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Event to raise support for bike lanes along Woodward

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published September 4, 2015

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FERNDALE — The Woodward Avenue Action Association is continuing its task of creating a complete streets master plan for the Woodward corridor with a bike riding event to raise support and awareness for bike lanes along the major street.

Bike Woodward will take place at 9 a.m. Sept. 12 with a ride from the Ford Highland Park Administration Building on Woodward Avenue just south of McNichols Road to Interstate 696 in Pleasant Ridge, and back again.

The ride will highlight the WA3’s Six Mile to I-696 bike lane project, which outlines plans for a painted bike lane on each side of Woodward along the 4-mile stretch.

“Our executive director and director of development realized we needed to do something to get community involvement and for people to learn more about us and what we do,” WA3 Communications Manager Karen Mejia said. “We also want to show support for nonmotorized transit throughout the corridor. The pilot project has been in the works for quite some time, and we would like it to be the people that lead the task force on this project.”

Mejia said there are roughly 80 riders registered for the ride, and the WA3 is anticipating a few more riders to sign up before the actual event. Tickets cost $25, which covers the cost of the T-shirt given to each rider, as well as the after party, and goes toward paying a design consultant to engineer official plans for the project.

Still, Mejia said the ride is all about gaining support, so if someone can’t afford the ticket, they can reach out to the WA3, a nonprofit organization, to work to get a sponsor for the ride.

The event after the ride will include food trucks, music and an interactive tent where people can leave feedback for the ride and the proposed project. The WA3 will be looking for feedback on how patrons would use the proposed bike lanes.

An after party also will take place in downtown Ferndale, as the Bike Woodward event will be done in collaboration with the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, which is providing each rider with a bag that includes deals from downtown Ferndale businesses.

Having a space for bike riders on Woodward is a progressive idea, Ferndale DDA Interim Executive Director Cindy Willcock said, and it falls in line with what the city of Ferndale is already doing.

“Obviously, Ferndale is very bike friendly, which is already evident by the new bike lanes going in on East Nine Mile and Hilton roads, as well as the ones on Livernois,” she said. “We are excited to have a good complete-streets-type plan that includes bikeability and walkability through downtown Ferndale. It makes it safer and encourages people to ride their bikes.”

The Bike Woodward event is only going to Pleasant Ridge because the underpass at the intersection of Woodward and I-696 presents an issue for a complete-streets plan. That is something the WA3 has looked at addressing.

In February of this year, the WA3 teamed with Gibbs Planning Group to present initial complete-streets plans for that intersection, which included bringing the underpass above I-696 and eliminating some lanes to create slower traffic.

If plans are approved by the Michigan Department of Transportation in the future, the initial bike lanes on Woodward from Six Mile Road to I-696 would be painted lanes, but Mejia said they would love to eventually get a two-way protected cycle track.

“Not everyone can afford to take a car, and sometimes buses are not reliable,” Mejia said. “And some people prefer to ride a bike to go to work or for other reasons. It is important that we relook at all modes of transportation throughout southeast Michigan and on Woodward.”

For more information on the WA3 or the Bike Woodward Event, visit www.woodwardavenue.org.

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