A Revisioned Eighth Street

Thanks to the fabulous Envision 8th public engagement process of 2017, a new and improved Eighth Street is coming in 2019. The final design is currently in the works.

We’re super excited for this revisioned Eighth Street. A beautiful, welcoming and inviting street where we can conveniently and safely access neighborhoods, businesses, workplaces, parks, food markets, Boardman lake, the library, and public transit by foot, bike, or car.

Alongside our members and partners, we are committed to helping make this happen.

Our three Revisioned 8th Street priorities:

1. A walkable street. Wide, inviting sidewalks flanked by beautiful canopy trees. Raised and highly visible crosswalks at all intersections and mid-block crossings.

2. A bikeable street. Highlighted by a world-class cycle track that encourages bicycling for daily transportation all year round.

3. A safe street. A street design that discourages speeding and reduces the likelihood of serious injury for all road users. A street that provides dedicated space for all users of the street. Narrow vehicle travel lanes. Proper lighting for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

**UPDATE: January 29th**

After last night’s Traverse City Commission Study Session, I’ve been thinking and researching a lot on best practice cycle-track design, which I truly believe is what we should be shooting for with this project – bike infrastructure that is world class.

This document that was shared yesterday referenced Vassar Street in Cambridge, MA as an example of a cycle track that co-exists with driveways. I reached out to a few friends in the Boston area to get their thoughts on Vassar. The feedback was luke-warm: wasn’t great, wasn’t terrible. Per these frequent users, the main issue with the Vassar cycle track is with the proximity of the cycle track and the sidewalk, a concern that Mayor Carruthers raised in the meeting last night. In fact, Cambridge has since changed the way they design cycle tracks since Vassar St. to better separate bicyclists and pedestrians.

My MA friends gave an example of Western Ave. in Cambridge, MA as an example of a cycle track done even better. The main difference here is the green space/tree space is placed between the sidewalk and cycle-track. This reduces potential conflicts between bikes/peds and also places bicyclists in a more visible position to drivers on the roadway or entering/exiting driveways.

Here at Norte, what we are expecting in the final design is what the Envision Eighth process called for – dedicated, welcoming space for all road users. Ultimately a healthy and vibrant place that is walkable, bikeable, and safe for all users.

A few things we love about the current design:

A few things we’d still like to see:

  • A safe, welcoming space for people who bike that is physically separated from motor vehicles with minimal conflict points (especially at driveways/intersections)
  • A buffer between spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Less “green space” (meeting last night I heard anywhere from 10′ to 11.5′) and more space for bikes/people walking & rolling (NACTO guidelines state: “Sidewalks have a desired minimum through zone of 6 feet and an absolute minimum of 5 feet.”) A few extra feet of width to the sidewalk would be great!
  • Consideration for how bicyclists will make left turns off of Eighth Street
  • Guarantees that utility boxes, lighting poles, signs, etc are not located in the right of way for bicyclists or pedestrians

While we are committed to building a stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly Eighth Street, we are only one piece of the puzzle.

We need YOUR voice.

We need YOU to advocate for safe, convenient and accessible opportunities on Eighth Street.

We need YOU to take action.

If you care about the health, happiness, and safety of all Traverse City residents, here are some ways you can help:

1) Write a letter to the editor to help educate your neighbors about why a healthy Eighth Street is so vitally important to the immediate and future health of our City.

2) Email City leadership and share WHY a walkable, bikeable, safe Eighth Street is important to you.

3) Sign our change.org petition HERE