A Better Traverse City: Changing Course
This is an update to a six-story series — “A Better Traverse City Parkway”. Read #1 (Imagination, Attention and Action Required), #2 (What Now?), #3 (What’s Important to You?), #4 (An Opportunity), #5 (Negotiation) and #6 (Endgame)
I’m not going to lie, it’s been nearly two months, and the Traverse City Parkway vote still stings. After some reflection, several Traverse City neighbors are changing course — from organizing citizens around a better Parkway to a network of citizens supporting a better Traverse City.
This new citizen-led network will work to shift power from those with competing priorities to citizens with one priority — improving the lives of their neighbors.
We’ll accomplish this by building/deploying power for City policy, procedure, and practice change.
After what happened with the Parkway, some practices, policies, and procedures worth changing could include:
- giving private nonprofits access to more City information than citizens
- using private nonprofits as proxies for citizen voice
- providing private nonprofits opportunities to weigh in/influence City decisions before citizens
- requiring affiliation to a private nonprofit to be a member of the City’s Active Transportation Committee
In June, the City Commission approved a $150K mobility and bike action plan with Progressive AE 5–2 (Werner and Wilson the no’s).
Progressive AE was the firm that recently botched the east Front Street design proposal by removing bike lanes.
Chris Zull, Progressive AE’s Transportation Practice Leader, was in the middle of the Parkway debate — supposedly hired by the City, but to me, in MDOT’s corner.
I fully support investing $150K into the health and well-being of my Traverse City neighbors.
However, I wonder about the return of this investment when the same people from the same nonprofits will be working with the same consultant from the same firm who just successfully lobbied for one of our generation’s most car-centric transportation projects.
Is it time to think/act differently on behalf of the people of Traverse City?
What if we put those who live in Traverse City — those of all ages and abilities — at the center of our decision-making?
Let’s not settle for just a little better — let’s push for lots better.
We deserve it.
To date, 170+ people have joined Citizens For A Better Traverse City.
You can get involved HERE.