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Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:55 a.m.

Have an opinion about walking and biking in Ann Arbor? City wants to hear from you

By Ryan J. Stanton

Have an opinion about walking and biking in Ann Arbor? Or ideas to share about what city officials can do to improve non-motorized transportation?

The city is beginning a review of its Non-Motorized Transportation Plan and inviting residents to help craft an update to the original plan adopted in early 2007.

The public is invited to participate through a series of public meetings.

The first sessions take place on Feb. 8 in the City Council chambers on the second floor of city hall at two times — from 3-4:30 p.m. and from 6-7:30 p.m. Members of the public can attend either session, and the agenda is the same for both.


A bicycle braves winter's wrath on Liberty Street across from the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan guides the city in creating an environment and culture encouraging people to bicycle, walk, and use public transit to get around town.

After five years of implementation, the review will evaluate the city's progress toward realizing its goals and recommend updates based on progress and challenges.

City officials believe Ann Arbor has made significant progress since implementing the plan in 2007, including nearly doubling the number of bicycle lanes and making policy changes that create a safer environment for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

"The city has improved pedestrian crossings with upgraded crosswalk signals, pedestrian refuge islands and safety outreach," reads a statement from the city. "The city has also experienced challenges, such as infrastructure maintenance, sporadic enforcement, and limited resources to accomplish the plan's ambitious goals."

In all, there are expected to be four public meetings on the plan review through 2012. At the first meeting, city staff members are expected to give a broad overview.

There could be discussion of Ann Arbor's new pedestrian safety ordinance, which the city began enforcing in September. Reacting to controversy over the law, which requires motorists to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, the City Council tweaked the wording recently and decided to install new flashing signals at particularly risky crossings on Plymouth Road.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Tim Athan

Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Non-motorized transit may indeed be a fringe group, (as has been suggested in this discussion). If so, that is in some measure a result of the poor conditions for walking and bicycling, and the risks and the driver hostility. The status quo can't last; we're using up the world we've inherited! Species are disappearing rapidly, and limited resources are being exhausted. We need to shift away from such extreme automobile dependence, and that means that investments that encourage walking and bicycling are the right thing to do; the right thing to do for those who come after us.

Tim Athan

Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.


Tim Athan

Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

I should have added that some part of every dollar spent to enable walking or bicycling is counterbalanced by savings in moneis required for public health.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 10:30 a.m.

Wouldn't it be nice if the City were to care about what it's like to drive in Ann Arbor? Not once have I ever heard or seen a word of soliciation toward drivers.

Paul A.

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

The road users who are most upset with the behavior of cyclists who break the law, are those cyclists who don't. Illegal, unsafe and just plain bad riding affects us much more than it does most drivers. Secondly, as many have pointed out, pedestrians and motor vehicle operators also break the law, walk and drive unsafely, but for some reason, we are more aware of their behavior and take the appropriate actions when we see this happening - running stop signs, not signaling for turns, tailgating, jaywalking, etc. I also would hope that many of drivers who complain about the presence of bicycles on "their" roads, appreciate that fact that for every bicycle they encounter while driving, usually means one less car on the road slowing their commute, one less car backed up at the traffic light that takes 3 cycles to pass through, and one more parking space for them when they arrive at their destination. It would seem that those who choose to, or feel they have to drive to work or elsewhere, would encourage more bicycles rather than fewer, so that they would have less motor vehicle congestion.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Local government should add a 5% local tax on the sale of new bikes to fund bike lane construction and maintenance. Bike rider are literally free riders in the non motorized transportation scene.

Paul A.

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

Other than the fact that most cyclist are property tax payers, I might agree with you if you also said that local government should add a 5% local tax on all new cars/trucks sold to fund street repair. After all, they are the ones causing the damage to our streets.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

And as bicyclists who own properties and pay taxes, we typically can afford more house as we own fewer cars. We are also more apt to live in and near urban centers where the taxes are higher. Therefore a lot of cyclists tend pay more property taxes that maintain the streets. Bicycle traffic is also negligable to road wear-and-tear versus motor vehicle traffic.

