Trust or bust is wrong approach to Traverse City’s Division St.
Division is a menace and must be fixed; all we need is a little trust.“
Good work editorial board–let’s state the obvious and hope for the best. Let’s also dumb-down the issue that is Division St. by focusing on “backups and gridlock” and solve it with a wider roadway.
Reading the RE’s editorial, it appears there is a considerable hurdle before Traverse City in regards to an informed discussion. Here’s a reminder of the issues expressed through a diverse set of interests back in 2010.
Any final outcome needs to address all four of the main issues of safety, context, access, and quality for all users, as well as the impact on the adjacent homes.
One key objective should be to ensure that property owners don’t feel compelled to build 15-foot high concrete walls to barricade themselves against an aggressive street. It should be noted, that quality of the roadway was partly addressed with the re-paving of the surface. This has improved ambient noise from vibration of trucks running through town. Little else has been achieved since then and the perceived safety has only worsened as speeds remain higher than desired by people who live near or frequently use Division St.
To build trust, the City Commission needs to step up the pace in asking staff to implement improvements recommended by the Division St. Steering Committee. That document attached below and includes items like street trees planted in the tree lawn, sidewalk completion (both at the north end and in places along the corridor), change lighting from highway lighting to pedestrian scaled lighting, and by provide feedback and education to drivers through a safe driving campaign, more visible enforcement, and by installing instant feedback radar signs to alert people of their speeds. These are the most doable and delaying for some unknown start date of a reconstruction project reveals a lack of resolve.
Perhaps a citizen group needs to simply go out without approval from the City and do some of these ideas and more on their own.
I’m not sure where I fall on the ballot initiative; it’s too early. There remain questions to be asked and answers or non-answers to be sorted out. Is this the only chance to address Division St.? If it means simply reducing friction for automobiles through the corridor by focusing on left turning lanes, then I’m not really interested. If we can ameliorate some of those issues while also creating a street scaled for the mixed-use neighborhood it is, then I’m interested.
What are your questions?
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The objectives from the Division Street Steering Committee remain valuable:
To change the character of Division Street to create a City Street that is:
- safer for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to share, travel along, and to cross
- better fits the context of the city and its neighborhoods
- unites the east and west sides of the street, and
- creates the environment and driver behavior to insure that traffic speeds will be reduced to 30-mph. This must be a demonstrable requirement.
More documents and articles on Division St. are available through the Connected Communities: Complete Streets coalition resource