Another round of discussion about Division St.

Next Tuesday (Monday is president’s day) the City Commission will consider a resolution of commitment concerning the street/road/highway called Division St. Their packet won’t be available until tomorrow. This is an excellent opportunity to remind the City and readers about the two set of recommendations for Traverse City’s Division Streetdeveloped over the last 2 and half years. (A search of posts related to Division St. will lead readers to more in depth coverage and commentary.)


It began with the hiring of URS Corporation who conducted a weeklong, well represented, public process to provide a plan that attempts to ameliorate the traffic and place issues in terms of context, safety, access and quality. Modern roundabouts were recommended and preliminary modeling was positive in showing automobiles would still be able to move smoothly trough the corridor. The promise is that it would also improve the other aspects of this part of the City.

After that plan stalled, a citizen committee was formed to make side treatment recommendations for the corridor. The intent of this process was to come-up with short-term improvements to the corridor that would move the City forward until a time when the intersections can be changed, which is a larger, messier process that must involve MDOT, potentially a vote on the use of parkland and, perhaps, some fairy dust. These citizen recommendations include streetscape recommendations, sidewalk placements and creating a definitive transition as people enter the City.

That committee’s objective statement is a clear statement of intent that came out of a large, diverse mix of interests:

To change the character of Division Street to create a City Street that is:

  • safer for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to share, travel along, and to cross
  • better fits the context of the city and its neighborhoods
  • unites the east and west sides of the street, and
  • creates the environment and driver behavior to insure that traffic speeds will be reduced to 30-mph. This must be a demonstrable requirement.

I certainly support any and all effort given to this project. We shall see where it goes.




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  1. February 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Obviously there are a lot of things to address here that influence Division street and this discussion. A couple that come to mind is, where is the Grand Vision with this? As they tackle the areas infrastructure for the future (I thought), shouldn’t they also be active in this project, or at least, their vision be involved with it?
    BATA is a whole other topic and influence. Certainly better routes with stops along division woud help both foot traffic and make traffic slow down (BATA tends to shy away from stops on busy streets if you haven’t noticed. Try to catch a bus along S. Airport or E. Front going out of town sometime).
    While I like the idea of circle drives at intersections, what intersections are we talking about?
    At least part of the answer here is to start encouraging other forms of transportation. BATA for as much good as they do are equally dysfunctional for the average commuter (whatever or whoever that might be). They appear to be finally catching on with how to run a public transit system but still appear a ways away and as of yet have not implemented any major changes. If less people drove and could save money and time by doing so, the trasportation situation could change dramatically.
    As a bicycle rider trying to commute in Traverse City and the surrounding area, I often take my life into my own hands. Again, try E. Front or S. Airport with a bicycle sometime, many parts of those streets do not even have sidewalks for pedestrians. An elder person on S. Airport trying to shop has to walk from store to store through snow drifts with perhaps one BATA stop between the Cherryland Mall and Cass Road. To say Traverse City is a town built for automobiles would be an understatement (and yes, bike paths are wonderful, but generally not for commuting).
    While Division street would seem to be a major prioity with its location and the many different forms of traffic that use it, their are many other places equally as dangerous. The entire infrastructure of transportation and how we live and do business, would appear to need to be addressed for the area. And as with many things in this country, the people doing the public transportion planning, are the ones still driving……

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