Phillip Farber

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

Nonsense. I ride a bike. I pay property taxes. Property taxes maintain the streets.

Left is Right

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

As for walking, Ann Arbor has always been great--compact, "secret" shortcuts, safe. Plenty good enough already--no wack pedestrian law needed. As far as biking? Not so much. Not so many interesting "destinations" or pass-throughs (e.g., plazas); narrow, car-oriented congested streets downtown (or are these our "linear plazas"); streets in absolutely reprehensible condition with the usual excuses by our city officials indicating more lack of vision or creativity than some vague, insurmountable adversary. Bike commuting to work? I do it when feasible but the reality is that the community is rapidly expanding geographically. Having to be in several locations miles apart in a single day--often in "suitable" attire (not a total sweat hog)-- kind of works against it. Bike commuting likely works against most parents with kids in daycare also.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

Want safe? Outlaw cell phone use while driving and headphones while walking or biking.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

It would be nice if the bike lanes on Packard Ave from Main to Stadium were used by ALL cyclists. Too many of them insist on riding on the narrow sidewalk, which should not be allowed. The sidewalk is for pedestrians. The speed limit is only 30 mph and it is dificult to go much faster while driving so I don't see where safety is an issue for some of these cyclists. I would like to see police patrol that stretch of road and issue citations to cyclists who ride on the sidewalk there. They also issue tickets to cyclists breaking laws like running through stop signs, etc. Ann Arbor is a cyclist friendly area. I hope the city will be able to accomodate even more cyclists in the future.

Tintin Milou

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Wow, ticketing all j-walking pedestrians would raise a lot of money! What about introducing 'Right has right-of-way'? It is is ridiculous to see the number of stop signs and I guess the waste of energy (in terms of gas, and body energy for cyclists) caused by those stop signs and useless traffic lights is immense. Right has right-of-way certainly improves traffic flow. I'd like to see some statistics with stop signs per capita and I wouldn't be surprised to see the US leading the ranking. Less stop signs also means less cyclists violating stop signs... Concerning education: I got thorough biking education in my elementary school, and that's where you should start. But I guess I am more the exception to the rule...

Tintin Milou

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

Here we go, wikipedia states on its article on stop signs: Studies have confirmed that stop signs do not offer measurable safety benefits over the Yield approach adopted in the countries listed above based on original European research dating back many decades.[9][10] More recently, Georgia Traffic Engineer Martin Bretherton Jr. reviewed over 70 technical papers to find that multi-way stop signs do not typically control traffic speeds, and can create liability issues, traffic noise, pollution, enforcement problems and poor stop compliance when drivers feel that the signs have no justification. Fifteen studies found that unwarranted multi-way stops actually increased speed away from intersections as motorists try to make up lost time spent at "unnecessary" stop signs. Multi-way stop signs impose high vehicle operating costs, longer than needed travel times, excessive fuel consumption and increased vehicle emissions.[11] Researchers also found that safety of pedestrians (especially small children) may sometimes be decreased. Pedestrians expect vehicles to stop, but many drivers run the "unnecessary" signs. Engine exhaust, brake, tire and aerodynamic noise may all increase as cars brake and then accelerate up to speed. While the initial cost of installing stop signs is low, enforcement costs can be prohibitive, and one 1990 study estimated extra travel costs per intersection as $210,061/year.[12] Finally, where unwarranted multi-way stops have been successfully removed with public support, results have included improved compliance at justified stop signs. Nice!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

I am an avid biker in the summer months but even as a biker I am shocked at what I see cyclist do while I'm driving. The majority do stay in the bike lanes but there are certain number that feel they can take up a whole lane if there are two lanes present. I also see cyclists go through red lights and stop signs. In my view, streets are still primarily for cars and cyclists must take extra precaution that they are not affecting traffic flow. This should be easier these days if they stay in the bike lanes. I was taught that cyclists who want to make a left turn should get into the left turn lane as a car does but again they should not impede traffic flow and can ride on the right side of the lane as they make their turn into the bike lane on the next street. I'd be curious to see do some interviews of bike club members and random cyclists on the streets to hear their views and responses to some of the irritations and dangers posted in the comments section for this article.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

I am very happy to see more and more use of reflective vests and coats.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

I biked to work for 25 years at the University all year around. I found that the worst riders on the streets were the bikers who ran stop signs and red lights. I found it dangerous to go through a green light as bikers ignored the red light almost all of the time. Walkers were no better as they would step right in front of you as if they had the right of way even though they were j-walking. Happily I never hit anyone nor was I hit. I wonder why the City of Ann Arbor does not enforce laws on the books already. Why not enforce them and make biking and riding safer in Ann Arbor? Bikers should be ticketed for running stop signs and ignoring red lights. Walkers should be ticketed for j-walking and for ignoring red lights. What a source of revenue for the city.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

The biggest problem I have with walkers and bikers is the ones that insist on being out after dark wearing black clothing. That group should not be let out of the house without a chaperone!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Again it is impracticable for many homeowners that do not live close to downtown, but still live in the city limits, to bike or walk everywhere. Oh and since some places that some of us work have dress codes (everyplace is not google) explain to me, as i am still a city resident, how I can ride a bike to work in my suit (no we do not have showers, the best i could do is change clothes in a bathroom stall and try to wash myself in the sink, and additionally would i carry a garment bag with me on my bike?) and still seem like a legitimate business person in front of my clients, when I am dirty and smell from the ride, or look like I just changed in a bathroom stall? The economics also don't make sense for some of us. Even if i work downtown and make $20 an hour and it takes me an extra 50 minutes a day round trip then I am giving up 4hr's a week of work time, or my own time (which is then worth at least $20 an hour if i can work an unlimited amount) Now I am looking at a $360 difference a month, more then enough for me to compensate and get a car. Walking and biking in Ann Arbor does not make sense for many of the residents not located in the downtown area. Along with the money spent by the DDA, these outskirt citizens see their tax dollars going towards projects that don't give us any benefit, leaving us feeling more and more alienated by the current administration. (another one of these proposed projects is the plymouth road commuter rail. it does nothing for a majority of the population of this town)

Ricardo Queso

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Dressing well for work. How pedestrian!


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1 p.m.

It sounds like you are suggesting that infrastructure should only be built/maintained for the majority...the majority who able to own and drive an automoblie. Does that mean that the minority who cannot or choose not to drive deserve no consideration...or they must choose taxis as the only option? I think it's wrong to suggest the "state" support only one mode of transportation (one that supports the car companies) over all others, especially when the others forms are less polluting.

John Q

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

"Walking and biking in Ann Arbor does not make sense for many of the residents not located in the downtown area." No one outside of downtown ever walks or bikes? That would be news to thousands of Ann Arbor residents.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

I missed the part of the plan that said biking to work was mandatory. Chill out.

Phillip Farber

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

I am grateful that our representatives on council have responded to the clear will of their constituients and created plans and funding sources to support better conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. We have all the motoring infrastructure we'll ever need -- time to address the needs of marginalized road users. Progressive organizations like Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition (WBWC), Program to Educate All Cyclists (PEAK), and Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living are to be congratulated for their work to value transportation modes beyond the personal auto.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

I agree that council has supported those things. To say that council never reacts to vocal minorities is a position not supported by reality. To say that they would be turned out based upon their support of this single issue is quite a stretch as well.

Phillip Farber

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Brad, Council members have consistently supported nonmotorized transportation improvements. These are typically high visibility projects -- the kind that attracts people's attention -- as is evident by the vigorous debate in this forum. So far, those of us who show up at the polls to vote have not turned the rascals out as might be expected if council were responding only to a small vocal minority. Contrary to the anti-cycling bias expressed by many who post here, I believe this demonstrates that Ann Arbor citizenry broadly support these efforts.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

" council have responded to the clear will of their constituients and created plans and funding sources to support better conditions for cyclists and pedestrians" The "clear will" of what proportion of their constituents? That's the real question. A majority? A small but vocal minority?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

There are as many more bad drivers than bad cyclists and walkers. When a biker or walker screws up or is an idiot, who suffers the most? Its not the driver of the car that hits them that ends up in the hospital or dead. I have commuted to work, year round, for over 20 years. I do not ride on sidewalks or bike paths that are not in the street. It is way too easy for a driver, not paying attention, to hit me while they are turning off the street, or hit me while turning onto the street. By the way Stadium was reduced to one lane each way to put in a left turn lane. Since the reconstruction, I have never seen a traffic jam in that section but have seen many more bikers in the bike lanes and not on the sidewalks.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

I am going to get blasted on this but who cares. Bikers are a pain in the you know what. They run stop signs, do not get in line when making a turn (left). They go right down the middle between the lanes. They ride two aside on the streets. You worry about crosswalks; you need to worry about giving tickets to bikers. We have streets marked for bikers. This means we go from a two lane to one because both sides of the streets are marked for bikers. How often do you see bikers on stadium blvd. not very often? But we have cars going from a two lane to one because of space. Sorry bikers but this is the way I feel. Go ahead and beat me to the ground but this is how I feel.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

I'd love to blast you Mort but I have to agree.........

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

i want to be able to ride mopeds,ebikes,etc.anywhere bicycles they cant ride in bike lanes and are required to ride IN THE RIGHT SIDE OF TRAVEL LANE!!!dangerous,blocks traffic,+is stupid.i wish lawmakers would pretend they had a brain once in a while.

Kevin McNulty

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

I hope Ann Arbor is looking into more than just putting in bike lanes. There are major barriers people have in deciding to bike regularly for various reasons, like commuting, short trips to a store, etc. One is bike security. Security from both weather and theft. I have seen most of the covered parking and it is not generally going to keep bikes dry or prevent theft, a big problem.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

Ann Arbor is one of the greatest cities in the world, improving the bike infrastructure will only improve the town even more and make it an attractive destination for families to move into. In Los Angeles, there are organizations that shut down the entire downtown a couple times a year to open it up to bike traffic. This promotes community and rethinking of bicycles as a form of transportation. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Ann Arbor should consider doing something similar, perhaps in conjunction with the tour of washtenaw. The sky is the limit for Ann Arbor should it choose to go down this path.

Ron Granger

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

&quot;So many people who conspicuously avoid the many bike lanes we are so fortunate to have.&quot; The cars who make right turns in front of you - or into you - are a big part of what causes people to bike in the lane of traffic. As a result, it is sometimes safer to ride in the lane of traffic.

John Q

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

Yeah, why would bikers think that the law applies to them?

Tom Smith

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7 p.m.

Spurious. How is it safer to have a car driven in growing frustration tailing you at ten MPH? Bikers have to watch the other vehicles just like everyone else. You're not out there on the street yourself. And I have this funny aversion to playing chicken with something that outweighs me by a ton and is sheathed in metal. I guess it comes down to this: I do not believe bikes have an automatic right-of-way. Yet many bikers seem to assume they do. &quot;I'm a biker, I have just as much right to the street&quot;, etc. And people get killed that way.

Tom Smith

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Back in the days (late 70s to early 90s) when I biked everywhere in Ann Arbor and Ypsi -- and I mean EVERYWHERE, from Fox Village to the Spaghetti Bender and North Campus to Ellsworth -- I adored the fact that there were bike lanes. Sometimes they were sidewalk bike lanes, and sometimes you had to be, y'know, careful and considerate of other people, which meant slowing down or even (gasp!) walking the bike for a little bit. I mean, of course I broke a few traffic regs here and there... when there was nobody around to be endangered by them. And the one thing I KNEW was that my bike was no match for motor vehicle traffic. My experience with bikers in Ann Arbor over the past twenty years has been, shall we say, tainted. So many people completely inconsiderate of not merely the safety of others but of themselves. So many people who conspicuously avoid the many bike lanes we are so fortunate to have. So many early-middle-aged guys (about where I am, thanks) who seem to think that it's their FSM-given right to block car traffic at eight MPH. I loved biking; I'm hoping to eventually start biking again. But the first, last, and most important rule is: A person on a bike will lose to a car every time. So use yer dang bike lanes.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

If you are old enough to have gone to the Bender, you are older than early middle aged. Sorry bud.

