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Bike the Town

Ann Arbor’s legacy as a bike-friendly city grows with new lanes and options.
By Gregory Lucas-Myers, ’10

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Connecting Ann Arbor’s Old Westside and downtown is the new William Street Bikeway, which opened as the city’s first two-way protected bike lane in October.

“Ann Arbor has a long history of being bicycle-friendly,” says Eli Cooper, transportation program manager for the city. “We have some of the highest levels of biking and walking participation in the Midwest. Our vision since 2007 has been to continue to enhance those networks and provide the physical presence, education, and availability necessary for our community.”

It was in 2007 that Ann Arbor’s government adopted an active transportation plan to increase and improve the city’s bicycling and pedestrian networks. The results have been substantial: 87 miles of bike lanes exist today compared with 36 in 2007. Similarly, Ann Arbor now has 13 miles of marked shared lanes (up from just one mile in 2007) and 69 shared use paths compared with 55 when the plan began. The city also now has more than 900 bike parking options downtown as well as ArborBike, the state’s first nonpilot bike share program.

The William Street Bikeway is a product of the People-Friendly Streets initiative. Further bike-friendly development is under way, including People-Friendly Streets’ First and Ashley Project and the city’s Allen Creek Railroad Berm tunnel.

“The active transportation plan takes Ann Arbor’s community ethos to heart,” says Cooper. “We’re all working to make strides that benefit the individual, our city, and the planet at large.”


Gregory Lucas-Myers,’10, is assistant editor of Michigan Alumnus

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