“Chelsea POP” demonstration project still has some work to do

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“Chelsea POP” demonstration project is re-deploying this month, according to the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS).

WATS announced that on Sept. 6, the Chelsea City Council unanimously approved to re-deploy the Chelsea POP demonstration project throughout the month of October.

“Building on the success of last year’s project, residents will see temporary, low-cost street improvements popping up on more neighborhood streets including W. and E. Middle Street., S. East Street, Washington Street and Madison Street,” WATS said in its announcement. “Treatments chosen during a public input period this summer included shared lane markings, medians, striped parking, weighted pedestrian cones, removable speed cushions, and wayfinding signs. These improvements are aimed at slowing traffic and increasing safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

WATS said residents are encouraged to share feedback through an online survey that will be available on the project website while improvements are being demonstrated. The city of Chelsea will be collecting this feedback to determine what improvements should be made permanent.

The POP project will include Bike Lane delineators along N. Freer Road.

WATS said the city of Chelsea is partnering with the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) to install trial Bike lane delineators along N. Freer Road.

“Under LMB’s BikeWave program, made possible by a grant provided by AARP, the City of Chelsea will test the efficacy of these lanes and have the opportunity to implement permanent separators if the trial period proves successful,” according to WATS.

“The intention behind the BikeWave initiative is to make bike lanes safer for the “average biker” as a way to encourage biking for commuting and recreation. Pilot programs like this allow for local leaders to see the benefits of protected bike lanes and understand why this type of infrastructure is necessary to build communities, while also benefiting the environment and economy," Sean Hammond, Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental Council, said in the announcement from WATS.

Building separated bike lanes can be difficult for Michigan communities as best practices for design of protected lanes and intersections are not widely known. BikeWave seeks to overcome these challenges by providing cities with guidance and equipment necessary to implement this infrastructure.

WATS said the city of Chelsea is one of several Michigan cities chosen to participate in the BikeWave program.

BikeWave locations are selected based on ability to implement the equipment and engage their community in the initiative. Each city chosen receives wave-shaped delineator separators, bike counters and curb extenders for a two-week pop-up demonstration period.

“We are incredibly proud to collaborate with these organizations as they work to make immediate improvements in their communities, encourage promising ideas and jump start long-term change, especially for those age 50 and over,” said Paula D. Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director, in the WATS announcement. “Our goal at AARP Michigan is to support the efforts of our communities to be great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.”

For more information on the BikeWave initiative, visit lmb.org/bikewave. Learn more about the Chelsea POP project at miwats.org/chelseapop.

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