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Many metro Detroit cities testing out bike lanes through new program

Posted at 6:51 AM, Sep 23, 2021

It’s always a good idea to try before you buy, and that’s exactly what communities in metro Detroit are doing with bike lanes.

It’s known as a “bike wave," which is a physical divider between bikes and cars. It’s a temporary divider that communities can use to test out bike lanes.

The bike wave is being made possible through a partnership with the League of Michigan Bicyclist, and a $50,000 grand through AARP. Cities do have to pay for transportation costs and installation.

“The idea of this lending library is to give communities an easy way to test out separated bike lanes without making permanent changes,” said Matt Penniman, Communications Director for the League of Michigan Bicyclist.

Cities have until now until March 2022 to apply to use the bike wave. Penniman says there has already been plenty of interest statewide, including here in southeast Michigan.

“We’ve also heard a lot of interest from Detroit, Warren, Westland, Ypsilanti, Chelsea, Plymouth,” said Penniman.

Penniman says Brighton will be installing the bike wave in October, as well as Chelsea. Detroit is planning on using the bike wave in November.

Another aspect of this project is the use of bike counties. Some cities are looking into just using the counter to get an idea of what bike traffic looks like in a certain area.

The city further along in the application process is Brighton.

“The city of Brighton was identified as a priority city in connecting Livingston County in the last trails plan that was created, Brighton is ideally located for connecting several parts of our area,” said Henry Outlaw, Assistant to the City Manager of Brighton.

Outlaw says they are still working out a plan to where the bike wave would be installed, however, they do have a bit of an idea.

“One of our priorities with this type of program would be to connect the places that are not so close to downtown to downtown,” said Outlaw.

They hope this will allow them to see where a future bike lane would be most impactful, to help cars and bikers alike.

“Ultimately we want it to be accessible, we want to make sure that our streets are complete streets that accommodate every type of user,” said Outlaw.