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Regional Rider: Smart Commuter EditionPrint

Thriving Communities | May 8, 2014 | By James Bruckbauer

MLUIers past and present during Smart Commute Week in 2010.
MLUIers past and present during Smart Commute Week in 2010. 

Hey transit fans,

It’s that time again, folks. Pump up the bike tires, oil the chain, and get out on those two wheels. This is the time of year when many of us start walking and biking to work again.

If you’re planning on staying behind the wheel this summer, that’s ok, just watch out for me and those other bikers out there.

Here’s a little reminder from MDOT:

20 Years of Smart Commuting

It's been 20 years since a small group of bike commuters huddled in the rain under a small tent by McLain Cycle and Fitness to kick of Traverse City's first "Bike to Work" Week. The warm oatmeal was a big hit that year. 

Since then, event organizers changed the name, pushed the event back a week, and watched thousands of local employees get excited about better ways to get to work.

Traverse City's 20th annual TART Trails Smart Commute Week is set for Saturday, May 31, through Saturday, June 7. Check out the calendar to see all the events. Register now for the Smart Commute Challenge—it's free, open to the public, and available for all ages and abilities. One person can be a team, but it’s always more fun as a group, so rally your friends, co-workers, classmates and families and register by Friday, May 16.

Learn more at

Kids Promote Bike-Riding

There’s a new club in town, and they taking over TC’s streets. It’s the Norte! TC Youth Cycling club and they’re inspiring kids and adults to get out and bike!

Join them every Wednesday night for TC Rides, a community bike ride through Traverse City neighborhoods. You can find more info here.

Funding Plan Leaves Bus Riders At The Curb

Transportation advocates all over the state say the most recent Michigan House proposal to raise much-needed money for transportation would bypass the state’s normal funding formula and divert money to roads only, leaving out transit.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Municipal League, and the Transportation for Michigan coalition called on state leaders in the house this week to make sure any new dollars go through the current transportation formula, Act 51, so all agencies get their share of the money, and so bus riders don’t get left at the curb.

After all, transit ridership is at its highest level since 1956 while per-person driving in Michigan has dropped almost 7% since 2005. About one-third of Michiganders can’t drive anyway. Transit is a crucial part of the economic development strategies in Michigan’s talent-driven areas. And every year Michigan voters overwhelmingly show their support for transit investments.

Upcoming events

Parting thoughts

Construction of Michigan’s first Bus Rapid Transit line almost complete (RapidGrowth)

Detroit companies pays employees to live close to work (LiveDowntown)

Less traffic, more transit use, greater tax revenue for cities that set the right price for parking (AtlanticCities)

What’s at stake when the transportation fund goes belly up? (T4America)

Nation debates the best way to pay for roads (NYTimes)

If not the gas tax, then what? (TheHill)

Good interview with new Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (TransportPolitic)

See you on the bus!

The Regional Rider is a monthly update on the efforts to coordinate transit service in the six-county Grand Vision region. It’s published by the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist, James Bruckbauer. For feedback, or to receive an emailed version every month, contact James at or follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb.