Bike Lanes

Volunteer Doctor at Tour de Troit 2017

One of my favorite events in Detroit is the Tour de Troit, a friendly 25 mile bike ride through Detroit and some of its beautiful neighborhoods. For the last 5 years, I've been participating as a volunteer medic, starting during my medical school training and continuing through residency, and now as a doctor. 

I love the ride because I get to see so many people who I know! There are so many people and businesses that support this ride and who make it a really special event. From the Great Lakes Coffee that's served with food from the Detroit Institute of Bagels, to the lunch after the ride from local restaurants, to all of the people from the community who come out and either volunteer or ride. It all adds up to a great time. 

Biking is also a super healthy way to see the city, and during the ride we have police barricades and police escorts, so it makes for a very safe environment for everyone who participates. A big thank you to the Detroit Police Department for keeping everyone safe again this year!

When I talk about health, I'm not only talking about physiological health, but also social health - I believe that events that bring together people from different communities and backgrounds can serve to strengthen our region and make us better. That's why I love Tour de Troit, because it is this space where people from across Metro Detroit come together. For future events in this same vein, check out Slow Roll or Open Streets Detroit

It's always a great ride, but it comes with a few injuries every year. This year the head count was about 7,000 riders and we had a handful of accidents and injuries to attend to throughout the day. There were about 20 of us medical volunteers, mostly medical students, and we delivered basic first aid for riders after minor injuries. For more major events, Emergency Medical Services were used. 

So, with fall and cooler weather fast approaching, make it a point to get out today, tomorrow, and the next day on a bike ride or a walk or a run - this is a great time to be active and healthy, and your body, mind, and spirit will thank you for the effort. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health

Where the Bike Lane Ends

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: 

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.

Sincerely,

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC