side streets rather than tackle Woodward or 13 Mile.
Faraday and others are hoping to create an environment where bicyclists and pedestrians are safe.
“Right now most streets are designed solely for the convenience of autos. Cyclists and pedestrians are an afterthought. That is why so few people bike and walk, and why such an outrageous number of cyclists and pedestrians are struck by cars.
‘This causes a great deal of harm. Obviously the physical harm caused by cars striking pedestrians and cyclists is a problem. But it cuts deeper,” Regan said. He listed his reasons for wanting a world with Complete Streets. “If more people biked and walked the air would be cleaner. People would get more exercise, which extends life and lowers health care costs. We would burn less oil, which would benefit the environment and lower our nation’s trade deficit.”
There are local economic benefits as well, Regan said. “When a person leaves home on a bike to recreate he/she will necessarily spend their money close to home. Royal Oak and surrounding cities are filled with bars, restaurants, and shops which would benefit from the local spending.”
Not only are the benefits economic. Regan said children suffer when they don’t have safe streets. “Children and parents pay an especially high price. The majority of kids are not involved in group sports. Their primary exercise is walking or biking to school and play. We’ve designed streets so poorly that parents don’t feel safe letting their child bike and walk to events. Instead kids are driven everywhere. What a waste.”
Once the data is collected from the Dec. 7 meeting, the group will turn the information over to the Oakland County mapping department. They will then begin raising money to have the maps printed up and distributed. The maps will also be made available on participating city websites.
To read more about Complete Streets in Ferndale, check out our previous article – https://oaklandcounty115.com/2010/11/01/completestreetspassed/.
To read about Biking it to Berkley, check out another locally-owned community website called Berkley Live – http://berkley.commlive.net/life-play/bike-it-to-berkley/.
Here is the link to the Facebook Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/289777337721267/.