A bit of much-needed good news on the Michigan transit front:
Recent preliminary research… suggests that Michigan could be the national leader in road diets and having road diet supportive policies in place. Analysis of in-state existing and planned 4 to 3 lane conversions (road diets) yields some early and impressive results:
- The Tri-County region (Clinton, Eaton, Ingham) has completed 15 miles of conversion from 4 to 3 lanes. An additional 18.5 miles of conversions are planned by 2035.
- The Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission has completed approximately 19.5 miles and released a 2009 Complete Streets technical report that depicts many more by 2035.
- The Michigan Department of Transportation has completed at least 45 miles of road diets on state trunklines around the state.
Hamilton and Morena have surveyed state DOT’s and regional transportation authorities across the country and found few places that compare to these numbers. Add in that Michigan has adopted Complete Streets laws and also has the highest number of local communities that have adopted Complete Streets policies, and one can quickly come to the conclusion that Michigan is becoming a progressive, national leader in active transportation.
(HT Michigan transit watchdog Joel Batterman)
What’s so great about a road diet, you may ask? In addition to slowing the average speed of cars, thereby potentially reducing severity of crashes, it allows for the addition of bike lanes and/or adding or widening of sidewalks, making it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. The name is kind of catchy, too.