Highways for Habitats – A New Transportation Series

HComp Opening PhotoMichigan’s Department of Transportation has been showing some real change over the last decade.  They seem more open to transportation alternatives and strategic planning, acknowledging that transportation plans don’t exist in a silo—their decisions affect quality of life, should consider more than just cars, and have a significant impact on economic and community development.  We want to encourage them to stay on this strategic path.

Currently, MDOT is in the news for a couple of plans related to highways.  One, which was approved as part of SEMCOG’s 2040 Regional Transportation Plan for Southeast Michigan states that its goal is to “make our communities more desirable, protect our environment, and improve Southeast Michigan’s quality of life.”  (Unfortunately, it includes some elements that we think will have the opposite effect, but more on that elsewhere.  We still applaud the goal.)  In addition, there is the more exciting and creative idea MDOT has been kicking around to turn I-375 in downtown Detroit into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard.  Gadzooks, we love it!

So, in an effort to encourage their—and your—creative juices to flow, we’re starting a new transportation series on how to make roads that must serve the purpose of moving people and goods through communities (state trunk lines and highways) simultaneously work better for the communities they bisect.  We’ll be featuring projects from around the world where creative solutions truly harnessed the power of transportation to support healthier communities.

Check back tomorrow for our first post in this series.