Let’s fix our sidewalks, Traverse City

The Traverse City City Commission will be considering a proposal this coming Monday, April 16th to approve roughly $1 million to repair all of the sidewalks in the City rated as poor/very poor (map below) during the 2018 and 2019 construction seasons.

This proposal did not receive the necessary 5 votes to pass when it was discussed on April 2nd and will be before commissioners again this Monday. Again, it needs 5 affirmative votes to pass.

Meeting agenda HERE.

Meeting packet HERE.

How you can help:

  • Email City Commissioners voicing your support. Make it personal. Explain why this matters to you, your family, your neighbors. Email all Commissioners with this one address: CityCommissioners@traversecitymi.gov
  • Attend the meeting Monday, April 16th at 7P at the Governmental Center (400 Boardman Ave.). Show up and voice your support. RSVP HERE.

Because sidewalks are more than just pavement, of course.

 


Norte Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Traverse City Sidewalks: Fix ’em up, Fill ’em in

Last summer, while walking to work along Seventh St., I noticed a woman about a ½  block ahead of me. She was walking along at a brisk pace, enjoying the beautiful day. Then, almost as if in slow motion, I watched as she caught her foot on a large crack in the sidewalk, lurking a few inches above the concrete just waiting to catch an unsuspecting foot. Thrown off balance, she stumbled forward and landed on her side in a neighboring lawn.

I rushed ahead to check on her. As I approached, I noticed that she was older than I had assumed – probably in her 70’s. She said she was “okay” and I carefully helped her back to her feet. Thankfully, she did not appear to have sustained any major injuries. She thanked me for my help and continued on her way.

I couldn’t help but notice that as she walked away, there was a change in her cadence. That bounce in her step was no longer there. She walked away cautiously, looking for another hazard that could bring her to the ground.

In my work as a physical therapist, I work every day with older adults who are either recovering from fall-related injuries, or working to improve their strength and balance to keep from falling. I see the devastating outcomes that a fall can have on older adults. Whether it is broken bones or broken confidence, a fall invariably will lead to some loss of independence.

I still think about this woman often. I wonder if she still walks around Traverse City as confidently and briskly as she did before this fall. Or has she modified her mobility habits to walk less and drive more to avoid another trip and fall? I sure hope it is the former.

Monday night (see meeting packet HERE), we have an opportunity to make sure that incidents like these, falls and injuries from sidewalks in poor condition, are less likely to happen. Most of the talk around the $4.5 million sidewalk bonding proposal has been centered around filling in sidewalks in Traverse Heights, and understandably so. However, another important piece of this project is the over $500,000 that would go to repairing the 15,391 feet of sidewalk that is rated as in “poor” or “very poor” condition.

Map of sidewalks rated as “poor” or “very poor” that would be repaired as part of $4.5 mil bond proposal

Yes, we need sidewalks in Traverse Heights and we need them now. But we also need to ensure that the sidewalks we currently have, in all of our neighborhoods, are safe for everyone to travel on.

How you can help:

  • Email City Commissioners voicing your support for the full $4.5 million investment in sidewalk infill and repair before their meeting 12/18/17. Make it personal. Explain why this matters to you, your family, your neighbors. Email all Commissioners with this one address: CityCommissioners@traversecitymi.gov
  • Attend the meeting Monday, December 18th at 7P at the Governmental Center (400 Boardman Ave.). Show up and voice your support. RSVP HERE.

Chris Hinze is a dad, physical therapist, Cleveland Browns fan, Norte board member and chair of the Traverse City Pro Walk/Pro Bike committee. He lives in the Old Town neighborhood with his wife and two daughters. Follow him on Twitter @chinzept


Norte Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Traverse Heights Sidewalks: Good for Traverse City

This guest post by Tyler Bevier was originally posted on 10/9/17 – and we love it just as much now as we did then.

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.

Support new sidewalks for Traverse Heights and City-wide sidewalk repair? Here’s how you can help:

  • Email City Commissioners voicing your support for the full $4.5 million investment in sidewalks before their meeting 12/18/17. Make it personal. Explain why this matters to you, your family, your neighbors. Email all Commissioners with this one address: CityCommissioners@traversecitymi.gov
  • Attend the meeting Monday, December 18th at 7P at the Governmental Center (400 Boardman Ave.). Show up and voice your support. RSVP HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


Norte Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

 

Sidewalks are more than just pavement

Sidewalks are more than just pavement. They are places where we:

  • Host lemonade stands.
  • Catch up with a friend.
  • Exercise our pets and furry friends.
  • Admire maple trees and fall colors.
  • Scoot and race our friends.
  • Get to elementary school.
  • Swap perennials with a neighbor.
  • Make chalk art.
  • Go to the park.
  • Play tag at sunset.
  • Head to the grocery.
  • Wave or say hello to strangers on their porches.
  • Jump rope.
  • Catch the bus.
  • Train for a running race.
  • Head to the sledding hill with friends on Snow Days.
  • Do not drive home from the bar.
  • Catch fireflies.
  • Go to church.
  • Witness the moon and stars.

Did you know the Traverse City has 21.7 miles of roadway that does not have an accompanying sidewalk? A lot of this “gap” is in the Traverse Heights neighborhood. There are an additional 2.9 miles of sidewalk is rated by the City as “poor” to “very poor” and in need of repair. Right now our City invests $200,000 – 400,000 per year on sidewalks. At this rate, it will take decades to complete our sidewalk network.

A proposal for addressing our City’s sidewalk gaps will be on the City Commission agenda Monday, December 18th. Right now what’s being considered is a $4.5 million dollar bond proposal that will significantly accelerate our City’s capacity to build new and fix poor sidewalks.

Where sidewalks don’t exist in town, you can see “desire lines” where people have walked in the grass and dirt and snow. These lines represent places where people want to walk and connect and can’t do it safely, or in all seasons. I’m grateful our City Commissioners are taking a look at prudent financial approaches to address these needs in the short-term.

If you want to share your thoughts with Commissioners:

  • Email City Commissioners voicing your support for the full $4.5 million investment in sidewalks before their meeting 12/18/17. Make it personal. Explain why this matters to you, your family, your neighbors. Email all Commissioners with this one address: CityCommissioners@traversecitymi.gov
  • Attend the meeting Monday, December 18th at 7P at the Governmental Center (400 Boardman Ave.). Show up and voice your support. RSVP HERE.

Megan Olds is President & Principal at Parallel Solutions LLC.  Her professional background and passions include community growth and development, land and water conservation and stewardship, food and farming systems, housing, transportation, and access to nature and outdoor recreation.


Stay up to date with all things Norte by subscribing to our once in awhile, always informative, never spammy and very orange newsletter, El Periodico.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

 

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.

CityCommissioners@traversecitymi.gov

mcolburn@traversecitymi.gov

rsoyring@traversecitymi.gov

 

 

Hey, Traverse City: Let’s Talk Sidewalks!

IMG_1152“Where the sidewalk ends” – a poem by Shel Silverstein or a descriptive term for places like Traverse Heights neighborhood or South Garfield Ave?

Thankfully, the City of Traverse City has recognized that many places in our City are lacking safe places to walk and are considering a major investment to build more sidewalks in places where the sidewalk ends.

Tonight, Traverse City Commissioners will consider two items of “Old Business” related to sidewalks in the city (see TC Commission 4.3.17 packet beginning on p.65 for sidewalk topics):

  1. A discussion on a proposal to address the sidewalk gap in Traverse City. At this moment, Traverse City has a sidewalk “gap” of 115,017 feet. In other words, 21.7 miles of roadway in the city do not have sidewalk facilities. An additional 15,391 feet (or 2.9 miles) of sidewalk is rated as “poor” to “very poor” and is in need of repair.
    • Essentially the current proposal calls for:
      1. 48,348 ft of NEW sidewalk in the Traverse Heights neighborhood (WooHoo!)
      2. 3,338 ft of NEW sidewalk for Garfield Ave. from Boon St. to City Limits (Another sidewalk to nowhere? Hey, Garfield Township / GT County Road Commission: you guys want in on this project, too?)
      3. 2,878 ft of NEW sidewalk for E. Front St. from Munson Ave to East Bay Blvd (Improved walkability to NMC Campus and East Bay Park? Yes, please!)
      4. Repair/replacement of the 15,391 feet of existing sidewalk rated as “poor” or “very poor” (Fewer tripping hazards, yay!)
    • The total estimated cost for this project is approximately $4.5 million dollars ($4.5 MILLION dollars for sidewalks? Wow! That sounds like a City that is putting its budget where its mouth is when it comes to walkability – cheers to you City of TC!)
    • There is no specific timeline for project implementation mentioned in the packet, however the TC Planning Commission “draft” Capital Improvement Plan does call for $4,500,000 in spending for sidewalk gap infill for fiscal year 2017/18 with an additional $366,500 allocated for each of the next five years. (Sooner rather than later, please! People need safe places to walk ASAP!!)

