A Better Traverse City Parkway: What now?

Ty Schmidt
3 min readFeb 6, 2022

Last week I published “Imagination, Attention and Action Required” ahead of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s virtual meetings on the redesign of Traverse City’s Parkway.

I attended parts of both of these virtual meetings. Their presentation was thorough but, I thought the public input process — type your question into the chat and then listen to the answer — sucked.

On a positive note, I counted 100ish people Wednesday and 70ish Thursday which, is way better than the 39 that attended Novememer’s meetings. So, thank you to many of you who engaged.

What now?

Commissioner Werner’s letter to the Record-Eagle editor

Tomorrow, the City Commission will discuss the 1947 agreement at their Commission meeting.

There’s a recap on that agreement in the paper today but in short: if either MDOT or the City wants to change the Parkway, both parties need to approve/consent.

Legal or not, I believe this agreement needs to be honored — honored to support a reimagined Parkway for Traverse City’s people, not just cars.

Complete Streets

Screenshot of MDOT’s presentation

The first bullet under “Goals of this Project” in MDOT’s presentation is “Complete Streets”.

Complete streets is a “transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation.”

MDOT adopted the Complete Streets policy in 2010.

TC followed in 2014✎ EditSign.

This shared policy is vital.

We must demand complete streets the entire length of the project, not just bits for people walking or biking here and there.

Quality of life

MDOT’s mission includes improving “quality of life.”

We need to hold them to that.

This current design which priorities moving cars as quickly and as efficiently as possible does next to nothing to improve those who live in TC’s quality of life.

The bay is our crown jewel. It’s why many of us live here. Improving our access to it will pay dividends in our physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing.

In my opinion, that’s worth fighting for as we won’t get another chance for another 60 years.

Call to action

Our City Commissions’ mission mentions “extensive participation by its citizens.” They want to hear from us.

Please consider attending tomorrow’s meeting to give public comment or if you didn’t email the City Commission last week, send them a quick note of encouragement to honor 1947, complete streets, and our quality of life.

Use this address to email all of the Commissioners: citycommissioners@traversecitymi.gov

Meeting agenda HERE.

Memo re: 1947 agreement HERE.

Citizens For A Better Parkway

To date, 50+ people have joined Citizens For A Better Parkway (CBP).

You can see where we live and our affiliations HERE.

If you’d like to get involved with CPB, complete this form.



Ty Schmidt

Manitoba made now proud Michigander living in Traverse City. Dad, husband, community organizer and founder of Carter's Compost, Norte, and Good Works Lab.