How do you want your city to treat people on foot?

…it is greatly appreciated._


Construction-zone blues

Below is an email I sent to the City yesterday concerning the construction zone at Midtown along Cass St. I did receive a reply confirming that the situation would be addressed. Something to keep an eye on. 

UPDATE 3pm: It appears that the City went for the less desirable “detour” solution (TwitPic)–underperforming on north approach, but trying to meet the standard. Moving on. 

UPDATE II 3:30PM 04.27.1012: Upon further review, a diversion upgrade (TP). Thank you City! 


To City Engineering and Planning,

I’m trying not to complain, so let me attempt to frame this email as simply a description of how I’d like to see my city treat people who happen to choose to move around on foot. Using, of course, a current issue as an example.

Sidewalk closed, you're on your own

The construction at Midtown necessitates a closing of the sidewalk along Cass St. for safety purposes. I understand that. However, I fail to see where basic consideration for pedestrian traffic through this construction zone has taken place. There is a sign, at the closure, that simply says, “side-walk closed.” No detour. No alternate route. The allowance of parking along this edge compounds the problem by obscuring the view of someone attempting to navigate around.

When I attempted to walk in the street around the construction, I was almost clipped as I stepped out and around an SUV that was blocking my view. I can only imagine what it would be like if I was in a wheelchair or otherwise less agile than I am.

Is this the worst place in the world? No. Can this construction zone be improved? Most definitely.

Preferred diversion

I scribbled a simple solution that I’ve seen countless times in other cities. It attempts to maintain the original path as much as possible (which is something I’d like to see in my City) and can be made wheelchair accessible with a few sheets of plywood or other solution. The orange barriers are exactly that, orange barriers. You can charge the developer to bag the meters (4 spaces*), so there is no loss of revenue.

The result, uninterrupted walkability that encourages, rather than discourages the most basic form of transportation known to humans.

I continue to believe that as a City we can do better and the hopeful thing is that to achieve better, all we really need to do is follow the basic guidelines in the Federal and Michigan MUTCD.

Thank you for continued hard-work on behalf of the City.



* The parking meters are already bagged and are reserved for the work-crew on site. 

The two standard options, neither of which were followed:


  1. April 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I saw a detour sign at one point last week but it’s way back at Washington Street. The problem in constructing a detour is that there is no means to get people across the street safely. The Darga building had a proper sidewalk detour/enclosure during construction; couldn’t they offer some expertise?

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