Ron Granger

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

I read Mike's comment a different way: &quot;Many CAR DRIVERS in this town are annoying, don't follow the trafic rules and think the streets were made just for them. They don't even stay in their lane. Why do we spend all of this money and then have to dodge these dangerous drivers? Doesn't make much sense to me, but it is the thing to do in this town so money gets thrown at it.&quot;


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

ticket JAYWALKERS ticket Kamikaze bicyclists who don't follow the traffic laws.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Markguy They do already, thanks. Maybe not as much as you or I like, but cars do get ticketed for these infractions. But when was the last time you saw a bicyclist or pedestrian puled over by a police officer?

Tintin Milou

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Yes, exactly, I barely see any car that stops at a stop sign. And stopping means to fully stop and then count 'one hundred one, one hundred two'. Ann Arbor would get so rich if they ticketed every driver for that!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

I agree Mark drivers should also follow the traffic laws, though I see many more bike riders blow through a four way stop or creep into traffic against the light than I do drivers.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Ticket drivers blowing through red lights, trying to beat a yellow. Ticket drivers turning right on red right, pulling in front of oncoming traffic. Ticket drivers turning right on red, at intersections with 'no right turn on red signs'. Ticket drivers turning right ignoring pedestrians with the right of way in the crosswalk. Ticket cars rolling through stops signs. Tickets cars stopping at red lights past the white stop line and into the crosswalks. Ticket drivers not using their turn signals.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

How about doing something about the horrible road conditions in our city? Major streets have decayed to the point where it feels like driving in a developing country, instead of the USA.

Jessica Webster

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

UMGrad writes: &quot;In some European cities (and in the States, too, I'm sure) bike lanes are physically separated from traffic by a short barrier, which makes the idea of biking in the street seem much more appealing from a safety standard. &quot; Yes, and in those cities, cyclists who break the law get tickets. I found that out the hard way when I moved to The Netherlands and got a traffic citation on my bike within a week. As a cyclist who is frustrated by inconsiderate and unsafe car traffic, and as a driver often frustrated by poorly-behaved cyclists, I would love to see this.

Tom Smith

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

Works for me.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Me too. In Michigan, any violation an officer can write to a driver of an auto, they can also give to a cyclists (for traffic control violations). I bike a lot and I always stop. But I get angry at those who do not. I followed a bicycle once that went through every red light on Liberty from Thompson St down to Main St.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

If you go to page 187 of the Non-Motorized transportation plans you'll notice the city siphons off money from federal and state funding for this project when they first get the funds. Then you'll notice a couple paragraphs later that if a street is redone then the sidewalks, bike lanes, and other implementations called for under the plan are funded with the road money and not the previously siphoned off money. So, basically they siphon off money for their pet projects before they spend it on the roads, then inflate the projects pricing by using the road money again to do the improvements that the siphoned off money should be going toward.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan guides the city in creating an environment and culture encouraging people to ... use public transit to get around town. Since when did public transit become non-motorized, or have they re-established the use of horse drawn carriages downtown?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

It's primarily to promote biking and walking, which are closely tied to public transportation. People who ride the bus will walk or bike to or from the bus stops. Some people want to bike but work too far away from home, so in order to bike they need to ride the bus part of the way. And people who rely on biking or walking might need to take the bus due to weather conditions. So it's all tied closely together.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

It's good to promote biking and walking but no one seems to note that the weather in Michigan is not conducive to walking and biking the majority of the year. Someone may want to take the time and plot out monthly mean temperature/ precipitation versus the use of bike trails and/ or paths. If biking/ walking is peak only 3-4 months out of 12 then it would make more sense to invest in buses or some other form of public transportation. Ann Arbor tends to cater to the vocal minority fringe than make well thought out decisions. Given the difficult economic times it would make more sense to try and use resources wisely. I'm sure there are hard core bikers that will ride all year long though there are relatively few of them. Improving bike paths is not going to change people's biking habits during inclement weather. Let's be smart with our tax dollars. I can dream can't I?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

