Home > Editorial, Representing > A Few Recommendations For Division Street’s Immediate Future

A Few Recommendations For Division Street’s Immediate Future

2011 sneak peek: If possible, MDOT anticipates improving crosswalks, some sidewalks and closing driveway entrances that aren't used. The stickies are ideas to be researched.

Division Street’s Immediate Future

The following is a consolidated list of suggested minimum design elements to help calm traffic for safety, context, accessibility and livability issues along the Division St. corridor. Fixing the intersections with modern roundabouts, or another as of yet surfaced option, is only in the preliminary stages. This list was completed with the imperative that the community can’t wait 10 (+/-) more years to begin addressing the corridor. We can start today with added improvements.

However, nothing on this list is impossible.

The list was shared with the City engineering department and northern Michigan MDOT. It was received with positive feedback and it’s my understanding that some of the items are under consideration for implementation both short-term and in the long-term; I don’t have clarity on what those plans entail.

The scope of MDOT’s 2011 preventive maintenance project is expected for public viewing in January. Obviously, I’d like to see as many of the following included with the full understanding that there are limited funds. Personally, I’d like to see part of the $1.7 Grand Vision/TALUS money be applied to Division St. in 2011, but the TALUS group has yet to work out their procedure to allocate the money.

If you support any or all of this list, please email City Manager Ben Bifoss–bbifoss@traversecitymi.gov and Mayor Chris Bzdok–chrisbzdok@gmail.com and let them know of your support for doing something, anything, sooner than later to ameliorate Division St., while at the same time pursuing a larger fix, such as the proposed roundabout design.

* Click the link for a PDF of the following list.

Brainstorming Improvements for 2011 & Beyond For Division St.

1. MDOT Rights-of-Way:
  1. Lane widths:
    • Narrow as possible. Consider inconsistent lane widths to give sense of lateral shifts.
    • Use of fog line to move cars away from curb.
  2. Crosswalks: Improved crosswalk markings at 14th, 11th and/or 10th, 7th, Front St., Randolph and Grandview.  Thermo-plastic zebra striping is recommended.
  3. Crosswalks location: Crosswalks at14th and Front St. need to be set back from moving traffic.
    • Front St. has stop bars set back considerably from the intersection, yet the crosswalks are all directly next to the moving traffic.
    • Hawk Crossing at 11th or 10th or other location?
  4. Ped Signals: Dual automatic & user activated countdown pedestrian signals at all signalized intersections.
  5. Caution warning: Flashing yellow beacon at 11th.
  6. Lighting:
    • Improved intersection lighting at key intersections (11th, 7th).
    • Pedestrian lighting along entire corridor.
  7. Entry: Use northbound approach to Division (south of 14th) as a transition zone to allow drivers a sense of the change in use before they get there.
2. City’s Rights-of-Way:
  1. Sidewalk completion: East side gaps (North and South).
  2. Lighting: Pedestrian-Scale Lighting length of corridor.
  3. Street trees and landscaping: West side from 14th to 7th, but also between Randolph and Bay St. on the East side. As close to road as possible. Traverse City “the beautiful city”.  Deciduous trees that will develop canopy is required, as opposed to conifers.
  4. Street furniture: Add benches along the sidewalk at 10th (It’s a park!)
  5. Parking: Add a parking area on Division, west side across from 9th St. with a curb bump out.
  6. Banners: Entry banners across road (“Welcome to Traverse City: Walkable neighborhoods & Parks. Please slow down” or some other emotional signage) at Griffin and possibly near Randolph.
  7. Banners 2: Banners on light poles, as throughout DDA  area and similar to what Interlochen does as you approach the school.
  8. Restrictions: “No Left turns” at 11th st., Bay St. and, possibly, Randolph St. (could be seasonal or just during rush hours)
  9. Enforcement: Increased patrolling for speeds.
  10. Way-finding: Improved way-finding to points of interest along corridor.
  11. Enhanced Crosswalks: Crosswalks on the main east-west roads is needed. Example, Randolph, Bay, 11th.
  12. Signals: Change metered left turns off of Front.  (These aren’t compatible with Complete Streets as bikes cannot set the triggers.)


3. Other Recommendations:
  1. Lighting: Lighting along 11th St. leading into commons, including lights on the pyramid and/or a ‘monument’ of a sign identifying the park.
  2. New Pathways: The Common Lawn, next to Division, north of 11th. A landscaped space with new trees and two lighted mixed-use pathways. One replacing the current sidewalk and another leading away from the current sidewalk (near 10th and/or 8 1/2)  and meandering through what’s now a lawn to 11th St.
  3. Entry: Design US-31 south of 14th Street to slow traffic before it enters the corridor.
  4. Street art/furniture: For example, statues on each side of road feigning a pedestrian preparing to cross the road…[mom pushing a baby carriage / person in a wheelchair / person with cane]
  5. Islands: Short boulevard entry on west side of 11th
  6. School Zone: “Safe passage” recommendations for school zone??
  7. Neighborhood Calming: A Central Neighborhood traffic calming plan needs to be adopted and implemented ASAP. A focus on the cross-sections and intersections closest to Division needs is a priority.
  8. Placemaking:
    • Beautification project of property between Randolph and Bay St. (Behind Elks Club).
    • Beautification project where Kids Creek crosses under the road. Example, construction of bulb outs over the creek.
    • Beautification project of Veteran’s Memorial Park.
4. Educational Endeavors:
  1. Driving Habit awareness campaign: Bumper stickers, shirts etc with sharp messages to get drivers thinking about people and neighborhoods when driving, such as “Neighbors Drive Slower: or something like that, but better. Also, start with this campaign to build toward the ‘Vote for Roundabouts’ campaign
  2. Entrance: Monumental “Welcome to Traverse City” sign at Division and 14th
  3. Speeding: Permanent vehicle activated speed signs, which react with a message if they detect a speeding vehicle
  4. Calming Education: Signs for influencing driver behavior: rather than “Deaf Child in Area”, say things like “276 Small Children in Area” or “Only You Can Calm Traffic”. Digital sign could change and a public submittable program could be used to generate ideas.
  5. Applied to Everywhere: Education of police officers on pedestrian and bicycling issues.

It is recommended that partners be sought for some of the larger projects. For example, the development of the commons lawn (3.3 below) could include a partnership between Traverse City Parks and Recreation, TART, TCLP, The Village at the Grand Traverse Commons and Munson Medical Center.

As noted, this is not comprehensive, but it is extensive. If you like what you see on this list, please send the list and an explanation of your support to the city manager and the mayor. You’re encouraged to generate your own ideas (please share them with us here).

Email your support to: City Manager Ben Bifoss–bbifoss@traversecitymi.gov and Mayor Chris Bzdok–chrisbzdok@gmail.com

My Email this morning:

I wanted to check in on the process for the Division St. re-design. The modeling we witnessed 3 weeks ago showed that any number of roundabout schemes would move traffic without significant change from what we have now. It’s my understanding that many of the schemes actually improve motorized traffic flow, as was predicted. I’m wondering what is the city’s next steps and how citizens can support that process. How will the other concerns of the corridor that are not addressed in the modeling be considered? Who is the lead for this project?

Also, attached is a list of recommendations that was created out of a stakeholders group interested in seeing the Division St. re-design aggressively pursued. This list was generated out of the imperative that any major improvements, like roundabouts, are several years away. In the meantime there are improvements we can make, many of which could be improved in collaboration with the 2011 preventive maintenance of Division St. by MDOT. The list has been shared with city engineering and MDOT, and it’s my understand that some of the recommendations are being considered. I support any and all of the items be done as soon as possible. The sooner we know the city’s plan the better we, the citizens, can support the effort.

I’ve also attached a diagram from the Project for Public Spaces that I believe is relevant to keep in mind and use as we go ahead.

Thank you for your time and your service.

Warm regards,

Gary Howe
Traverse City, MI

P.S. Being supportive of the modern roundabout as a traffic tool, and knowing that the City was advised to consider a less controversial location than a main corridor, I’ve created a map of logical first locations. My initial favorites on this list include Front/Madison, Front/Hall and Peninsula Drive/M-37. You can view the map at http://bit.ly/etbXWC


NOTE: Photos Taken during the Division Street Observational Walk initiated by MyWHaT.


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  1. Matt Ross
    November 30, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Great ideas! I Think the idea of a banner or entry way into the city stating T.C is a walkable and bike friendly community as well as other changes would help define that area and change driving behavior.

  2. Raymond Minervini II
    December 2, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Good stuff. Thanks for posting.

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