Michigan DOT gives bikes 12-feet of space on state highway

Michigan DOT gives bikes 12-feet of space on state highway

12 feet for bikes on a state highway.
(Photo: Michigan DOT)

The Michigan Department of Transportation has done something pretty extraordinary for a state DOT. They’ve recently installed a 12-foot wide buffered bike lane on a one mile stretch of Northwestern Highway (Hwy 10). The new bikeway includes a five-foot bike travel lane and a seven-foot buffer from other traffic.

I find this project notable for several reasons: DOTs are not known for giving such ample width for bikes (much less on a state highway); it shows the power of having a good complete streets policy; it’s more significant than anything I can recall ODOT doing; the 12 feet of was wider than even advocates had asked for; and since the space was already available (it was previously a paved shoulder) the cost was only about $22,000.

A reader shared a video MDOT posted to YouTube about the project.

This project also made me think of the recent discussion we had about an ODOT project on outer Sandy Blvd. That project was a complete rebuild of the roadway and ODOT striped in six-foot, standard bike lanes (without a buffer). That was a very disappointing result and many people (including me) felt like it was missed opportunity to create even better bike conditions.

It’d be great to see ODOT do something like this on a future repaving/rebuild project. Anyone know of good candidates? M-bike.org says one of the reasons this came about was because people had contacted MDOT asking for it.


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