Tonight’s City Commission Meeting & A Little Grand Vision Discussion
UPDATE: Changed out the regional map for a graphic of the directional signage proposed for Hammond-Keystone connection and to hear an interview about the Grand Vision that aired on IPR, you may listen online or via the player at the bottom.
Mayor Chris Bzdok has an interesting read about the Grand Vision over at Plan for TC. Specifically, the role of the City in helping to create a more robust regional network that for a long time has focused on accentuating the Hammond Rd. to Keystone Rd. east-west connection. The idea, as I understand it, is that if the City can help facilitate traffic around Traverse City than that may relieve some of our traffic concerns (all above links to Plan for TC, agenda for tonight at the City’s website).
I’ve yet to see numbers that support this project as a focus and actually, the numbers I’ve repeatedly heard and also have never seen suggest that only 4-6% of automobiles that travel through Chums Corners actually make direct East-West trips through the City. The majority that do are making stops somewhere in the City and then moving through.
So, is this best focus for the City? Providing a better regional “grid” may reduce some pressures on our main arteries, this was even recommend during the Division St. charrete in 2010, but how to do so is still a mystery.
At the end of his post, the Mayor suggests:
“It may be time that the city shifted its focus and its internal resources to working directly on transportation solutions within its borders, and outside its borders through specific projects of mutual interest with our friends in the townships and the road commission. It may be time to move on.”
I suggest we can do this and still be engaged, if not pursue, the values expressed in the Grand Vision. Traverse City and Garfield Township are the main population centers and the primary exchange locations for the region. That suggests to me that how the two develop will largely influence how the region develops. If the City’s main issues are the negative impacts of motorized vehicles, perhaps we need to seriously consider not making the ease of mobility, and storage, for one type of transportation our primary concern. Let’s create a place that will attract people regardless of how they choose to get here.
Our goals shouldn’t be to provide for the way we have lived for the last 30 years, but how we want to live 30 years from now. In 30 years, I’d like to see Chum Corners have higher density and be a walkable community of its own instead of thoroughfare. It would be connected to the “big city” with an efficient transit, trail and park-and-ride system.
My vision is a community not obsessed with providing and building for “transportation,” but a community focused on creating a place that is resilient and enviable.
EDITOR’S EXTRA: I have complicated and mixed emotions concerning the Grand Vision. It has become so expansive and convoluted that to have one opinion is impossible. I want to support it while at the same time admit a severe lack of capacity and tools to see how. Yes, the Transportation-Land-Use Study was released, but it usefulness and accessibility for the average Joe and Jane who want to weigh-in on the discussion is certainly limited.
I recently spoke with IPR’s Peter Payette about the Grand Vision and more about this tension. The audio can be listened to online or via the player below.
(Grand Vision discussions starts at the 8:20 mark and is about 10 minutes long).