Traverse Heights Sidewalks: Good for Traverse City
Sidewalks. They seem to go hand-in-hand when talking about neighborhood character. Here in Traverse City, many of our treasured and historic neighborhoods were gifted with sidewalks decades ago. These sidewalks helped bring neighborhoods together. They created an inviting atmosphere to walk with your neighbor, walk with your child to school early in the morning or walk with your dog after work as the sun begins to set.
In Traverse Heights, the proposed sidewalks will bring together our most forgotten neighborhood. Sidewalks will not only encourage Traverse Heights neighbors to be more active but will also better connect its commercial activity such as Family Fare, Potter’s Bakery and the 8th Street and Garfield shops. This corridor has a great a amount of potential since it ties together the Civic Center to Downtown. Yet, accessibility via sidewalks is crucial to Traverse Heights success.
On the east side of the neighborhood, a new 60-unit apartment development, commonly known as “TrailSide45” at the corner of Hannah & Garfield is in its final stages of exterior construction. The east side of the neighborhood is also home to Save-a-Lot grocery, Randy’s Diner, Garden Stores, and food and beverage establishments. Currently, this corridor is very auto-centric, with businesses set-back from the roadways. Yet, hopefully a glimpse into the future is the small-scale two story development at Carver and Garfield. This development shifts the parking into the rear of the building, with pedestrian entrances in the front. Additionally, sidewalks and trees adorn the storefronts, to create a pleasant walking experience.
With new development along this corridor, more of the shops, restaurants and businesses could have more of a pedestrian feel in the future, versus the auto-centric corridor of today.
To the west, Barlow Street and Woodmere Avenue sidewalks will help bridge these businesses and tie together these important corridors across city and township lines to create a consistent walkable environment.
Sidewalks in our more traditional neighborhoods may seem like second nature, yet those investments are what helped trigger development that we see today along West Front Corridor with CVS, Mary’s Kitchen Port and the variety of businesses along there one can walk or bike to. What would Old Town neighborhood be, without the great asset of being able to walk to Oryana Natural Foods and the Boardman Lake Trail?
Sidewalks are investments that will usher in new neighborhood growth, investment and opportunities for our residents; meanwhile continuing to improve our quality of life.
Tyler Bevier is a Traverse Heights neighbor, Traverse City Parks Commissioner and Transportation Planner at BATA. He likes coffee, public art and the Dennos Museum.
If you support sidewalks, safe places to walk and wheelchair roll for all people in Traverse City, please let your City Commissioners know before their meeting tonight.