Making a Better, Safer Motor(less) City

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Image credit: Sandra Svoboda

Easy ways you can tell Detroit officials how to make it safer for biking and walking.

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I think there’s no question that advocacy from the local community will make a difference,” says Armando Carbonell, chair of the planning and urban forum at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. “It’s very important for people to speak up and make sure that public officials are aware of the very different needs that might occur in different parts of the city.”

Detroiter Donna Givens started commuting to work by bicycle last month. She rides from her East English Village home to her job as executive director at the Eastside Community Network about three miles away. Her route takes her down Mack Avenue, a street she’s driven probably thousands of times.

Donna Givens commutes to work by bicycle. She says it's given her a new perspective on neighborhoods and roads.Sandra Svoboda
Sandra Svoboda

Donna Givens commutes to work by bicycle. She says it’s given her a new perspective on neighborhoods and roads.

But seeing it from two wheels made it a new journey. She noticed that the Detroit side of Mack Avenue has a parking lane and therefore more room for her to navigate her way on a bike, while the Grosse Pointe Park side has two lanes of traffic immediately adjacent to the curb. She sees specific places where new businesses could be located, and stretches of sidewalk that could use some landscaping and beautification. Her observations have given her additional perspective about the neighborhoods where she lives and work.

Those aren’t solutions for other people,” Givens says. “Those are solutions for us.”

Maybe you’re like Givens and have noticed something new or interesting while bicycling.

But maybe you’ve noticed something about the road conditions or want to tell the city of Detroit know how to make streets safer, bike lanes better marked or where to add them.

Such citizen advocacy can make visions become reality.


Here’s WDET’s list of contacts you can reach out to so that can happen:

Do you want more bike lanes in your Detroit neighborhood?

Contact your District Manager

Are the bike lanes clean enough? Do streets need maintenance or repairs?

Call the city Department of Public Works at 313-224-0033

Notice a pothole that almost swallowed your bike or nearly gave you a flat?

Try the Improve Detroit App online or on your phone.

Want to get more “Bike Crossing” signs or other ways to keep drivers aware of cyclists?

Contact the Department of Public Works Sign Shop at 313-224-1610




Sandra Svoboda, Special Assignments Manager

Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement. Follow @WDETSandra

Detroit by the Numbers

This post is a part of Detroit by the Numbers.

WDET is putting Detroit’s urban — and suburban — data myths to the test, separating fact from fiction.  

Detroit by the Numbers is produced by WDET 101.9 FM and is powered by the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. Support for this project comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.




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