Contact MDOT: It’s about your future

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Engage & Represent

Comments to MDOT can be sent to Bob Parsons, MDOT public involvement and hearings officer or

Almost two-weeks ago, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) held an Open House in Traverse City concerning the next 25-year plan titled, “Moving Michigan Forward”. It was part of a statewide tour seeking comment on the current update to the plan.

I left wondering what the disconnect is between Lansing and regional offices, as well as the disconnect between citizens concerned about their communities and MDOT. Despite The state’s Transportation Commission recent approval of the statewide Complete Streets policy (PDF), questions about complete streets, pedestrian safety and comfort, and MDOT highways running through communities were answered dismissively.

Asked directly about the impact of the complete streets policy, the MDOT presenter flat-lined that “Michigan is an automobile state.” This was followed by an explanation that MDOT designs streets from the inside out and a complete street will only happen if there is money or right of way left over. That isn’t quite in the spirit or practice of complete streets.

Straighter, wider, faster: Is that the future?

Not every street is going to have 8-ft sidewalks, bike lanes and bus-stops, but with attitudes like this I don’t see many MDOT ROWs having anything other than 14-ft travel lanes, 16-ft turning lanes, giant turning radius, and as a result, speed limits set at the maximum allowable. Communities and mixed-use neighborhoods be damned, let alone safety for children and the ever-increasing elderly population.

That said, many MDOT representatives that I’ve spoken with in Lansing get it. They understand that Michigan’s future is tied to a more multi-modal, more land-use approach to planning of our transportation network. It is understood that with an aging population, our communities need networks more inclusive to active transportation and more effective public transit.


Those voices need your support. By Friday, please send a quick message to MDOT voicing your support for a more balanced approach to all users and an increased consideration for people on foot, bike, bus, and to the quality of life created when MDOT managed highways run through our communities. The people who live and navigate through those corridors require priority consideration in terms of treatments like better crossings and sidewalks, in addition to environmental concerns like emissions.

Please let MDOT know that you are proud that Michigan has a statewide complete streets policy and is a leader in the nation in terms of passing local policies. Now is the time to start planning for that future.

Comments to MDOT can be sent to Bob Parsons, MDOT public involvement and hearings officer at

You can also use this link to email

Information about updating the plan is available here:

In addition to a quick email, please sign the online petition organized by Transportation Riders United calling for MDOT to plan for More Transportation Options, Not More Highways.

MDOT wants to hear from you:

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  1. njoy
    August 27, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Gary, I wrote to Mr. Parsons, and this is what happened. Nancy Technical details of permanent failure: DNS Error: Domain name not found

  2. August 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

    The original email had Michigan misspelled. Try: or send via MDOT’s website linked to above. Thank you!

  3. KcDeYoung
    August 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    It’s MDOT not bikeDOT, why can’t you people get your brains in the game and udnerstand what Mr. Parsons said is exactly correct. Unless you can find a way to grab more right-of-way and design everything for your beautiful world feelings, you have to realize this is a world and community where more than just bike zealots live. We like to get from here to there in a reasonable, unscathed and well maintained amount of time! Oh my! which needs road designed for the rest of us within reason.. And there’s the nasty word the vegan-greener crowd has a problems with “reason”…..Remember that the next time you want a roundabout, bike lanes on every street and to ride willy-nilly any way you want.. All of which hinders the delivery of your vegan or green grown products to your local natural foods store! Yes folks they get there on nasty old big trucks driven on streets design for them so you can eat!

  4. August 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    FYI, from MDOT’s website: Who was “Good Roads” Earle?

  5. Greg
    August 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for the reminder & link

  6. Raymond Minervini
    August 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Michigan Dept of _Transportation_. (And I see it started with a bike guy, Good Roads Earle!) To me, one of the most obvious ideas behind complete streets is to build streets to accommodate a variety of modes of transportation. Although a car is my primary mode of travel, I don’t want the government forcing me to travel by car because of incomplete street design. I want choices that fit my given transportation need. As a taxpaying driver, I actually incur fewer public burdens for street infrastructure, noise, pollution and lost time due to vehicle congestion, when fewer people use their cars. Even if I choose not to use bikes, buses or walking for my transportation, I still benefit when other people have those choices and make those choices.

  7. August 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Dang…well said Raymond. Fundamentally it is about government providing as many choices as possible. This is accomplished by one, not designing certain uses out of a system (intentionally or otherwise) and two, by recognizing the system wide benefit a diverse, inclusive network has for everyone regardless of their day to day choices.

  8. Nancy Griesinger
    September 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Double Dang Mr. Minervini! Thanks for your input, and thanks to Gary for providing us a place to double dang you…lol…

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