News briefs: A TC solution to traffic, 8th St. update, vision transformation and more
NOTE: This is the first edition of a new series to run on Thursday’s. For these posts, MyWHaT will report short briefs without biased or snarky commentary. After evaluating the last 3 months of work, it became apparent that the editor frequently injects his advice into community discussion as if he knows something and as if his opinions are unique, useful, desired. Although we at MyWHaT won’t pretend that we can put the kaibosh on that entirely, these Thursday posts will hopefully lead to a more fair and balanced approach to the crucial issues of the community involving our public spaces.
News Briefs for Thursday April 1st, 2010
East/West Traffic Solution: Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok today announced the project “Pave your Bay” as a solution to the City’s east/west traffic issues. “I think this will satisfy many people’s concerns, “said the mayor. “Of course, boaters will need to get used to sharing space with vehicles, as well as rafting together out of the water, but we believe in time that it will work out.”
The plan aims to use a swath of concrete up to a half-mile projected into West Bay and use minimal delineation to allow motorized traffic as much room to navigate as possible. There will be no speed limit for the 3 mile stretch.
If funds are available, multiple swim lanes will be included. For cyclists, Grandview Parkway will be converted into parkland and utilize bike roundabouts to move cyclists efficiently.
Apart from the inclusion of bike lanes & parkland, commissioner Mike Gillman was pleased to hear the news and suggested that the city might consider similar projects to provide the opportunity for people to avoid Traverse City all together. “We need a by-pass. There’s no reason for people to come into Traverse City,” he said. He introduced a recommendation to continue the Pave the Bay project over the peninsula and East Bay.
Curb your Public Input: The City of Traverse City sent out a press release today asking citizens to participate less in public input sessions. Apparently coming out of the city manager’s office, the releases acknowledges the commitment and energy of the residents of Traverse City, but asks that for future issues, citizens take the call for public participation a little less seriously.
The press release also referred to city commission meetings where at times the commission was asked to sit through public comment until 9:30 or 10PM. “We want to be clear that we want to hear from the public, but please recognize that city commissioners and staff have lives outside of the governmental center and that some commissioners have earlier bed times ,” reads the release.
Nobody at the governmental center was available for comment; calls to the center were directed to an operator in Mumbai named Ahmed, who speaks perfect northern Michigan English and claims a fondness for cherries and fudge.
Transit User gets Carried Away: Earlier this week, BATA commuter Jim Lively was riding his usual route from Maple City to Traverse City when something just came over him. “I was on the bus, like I am everyday–I love riding BATA–I was dressed and ready for work and then, then…I just don’t remember that much after reaching Traverse,” said Lively.
Apparently, upon reaching the transit station on Hull Street, where he normally would walk downtown to work, he boarded a Cherriot bus to the Grand Traverse mall and from there proceeded to ride the entire BATA fixed route system for the rest of the day collecting a total of 26 transfer passes before a bus driver finally noticed.
“Yeah, I saw him earlier but didn’t think anything of it. People ride around with us all the time. But, after I returned from an afternoon break and I saw him with that big smile in the back of the bus I knew something odd was up,” said the drive who asked Lively to disembark. Adding, “we all like Jim, but his transfer pass was up.”
Lively returned to work the following day without incident.
Grand Vision Update: Last week the Grand Vision, the citizen guided planning effort, took an important step toward achieving something.
According to core committee director, Marsha Smith, the loosely organized project will scale back from a Grand Vision to a Little Vision.
“The citizens of our six-county region have articulated their Grand Vision, and the working committees have determined that it is just not possible,” said Smith. “We will move forward, but at a slower pace and with less lofty goals. The Little Vision will be pretty cool, well, let’s just say that it will be cool-enough”
The Leelanau County commission, which voted against a resolution of supporting the goals of the Grand Vision in 2009, immediately passed a resolution expressing its full support for the Little Vision. In a joint statement by the commission, they expressed full support for the revised vision. “This scaling back will do little and is something we can support. It will save us from committing to a lot of work,” expressed the resolution.
Engineer Department’s new 8th St. Plan: Traverse City’s engineering department ran a small classified-ad today in the Record Eagle announcing new plans for bike lanes along 8th Street. Lanes will be added beginning at Munson Ave. to Union Street, where the street will be redirected to flow west and converted to a contraflow bike boulevard.
The plan calls for bicycle riders to have 30-feet of raised right of way down the center of the street; motorized vehicles will be allotted lanes on the outside. In the winter, the city will plow the middle lanes as a priority and service the outer lanes as time and money is available.
Record Eagle Clears the Record: The Record Eagle used it’s editorial space today to clarify the reasons for the latest layoffs and furloughs, writing, “it’s been tough for everyone here at the paper, but when it comes down to it, there just isn’t enough news to keep us busy. We’ve been doing fine financially, but have used that excuse to avoid hurting the region’s feelings. We hate to say it, but Northern Michigan just isn’t that interesting.”
Expect less news in the future.
* Above button borrowed and altered from the original found at Snarky McF**kbuttons’ Flickr site.
* If you took any of the above stories to heart, then you are in serious need of a second spring break.
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