Complete Streets Coalition seeks to promote better planning for highways and streets, so that all users have a good chance of safe passage. Not everyone agrees with the idea of building streets with bicycle and pedestrian lanes included. The concept has been challenged on the basis that these non-motorized uses are not included in "highway purposes."
On October 21, 2010, the Michigan Attorney General's Office handed down a ruling which states that all such uses are, definitely, included in "highway purposes."
The conclusion states, "A pedestrian and bicycle pathway may be established within the right-of-way of a county road built on an easement granted for highway purposes, without first obtaining the consent of each owner of property abutting the highway."
Many historical rulings were referenced in the decision. It was noted that although easement uses must be confined to the purposes for which it was reserved, that all modes of surface transportation, and public communication/ utility transmission have historically been included in those purposes.
When a highway is not restricted in use (such as an Interstate federal highway), it is open to all suitable uses. The Court added that the uses to which highway easements may be put evolve over time, in recognition of technological developments.
This is great news for the future of transportation in Michigan.
See Michigan AG Ruling
See Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance
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