Numerous non-motorized transportation improvements are coming to Washtenaw County in 2017, including ongoing efforts to expand the popular Border to Border Trail
(B2B) in multiple cities.
Recently released plans from Ypsilanti's non-motorized advisory committee
call for extended bike lanes along Forest Avenue and Cross Street, improved pedestrian crossings with additional signage encouraging traffic safety, and rerouting the B2B through Riverside Park and the Water Street site in Ypsi.
Bob Krzewinski, chair of Ypsi's non-motorized advisory committee and the Friends of the Border to Border Trail
, says Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation will also continue planning B2B sections from the Water Street site to I-94 and from Frog Island Park to Eastern Michigan University (EMU). But those efforts will likely take three to five years to finish.
"A lot of this could be moved up if funds were available, but everyone is competing for different kinds of grants," Krzewinski says.
On the other side of the the county, Krzewinski says the parks department is working diligently to take the B2B off road between Ann Arbor and Dexter. Grants have been secured to build a new 10-foot-wide path between Dexter-Huron Metropark and Zeeb Road, and construction could be underway by late 2017.
Further west, the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative
is working to extend the B2B's original route past Dexter into Chelsea before heading up M-52 toward Stockbridge.
"They're just doing some phenomenal work out there," Krzewinski says.
Beyond the B2B, Krzewinski says the city of Ypsilanti has already approved expanding Forest Avenue bike lanes from Norris Street to Prospect Road. That project could be done by the end of this year if not for the arrival of winter weather.
"You'd basically be putting down paint to have snow plows tear it off, so you're better off waiting until the spring," Krzewinski says.
The expansion will complete the well-trafficked route, extending from EMU to Ypsi's eastern city limit.
"I notice people there all the time," Krzewinski says. "You're going from a residential area toward the university. It does get a fair amount of use."
Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.