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These Sidewalks are for Walking!

We write about sidewalks a lot. Perhaps too much. And we’ll own that because sidewalks transform neighborhoods, and we’re honored to join you in advocating for more of them for years to come.

A new sidewalk instantly creates a comfortable route to our favorite places, like coffee shops, grocery stores, parks, and schools. They provide a place to play, jog, walk the dog, or catch up with the neighbor we haven’t seen in ages. Sidewalks clear the way for the community to connect and grow; they allow resiliency to strengthen. They also encourage more of us, of all ages, to move and stay active by design. Sidewalks are a big deal.

As the 2021 construction season winds down, it’s a perfect time to celebrate miles of new sidewalk constructed in Traverse City this past year, as well as the miles of sidewalk built in the last six.

Some of the numbers to date:

  • Since 2015, Traverse City has built 12.53 miles of new sidewalk and reconstructed another seven. The total cost over that six years is $7.2 million.
  • 87% of the new sidewalks (11 miles) were built in the last two years.
  • The Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Grant provided 3.2 new miles of sidewalk and enhanced countless crosswalks, including the refuge island at Garfield Avenue and Washington Street.
  • The City also extended the Buffalo Ridge Trail to connect West Middle School and the new TCAPS Montessori to the city.

And many of you played an important part. If you sent an email, walked on a walking audit, took a survey, or voted for representatives who prioritized walking and rolling, we thank you.

On Monday night, October 11, the City of Traverse City invites the champions of sidewalks to celebrate this genuine pedestrian effort at the City Commission’s study session. The meeting starts at 7 pm on the second floor of the Governmental Center. City staff will review the accomplishment and invite representatives from TART Trails, Safe Routes to School, and Norte to review and celebrate with them. Finally, there will be a public comment period for the community to share their appreciation and stories of how new sidewalks change their daily experience.

If you are unable to attend, consider sending City Commissioners an email of appreciation. Or, if you prefer, send your message to me, and I’ll share the love from Team Orange.

See you on the sidewalk.

Gary Howe
Norte Advocacy and Communications Director

DETAILS: October 11, 2021, at 7 pm at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Avenue in the Commission Chambers, 2nd Floor. 

UPDATE: City of Traverse City’s public works reached out and offered that in total, 15.49 miles of sidewalk was installed since 2015 and 9.29 miles installed in 2020 & 2021, or 60% of the total. Our numbers didn’t include sidewalks added as part of street reconstruction projects.


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