MDOT adds buffered bike lanes to Northwestern Highway

MDOT was resurfacing Northwestern Highway this year and did something quite unexpected. They converted the road’s 12 foot paved shoulders to buffered bike lanes.

Originally this road from Inkster to 14 Mile had a 12 foot asphalt shoulder. That shoulder is now a 7 foot bike lanes with a 5 foot painted buffer. Is it ideal for families? Of course not, but many cyclists will find it a comfortable and safe place to ride in spite of the road’s 50 MPH speed limit.

We’ve encouraged MDOT to pursue similar designs on other state roads, but especially in Detroit where there are lower vehicle traffic and under-utilized vehicle travel lanes.

Also, we submitted the new bike lane information to Google Maps for approval.

Why Northwestern Highway?

As we see it, these bike lanes came about for three reasons.

First, the state’s Complete Streets policy encourages MDOT to add biking facilities to its roads.

Second, area cyclists were riding this road segments and had written to MDOT asking for an improved signs to better accommodate cycling. Well, MDOT did better than that. The key was letting MDOT know cyclists were already using Northwestern Highway. This provided documented justification for making the improvement.