Home > Appreciated Quotes, Representing > I am writing because…Our Wheels are Turning (I)

I am writing because…Our Wheels are Turning (I)

I am writing because…

That’s how many of you started letters voicing concerns over the 2010 8th St. Kerfuffle. Rumor has it that the city has received an unprecedented 200 plus letters, largely in favor of a Complete Streets approach to Eighth StNot in 20 years. But now.

In place of the normal Monday quote and posts, here are snippets from letters people shared. There were too many, so this is I of II.

What stands out, is how different each of these letters approach the issue.

(Emphasis occasionally added)



We all need to take a moment to be thankful for the passion and care our fellow citizens are showing on this subject of Eighth Street. The “bigger picture” is a demonstration of the love we have for our wonderful town…. Isn’t that wonderful?  We are so blessed with citizens who care, not about themselves, but with the city they choose interact with. Your responsibility is to represent and assist the citizens desires.”—John Robert Williams


Along with redesign there needs to be a culture shift in town to accept, encourage and protect non-motorized transportation. Launch a PR campaign to coincide with these road transformations (I am including Division) that will let the public know that their city leaders stand behind keeping this city walkable/bikeable and in turn a great place to live. Include in that campaign an element that gets residents involved and excited. Shifts like this will ensure that TC is one of the best small towns in America for years to come.” — Tracey Kukla-Aleshire


Just wanted to say thanks for the bike lane on 8th from Garfield to Munson. I ride it everyday to work and back and it has been fantastic. I hope you will continue to help TC be a more bike friendly town by adding a bike only lane in the upcoming repave of 8th. How nice would it be to be able to someday ride safely down 8th from Munson to say Union?“– Ty Schmidt


In 2009, we delivered over 15,000 pounds of coffee and road over 500 miles delivering around Traverse City. We are very proud of this successful program and we get a lot of praise from our clients. We don’t have to deliver by bike, but we are committed to doing it year-round…I’m writing because we need your support to make sure that this is a safe, comfortable and expanding program. Our rider’s main route is the length of 8th Street. Part of our incentive for moving into Traverse City is because we recognized that it wasn’t perfect, but that improvements for all modes of transportation were being aggressively pursued. The fact that a main route through town is taken off of this agenda is unacceptable.Chris Treter, Higher Grounds Trading Co.


Mr. Bifoss, in his agenda summary infers 8th street is a concern of bicycle “advocates”.  Respectfully, I suggest 8th street is a concern of all of us who are “community” advocates, all of us who seek a shared community that we are proud of. This battle is not about bicyclist, it is about livability and sustainability. It’s about a corridor that touches most city neighborhoods and how it can be enhanced to make its businesses inviting and usable by all.  Our “community voice” is advocating dealing with the issue of how 8th Street looks and feels today, not a decade from now. —Michael H. Dettmer


The current cross section of much of 8th St. has 13.5’ lanes. Such wide lanes encourage motorists to drive faster. Lanes two feet narrower would provide sufficient space while encouraging motorists to drive more slowly and carefully. As a frequent user of 8th Street, both as a motorist and a bicyclist, I would much prefer traffic that is not rushing through town…I’m pushing 80 and find it harder when on foot to hurry across streets in the time allowed by many crossings. I love Front St. where motorists mostly realize the cross walks are for pedestrians and do readily yield to folks on foot. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make crossing streets throughout Traverse City more like Front St. than Division St. or Grandview? — June Thaden


As one of these cyclists, I need to be able to go everywhere, and prefer routes that are safe, direct, and scenic, in that order. A complete streets design of 8th Street is an opportunity and should not be missed to make our city safer, by slowing traffic, reducing noise, and encouraging a variety of modes of travel…The City Commission took positive steps when re-striping the eastern most end of 8th Street, and I am amazed that this was not continued along the corridor. In closing, please remember that to disregard the needs of all users along this corridor is discriminatory, and leaves the most vulnerable unprotected. — Laura Otwell


“As a resident who walks and rides his bike year round through the city, I feel it is important to consider all pedestrians when designing 8th street. This street has a potential to be wonderful through-way for vehicles, foot and bike traffic. Please do it right.”Will Havill


As you are well aware, 8th Street is another one of the key transportation corridors identified in the Grand Vision. 8th Street is the best east-west arterial to make into a complete street.  It presents the best opportunity to accommodate all transportation users, whether they are walkers, bikers or drivers, in a safe and calm street…While I understand that there has been concern about stimulus money and whether MDOT would agree to these changes, I would remind you that we were presented with those exact same challenges on Division Street and were able to overcome them.  I am confident that with the proper support from the Commission, the City staff will be able to work with MDOT and make this project happen the right way.– Scott Howard


This section of 8th Street is slowly becoming less bike friendly, which in TART’s opinion is not in the best interest of our community…Historically there were two driving lanes between Woodmere and Garfield, and sufficient lane width for a comfortable biking experience. The third lane between Rose and Garfield was added 5 years ago, and now a third lane is proposed at Barlow. We have been designing our communities for cars fro the past 50 years. The pendulum has been swinging the other way in many cities, and our citizens are asking for the same. –Bob Otwell, TART Trails


We were perplexed and disappointed when we recently learned that the resurfacing project slated for the spring of this year for 8th St. between Garfield and Barlow does not include bike lanes or any new safe crossings for pedestrians. Please pay particular attention to the East 8th St. plans and be sure they are implemented in such a way that support our Master Plan and the overwhelming demand for safe bike and pedestrian use.  The long-term gain of doing this well will be greater than the short-term pain of potentially needing to take more time or even to spend more money. –Jennifer Jay


To me, bicycling is a way of life. I own a car and frequently drive it, but I also bike and walk as much as possible. “Everything in moderation.” I recently moved to the east end of Eighth Street, the section that was put on a “road diet” last year. What a great neighborhood! We have bike lanes and the traffic is much calmer with two lanes plus a turn lane than it is on the four-lane sections of Eighth. I feel much safer biking or crossing the street here than I do anywhere else on Eighth, and it has helped restore some of the “small town charm” that is Traverse City.–Kate Jaquish


The Traverse City Master Plan, which the Michigan Land Use Institute heartily endorsed when it was redone last year, also calls for streets that accommodate pedestrians and cyclists safely. It is important that the city follow its own master plan, because it reflects the wishes of the community.  It begs the question: if we’re not going to follow the plan, why have one in the first place?…Furthermore, study after study clearly shows that the young, new economy workers of the 21st century are drawn to places where they can easily live without having to drive a car for their daily commute.  If we as a city truly want to compete in this new environment, we must do everything we can to accommodate these young professionals, who are looking for such attributes in a place to live.”– Brian Beauchamp, Michigan Land Use Institute


I am urging you all to have the forward thinking to include a bike lane on 8th Street as part of the repaving plan.  Those cities with healthy and safe alternative transportation options are the true cities of the future.  The time is now!–Kim Gribi


Traverse City has beautiful natural resources to offer; a healthy and picturesque environment, away from big city stress. People visit and move here to relax and breathe…To support them and to create more value for the people working in tourism, a working net of bike lanes and street crossings will help to increase these values. The backbone of a working city is the infrastructure. With times changing and becoming more diverse than individual car transport, it is eminent to set the stage for new possibilities.–Sally Trombly



Please join us for one of the largest cycling events in Traverse City

At the Traverse City Commission Meeting discussion about the 2010 8th Street debacle

Monday, February 8 at 7:00pm
400 Boardman Avenue Traverse City, MI – 2nd Floor

Click Here to Email all City Commissioners

A pre-gathering of neighbors and citizens is meeting at 8th and Fern at 5:30 for coffee, hot chocolate, friends, and then walking, riding or otherwise moving to the meeting. Details at Facebook Event http://bit.ly/dzB9av or Traverse Alive


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