I bike year round. I know one thing that would encourage more people to bike year round is more bike lanes that are maintained through the winter. If there are no bike lanes, then snow and ice force people out into the lane more often, making them feel less safe. They're also close to cars to begin with, so one slip on the ice could be fatal. Even when covered in snow, bike lanes are easier to navigate as long as cars don't drive on them too much. The main danger is the packed down, uneven ice along the sides of car lanes. And of course, walking is year round, as long as sidewalks are kept clear. My family walks about a mile to church every Sunday, and a few weeks ago, two days after a snow storm, most people had still not shoveled their sidewalks, making them impassable with a stroller, thereby forcing us to walk in the street for parts of our trip. Either municipal governments need to strictly enforce snow shoveling, or they need to start collecting taxes and doing it themselves.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

December-February is the only time that bicycling can really be unpleasant in this climate. Walking is a year round activity.

Jessica Webster

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

@MIck52 - I spent my teen years about an hour from where that Utrecht video was filmed, and rode my utilitarian Dutch fiets 10 miles r/t to school every day, all year round. I do ride here in the winter, and have studded tires on my bike to make it even safer. I just don't ride to work every day, like I do the rest of the year. Mostly that's because I don't feel as safe when cars are sliding around and driving erratically on the ice.

Kevin McNulty

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

Jessica, does your employer participate with the Bicycle Commuter Act tax credit? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Good way to cover some expenses like a helmet, new tires, etc.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

Good for you Jessica. Weather is an issue, but depending on your circumstances and your inner strength and desire to conquer even Mother Nature, you ride as these folks do: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;feature=related</a> (winter at 1:38) These are in Europe where gas prices are high. Here in the US, Bicycling Magazine ranks cities and he No 1 US bike city is not Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, or San Diego, but Minneapolis, MN. Portland, Or is also northern and it comes in at #2. In fact, the top five are all northern cities, and in the top ten, only one is way south, Tucson. <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;title=1_Minneapolis_Minnesota</a>


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

And I do it every day. Rain, snow or sun...

Jessica Webster

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

I ride my bike to work 9 months out of the year, and I could hardly be called hardcore.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

Sidewalks in the downtown area are way to congested with sandwich signs, DDA direction signs, cafe seating, and pedestrians to allow cyclists on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are bad places for bikes for many reasons, aside from some of the idiotic things many cyclists do. Get the bikes off the sidewalk and onto the street, and have ENFORCEMENT of the laws for cyclists, too. Running a light or a stop sign is just the tip of the iceberg for cyclists (and motorists, too). I do bike in the nicer months of the year, and my biggest complaint are the scofflaw cyclists, not the motorists.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Many bikers in this town are annoying, don't follow the trafic rules and think the streets were made just for them. They don't even ride on the bike paths when they are available. Why do we spend all of this money and then have to dodge these bicycle rights people? Doesn't make much sense to me, but it is the thing to do in this town so money gets thrown at it.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Many poster in this blog are annoying, don't follow the blogging rules and think the blogs were made just for them. They don' t even blog on the comment paths when they are available. Why do we spend all if this money and then have to read these blogger rights people? Doesn't make much sense to me, but blogging is the thing to do in this town so money gets thrown at it.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

Many drivers in this town are annoying, don't follow the trafic(sp) rules and think the streets were made just for them. They don't even drive on their lanes when they are available. Why do we spend all of this money and then have to dodge these motor-vehicles-only people? Doesn't make much sense to me, but driving is the thing to do in this town so money and privileges get thrown at it.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Many [drivers] in this town are annoying, don't follow the trafic rules and think the streets were made just for them. They don't even [stop for pedestrians] when [crosswalks are clearly marked]. Why do we spend all of this money and then have to dodge these [cars rule] people? Doesn't make much sense to me, but it is the thing to do in this town so money gets thrown at it.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