2. Discussion and vote on plans for Sidewalk Replacement and Gap Infill for 2016/17:

    • The scope of work for this proposal includes:
      1. 3,620 feet of NEW sidewalk on Centre St from Woodmere to Fern St. (A no brainer – build, baby, build!)
      2. 1,804 feet of sidewalk repair on 10th St from Division to Union St.
      3. Repair/Replace a small section of sidewalk along Division St. near Third St.
    • The City Commissioners will be considering a bid from Elmer’s for $413,079.35 to complete (Compared to $4.5 mil – that’s a drop in the bucket! Rubber stamp this and start pouring that concrete!)

Okay…so what does this all mean? The status quo for the City when it comes to sidewalks is to spend $300,000 – $400,000 per year (see 2016/17 plan as example) to repair/replace and add sidewalks to a few select locations. At the current pace, it would take decades to fill in the sidewalk gap throughout the City.

For places like Traverse Heights who have little to no sidewalk facilities – this is simply unacceptable.

This is why the Sidewalk Improvement Plan (project “1” described above) is so important. This proposal would allocate significant dollars to eliminate well over one-third of the sidewalk gap in one large scale project and investment.

Of course, additional investment will continue to be needed to address all of the gaps in TC’s sidewalk network. SoFo, Oak Park, Civic Center and Slab Town areas are just a few examples of places that also need sidewalks and are not included in the current scope of the sidewalk plan. (Phase 2, anyone??)

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.

IMG_1150

A personalized message always works best, but if you’re short on time – you can copy + paste ours and simply fill in the blanks:

To: CityCommissioners@traversecitymi.gov, mcolburn@traversecitymi.gov, rsoyring@traversecitymi.gov

Dear City Commissioners, City Manager Mr. Colburn and City Planner Mr. Soyring,

Thank you all for your service to the City. Also, congratulations to you all on Traverse City’s recent win in the Strong Towns contest!

My name is _______________ and I am a ______________ resident who lives on _____________ street.

I am writing to express my support of both the Sidewalk Gap/Infill Project and the 2016/17 Sidewalk Replacement and Gap Infill Project.

One of the main factors that makes Traverse City a Strong Town is our walk/bikeablity. Our downtown and many of our neighborhoods are great places to walk – either for recreation or for transportation. Unfortunately, many of our residents still do not have convenient access to safe places to walk. The Traverse Heights neighborhood is one example of a neighborhood that is underserved when it comes to sidewalk infrastructure.

Please consider supporting both the 2016/17 Sidewalk Plan and the larger scale Sidewalk Gap/Infill project. With over 20 miles of our roads lacking sidewalk facilities, the City’s typical $300,000 to $400,000 investment in sidewalks is insufficient to provide convenient access to sidewalks to all of our neighbors. I applaud the City’s consideration of allocating $4.5 million to sidewalk investment and fully support this and future sidewalk investment where needed in the City. I encourage you to approve this plan and to champion its implementation in a timely manner.

I also challenge you to attempt to work with Garfield Township and the Grand Traverse County Road Commission on streets like Barlow and Garfield that desperately need continuous sidewalks their entire length, not just within the City Limits.

Sincerely,

(Your name)

(address)


Thank you for your efforts to help make the Grand Traverse Region a more walkable, bikeable and rollable place for all people. Please join our advocacy grupo and help be part of the solution.