Pleasant Ridge to receive $400,000 from MDOT for Woodward Avenue bike path

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published March 30, 2020

File photo by Deb Jacques


PLEASANT RIDGE — The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, also known as SEMCOG, recently announced that it has awarded $6.5 million in Transportation Alternatives Program grant funding for 12 projects.

One of those projects is located in the city of Pleasant Ridge, which received $402,332 for a two-way bike path along Woodward Avenue.

Pleasant Ridge’s cycle track infrastructure project will be located on the east side of Woodward Avenue, from Sylvan Avenue to Interstate 696.

In addition to the bike path, at around the same time Pleasant Ridge will be initiating a streetscape refresh project with a $600,000-plus stormwater infiltration grant from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy — known as EGLE — said City Manager James Breuckman. The streetscape refresh will go between the borders of Ferndale and Royal Oak.

City Manager James Breuckman said the city still has to go through the engineering and permit approval process with both EGLE and the Michigan Department of Transportation. For its bike path, Pleasant Ridge will look to remove the right-most lane on northbound Woodward Avenue where the road stretches to five lanes.

“This cycle track will provide dedicated bike infrastructure, so we hope to use this as the first implementation of a cycle track along Woodward, and then hopefully we can expand this network in the future to continue into other communities and start to get some good bike infrastructure in place,” he said.

SEMCOG Manager of Economic and Community Vitality Kevin Vettraino said a lot of the projects these funds went toward specifically were for the creation of trails and on-road bicycle facilities. He further stated that they looked at projects that connected one community or one county to others.

“As a regional agency, we’re really interested in those projects that enhance the network beyond individual community boundaries,” he said. 

For Pleasant Ridge’s project, Vettraino said it was a really good example of what SEMCOG was looking for, as it helps connect other cities such as Ferndale and Oak Park.

“One of the barriers that we were aware of, the communities are aware of, is how best to connect the communities of Pleasant Ridge and Ferndale and Oak Park and Hazel Park, as well as Detroit, across 696 into Royal Oak and Berkley … so this project is looking at enhancing the existing bike route network in Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge,” he said.

The construction is slated for 2021, as the money will come in during the 2021 fiscal year.

“Getting good bike infrastructure on Woodward has been a goal of Pleasant Ridge for some time now,” Breuckman said. “We have a lot of people who ride their bike on the sidewalk, and all we have is a 5-foot-wide sidewalk, and it’s not a great situation. You’re not supposed to ride your bike on the sidewalk, but really, people have no other option along Woodward.”