Walking Garfield Ave. makes me cranky
Whose ROW is this anyway?
On Monday, I took the opportunity to walk home along Garfield Ave. with camera in hand. The images in the slide show below really explain themselves. They show that Garfield Ave. is indeed
a shit-hole an underperforming corridor with ample underused property with infrastructure devoted to the hey day of the automobile, for which the bill for its second life cycle is now due.
It is also a depressing place to have to walk. The sidewalks that are present are disconnected and often run into parking lots and parked cars like below.
This scene gave me pause, because I never really put it together before that the City has allowed the public right of way to be used for a private parking lot. It is happening throughout the Garfield Ave. corridor and, apparently, in several other places around the City. Somewhere in the history of the City, permission was granted or permission was assumed that granting the use of public space for a private parking lot was more important than providing connections for people on foot.
More and more I’m becoming comfortable with stating unequivocally that I’m a public space advocate. I know this about myself because when I see a scenario like this, where a private gain so egregiously encroaches onto public space, I get offended. I’m not sure there’s anything to be done, but I’d like my disappointment noted for the record.
More images as larger files on the MyWHaT Flickr page
The condition and design of Garfield Ave. bothers me for a number of reasons. As one of the gateways into Traverse City, it’s an aesthetic and functional embarrassment and it doesn’t serve the adjacent residents as if they matter. The strip mall land use pattern underperforms economically and is highly inefficient, so when commissioners whine that we’re broke I want to hold up a giant poster of the land use they’ve supported over the last 30 years and…
The Planning Commission, on which I serve, identified Garfield Ave. for the Corridor Improvement Plan that the City has reviewed over the last 6 months. I had high hopes that this section of Garfield Ave. could be retrofitted, but after walking it this week, my hopes are a bit diminished. No fear, that shouldn’t stop me from trying and could just be the impact of exhaust and noise I took in while standing next to a stroad of cars going 40-50-mph for an hour.
Onward. Tally-Corridor-Ho. Welcome to Tree City.
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