A Better Traverse City Parkway: Endgame
This is the sixth story of the “A Better Traverse City Parkway” series. Read #1 (Imagination, Attention and Action Required), #2 (What Now?), #3 (What’s Important to You?), #4 (An Opportunity), and #5 (Negotiation)
Traverse City’s most important public works project of my generation is nearing its planning endgame.
This $20M project will redesign the Parkway along Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City’s crown jewel, for the next 60 years.
Until recently, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been in complete control of this project, but that changed with the 1947 agreement.
That agreement has given Traverse City an equal seat at the table. Some of Traverse City’s elected officials are standing up for better.
And now Russ Soyring has joined them.
A Traverse City Legend
Russ Soyring served as Traverse City’s planning director for 35 years and retired last year. He has also been inducted into the AICP College of Fellows — the highest honor the American Institute of Certified Planners bestows upon a member.
Russ recently published this op-ed encouraging City leaders to seize this:
window of opportunity to set the tone for a different type of waterfront highway. One that I hope will be more inclusive for all users and where we don’t feel the need to run across the parkway to get to the waterfront.
While several powers that be think the current MDOT design is good enough, Russ believes we can do better.
I’m with Russ.
Russ has endorsed these four doable improvements to the current Parkway design that would benefit the health and well-being of the people who live in Traverse City:
- Narrow travel lanes to 10-feet, plus 1-foot gutter pan.
- Pedestrian HAWK signals at Rose, Hope, and Oak Streets.
- East side pedestrian crossing of Parkway at Division Street (only a west side crossing is proposed).
- Sidewalks on the south side of Grandview Parkway, between the new East Front Street (near Franklin/Railroad) intersection and Division Street.
Will these improvements require permission? Yes.
Can we get that permission? Absolutely — but we’ll have to ask for it.
Tonight the Traverse City City Commission will discuss two agenda items regarding the Parkway.
- A Letter of Understanding that MDOT wants the City to sign
- The possibility of hiring a third party to negotiate on behalf of the people of Traverse City.
Before 5pm today, please send a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org encouraging our elected officials to keep standing for better.
Standing up to MDOT — and the powers that be who are supporting MDOT’s current plan — isn’t easy.
Our public officials need to know that the people who elected them have their back.
Citizens For A Better Parkway
To date, 170+ people have joined Citizens For A Better Parkway.
You can get involved HERE.