What grade would you give Garfield Avenue?

Greetings Citizen Advocates,

I’m writing to relay the results of the Garfield Walking audit, share a peek at our first protected bike lane and invite all of you to help with three tasks: 1) map Traverse City’s future bike network, 2) suggest candidate questions for upcoming elections, and 3) invite you to participate in the PeopleForBikes annual survey.

On July 18, two-dozen engaged citizens took part in a walking audit of Garfield Ave Walking. We were joined by representatives from the City of Traverse City’s Planning and Engineering departments, Planning Commission, Michigan Department of Transportation, and Team Norte, including graduates of the Advocate Academy.

Giving the mixed contexts and conditions of the corridor from Bryant Park South to Hannah Avenue, it was a challenge to zero-in on one takeaway other than that there are a lot of opportunities for changing this corridor into a street that is safe and inviting for all ages and uses. The aggregate score for that specific question was a dismal 32%. Contributing factors that need to be addressed include:

  • Confusing and missing crosswalks
  • Missing and narrow sidewalks
  • Heavy and noisy motorized traffic
  • Wide (and prioritized) driveways

There were also some positives. Sections of sidewalks and many ramps were just built in July. Participants also learned about the coming improvements to the intersection of Peninsula Drive and M-37 by Bryant Park. This notoriously wide and nearly impossible-to-cross intersection will be narrowed by nearly 50% and squared off. This will slow people in cars down and improve the visibility of people on foot or bike.

Did you know? Wherever there is a T-intersection, like here at Webster and Garfield, it is a legal crosswalk. There are 6 of these unmarked and undefined crossings along this corridor.

The results of our audit will be used by Traverse City and MDOT to seek additional improvements in coming resurfacing projects. If you couldn’t make this walking audit and would like to contribute an observation, nominate a street for a future walking audit, or contribute a donation to support these efforts, please do so with our Walking Audit Survey. You can review the full report and images at Walking Audit Results.

The big news this week was that 8th Street construction will likely be done in just over a month, barring any major weather interruptions. For many of us who have enjoyed the quieter streets, the reopening may be bittersweet. However, the wider sidewalks, protected bike lane, street trees, midblock crosswalks, and roadway that is 27% narrower will make up for it. Who’s looking forward to this new experience?

First Look: 6-foot sidewalk, divider, and 6-foot separated bike lane.
Do you bike in TC? Do you want to bike more? We have an opportunity to come together, take out our sharpies, and identify Traverse City’s future bike network. We know where the current multi-use trails, bike lanes, and even a few sharrows are located. Where should the next protected bike lane be? What about the first protected intersection? If you’re interested in contributing to our movement, let me know today (reply to this email or at Once I have the numbers, I’ll schedule advocacy happy hour where we will mark-up a giant map. Currently considering, August 29. You can view the City’s multi-use transportation map  here.DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR CANDIDATES FOR TC CITY COMMISSION? 
There are local elections this fall in Traverse City and the ballot will feature 2 candidates for Mayor, 6 candidates for 3 four-year seats, and 2 more for a two-year seat on the 7 member Commission. Norte will be inviting each of them to take our Pro Walk/Pro Bike survey which we will then publish. Submit your questions here for consideration.

Lastly, I encourage everyone to participate in PeopleForBikes annual survey. If we can generate 50 or more responses from Traverse City that data will kick out a ranking to be compared with other communities. It’s quick. It’s easy. Everyone is encouraged to participate no matter how often, where, or why you ride. Take the survey: PlacesForBikes 2019 Community Survey.

PeopleForBikes is an amazing national organization and true Norte partner for creating happy, healthy, strong communities. They contributed $7,500 towards the coming traffic garden and pump track at the Civic Center!

Norte’s Neighborhood Pro Walk/Pro Bike Advocacy has been busy this summer and it seems like it is only just beginning! We will soon be offering Norte-styled bike racks, the Business Champion program is picking up steam, and an exciting new educational program for teens is about to launch – watch for Explore your Neighborhood, Shape your Neighborhood program soon!

Talk soon!

Gary Howe
Advocacy Director

Please pass this newsletter on to that one friend who is always talking about streets and traffic; they can sign up at our Pro Walk/Pro Bike Advocacy Page.

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