In some European cities (and in the States, too, I'm sure) bike lanes are physically separated from traffic by a short barrier, which makes the idea of biking in the street seem much more appealing from a safety standard. That would keep bikes off the sidewalk and out from under the wheels of cars, seems like a win-win?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Yes. I moved to Montreal from Ann Arbor five years ago. Montreal was fortunate to have been largely laid-out in the early-mid 1800s with wide, mostly one-way streets. This in itself contributes to a higher BCI (Bicycle compatability index). While I observe the same bad and unsafe driving behaviors here from both motorists and bicyclists as in SE Michigan, over-all there is notably less hostility. I am not a fan of these seperated bike paths and mostly avoid them for the reasons that many people have sited. Like bicycling on a sidewalk, such facilities lead to less visibility and less safety. Besides harder to clean and clear snow from, people tend to use them as a sidewalk extention and congregate on them. And like the AASHTO picture showing a concrete raised barrier in the street, much more expensive to build/ maintain. I however acknowledge that safe and effective bicycling is learned largely through experience. If these seperated facilities will get people who otherwise would not bicycle into the City center to do so, then they can serve a valuable service. The more knowledgeable, safe, effective, and confident a bicyclist becomes, the more that rider is likely to move to bicycling in the streets. In cases if a seperated bicycle lane is going to be created I much prefer the treatment that I see in many Montreal neighbourhoods including my own. That is while a bike lane is painted year-round, it is only between about April 15th and November 15th that it is physically signed and seperated from the rest of the road. This is done by steel poles (~ 1m high) inserted into the pavement. This allows this kind of rider a degree of seperation they need to feel comfortable, and is far cheaper to install/ remove/ change/ resurface/ maintain. The vast majority of bicyclists who ride through the Winter months are far less likely to use this kind of facility anyway during the November 15th to April 15th period when the steel poles have been removed.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Right. Here is a photo example from Montreal: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> One issue of this is however that it is the most expensive.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

In this town they would just ride on the road anyhow and we'd spend lots of money on barriers which would make snow removal difficult. Europe doesn't really have all of the answers beside what they teach in college. Just look at all of the financialy problems they are having and we are choosing to follow them...nice.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Many times I have almost been hit on the sidewalks around town by people riding bikes. If people are going to ride bikes on the sidewalks they should have a bell or some kind of way of notifying pedestrians that they are coming up behind you. If they are going to ride in the streets they should obey the laws just a cars do. Blowing through stops signs seems to be common place with bike riders in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

I always just call 'behind you' if it looks like a potential problem. I've noticed just as many problems with pedestrians who wander without looking where they're going.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

I had a awesome biking experience last week. I was driving on Plymouth road, and a bike exiting a side street blew a stop sign, made a right, and was riding ahead of me in the lane to my right. Suddenly, he decides he wanted to travel in the other direction, so he made a sweeping u-turn in front of me, causing me me hit the brakes. He never glanced at me, and apparently didn't care that he made me drop my coffee and cell phone.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

Mike, so you actually had to take your knee off the wheel to hit the brakes?


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Come on Mike, you should know by now that people take their bike issues very seriously in this town. Heck, the city even employes a bike coordinator just for that! Oh? Say what? They no longer employ anyone any longer? My bad. The five year non-motorized plan took care of that. Thanks!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

John That part was just a little levity, not to be taken seriously.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Bike rider sounds like a jerk... but why did you have your coffee and cell phone out while driving? Two strikes!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

I wish all bikers and drivers in the city would learn to follow the rules of the road. Bikers need to stop at ALL stop signs, signal turns, and be polite and courteous. Drivers need to get off their phones and concentrate on driving.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

How about redoing your motorized transportation plan and lights!!! If it wasn't making sure we have art and that the wcwb coalition get their proposals shoved down the residents throats what would the council be doing. Why don't we just do a berlin type wall around the city and go everywhere in sky cars like disney land