When I think about creating an affordable, accessible healthcare service in Detroit, there are many factors that I consider. One of them is physical accessibility by foot, by bike and by car. How can I help to ensure that all patients and community members have access to the resources that I provide in my Family Medicine practice? Am I able to serve the spectrum of people with varying incomes and abilities in my office? What barriers do people face when trying to get to my clinic?
Our Plum Health office is situated about 1 block from I-96/I-75 near the Vernor Highway exit. That's right, my office sits at the intersection of 2 "highways". Vernor Highway is not much more than one lane of each traffic in each direction, but the sentiment remains. We have a parking lot, there is sidewalk leading to our entrance, we are on a bus line, and we have parking spaces for persons with disabilities.
However, there is one area where we can improve! There is a Bike Lane on Vernor Highway in both directions that extends from SW Detroit and ends in front of my office in between 20th and 21st Streets. This is unfortunate, because there are Bike Lanes going in both directions on Michigan Avenue, less than 0.5 miles away.
All I'm saying is that there's a real opportunity here to connect SW Detroit, Mexicantown and the historic West Vernor Business District with Michigan Avenue, Corktown, and the Corktown Business District.
So for anyone in the City of Detroit, if you're reading/watching/listening, here's my prescription for a healthier road, healthier neighborhood, and healthier community:
- Clean up the garbage that has accumulated underneath the Michigan Central Station Rail Lines and along West Vernor highway. I'd be happy to help with this myself or by organizing a group of people in the community to assist or get this done. However, we would likely need support with some bulk collection if we went this route!
- Extend the Bike Lane on Vernor Highway between SW Detroit at 20th Street and Michigan Avenue. This would be relatively easy and would make for a safer crossing in the greater Roosevelt Park area.
- Cross walk markings in the Roosevelt Park area. There are several intersections in the Roosevelt Park area that are not demarcated by cross walks. This makes for dangerous crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists and ultimately less connected neighborhoods.
- Install lighting underneath the Michigan Central Station's viaduct.
Ultimately, citizens in Detroit face challenges with regular activity, obesity, and access to healthy food and parks. Creating an inviting environment for healthy activities by investing in Complete Streets at key intersections will be beneficial and will make an impact on the lives of residents in Detroit.
- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC