Home > Editorial, Grand Visioning > Tonight’s City Commission Meeting & A Little Grand Vision Discussion

Tonight’s City Commission Meeting & A Little Grand Vision Discussion

UPDATE: Changed out the regional map for a graphic of the directional signage proposed for Hammond-Keystone connection and to hear  an interview about the  Grand Vision that aired on IPR, you may listen online or via the player at the bottom.


Mayor Chris Bzdok has an interesting read about the Grand Vision over at Plan for TC. Specifically, the role of the City in helping to create a more robust regional network that for a long time has focused on accentuating the Hammond Rd. to Keystone Rd. east-west connection. The idea, as I understand it, is that if the City can help facilitate traffic around Traverse City than that may relieve some of our traffic concerns (all above links to Plan for TC, agenda for tonight at the City’s website).

I’ve yet to see numbers that support this project as a focus and actually, the numbers I’ve repeatedly heard and also have never seen suggest that only 4-6% of automobiles that travel through Chums Corners actually make direct East-West trips through the City. The majority that do are making stops somewhere in the City and then moving through.

So, is this best focus for the City? Providing a better regional “grid” may reduce some pressures on our main arteries, this was even recommend during the Division St. charrete in 2010, but how to do so is still a mystery.

At the end of his post, the Mayor suggests:

“It may be time that the city shifted its focus and its internal resources to working directly on transportation solutions within its borders, and outside its borders through specific projects of mutual interest with our friends in the townships and the road commission. It may be time to move on.”

I suggest we can do this and still be engaged, if not pursue, the values expressed in the Grand Vision. Traverse City and Garfield Township are the main population centers and the primary exchange locations for the region. That suggests to me that how the two develop will largely influence how the region develops. If the City’s main issues are the negative impacts of motorized vehicles, perhaps we need to seriously consider not making the ease of mobility, and storage, for one type of transportation our primary concern. Let’s create a place that will attract people regardless of how they choose to get here.

Our goals shouldn’t be to provide for the way we have lived for the last 30 years, but how we want to live 30 years from now. In 30 years, I’d like to see Chum Corners have higher density and be a walkable community of its own instead of thoroughfare. It would be connected to the “big city” with an efficient transit, trail and park-and-ride system.

My vision is a community not obsessed with providing and building for “transportation,” but a community focused on creating a place that is resilient and enviable.


EDITOR’S EXTRA: I have complicated and mixed emotions concerning the Grand Vision. It has become so expansive and convoluted that to have one opinion is impossible. I want to support it while at the same time admit a severe lack of capacity and tools to see how. Yes, the Transportation-Land-Use Study was released, but it usefulness and accessibility for the average Joe and Jane who want to weigh-in on the discussion is certainly limited.

I recently spoke with IPR’s Peter Payette about the Grand Vision and more about this tension. The audio can be listened to online or via the player below.

(Grand Vision discussions starts at the 8:20 mark and is about 10 minutes long).

  1. Mike Grant
    May 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I think this is another interesting comment that the Mayor made on his blog (in quotes):

    “The city and Garfield both wrote to MDOT and the Road Commission suggesting that since finding an east-west mobility solution was the central object of the Grand Vision, and the solution had been identified, implementing that solution should be the #1 priority for implementing the Grand Vision. The city’s letter is here: http://planfortc.com/2010/10/07/letter-to-road-agencies-on-e-w-route-oct-7/

    MDOT responded that determining whether to functionally upgrade the Beitner-Keystone-Hammond-Three Mile corridor would require a detailed technical analysis and a long term public planning process to consider the views of all the stakeholders. Several of us asked, isn’t that what we just completed?”

    The traffic study was the only work product of any detail to result from the Grand Vision. Apparently, however, from the Mayor’s comments, it wasn’t sufficient for MDOT’s purposes. Also, I believe that one of the reasons that the City decided not to move forward with Boardman Lake Avenue was a lack of data on east/west traffic. This is the same Boardman Lake Avenue that was modeled, and endorsed by, the Grand Vision traffic study.

    So what kind of traffic study exactly did we buy as part of the Grand Visions? What was it supposed to be used for, as apparently it’s been found insufficient as a basis of decision making by two separate governmental units?

  2. james b
    May 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Suggesting that Chums Corners should be a dense, walkable, mixed-use area is the best part of the post, Gary. Right on!

    To me, a high priority would be ensuring that the corner will be developed properly in the next 20 years. I haven’t looked into the surrounding undeveloped area, but I’m sure part of it would involve purchasing development rights and transferring development rights.

    Since people are suggesting that the city is “built out,” let’s make it CC a residential, TOD-type center that is conveniently connected to the city. (I’d love to see a dedicated, right-of-way bus lane into TC to make it real TOD.)

    You can live there without a car, have basic needs met without a car, and it’s connected to Buckley, Interlochen, and TC via reliable and convient transit. The other future growth centers would be connected as well. Let’s focus on the right type of housing in the right areas, so we don’t have continued traffic “problems” in the future.

    We just have to buy the property first. Fundraiser? 🙂

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