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Are we there yet? Traverse City’s 2013 Street Projects

…it is greatly appreciated.


Engage and Represent

A mother from Traverse City shared the following email she sent to the Planning Commission concerning the 2013 reconstruction of Washington St.:

I live on 700 block of Washington Street. Hope Street dead-ends into my driveway. I spend a great deal of time watching the traffic around F&M park. I have a young child who loves to play out front. Our city is safe, but Washington street is not. I have to watch him while he plays in our front yard or when he walks 20 feet from our yard to the park.

Here are a few observations of Washington Street for the planning commission.

  • The streets surrounding F&M park are dangerous.
  • Cars constantly speed down the street. They rarely go 25.
  • Washington is a really wide street. Yet, we aren’t allowed to park our cars overnight on it. One of the reasons cars zoom down Washington is because it’s too wide and open.*
  • 3 school buses load and unload children in my driveway.
  • There are not ANY safety measure to help the children travel to and from the bus stop.
  • We do not have crosswalks, bump outs, narrow streets, on-street parking, speed bumps or any other traffic calming measures.
  • F&M is a huge community park. It’s full of children playing every day of the year. Yet, we do not have crosswalks to access it?
  • The streets surrounding parks need to properly address the additional pedestrians (frequently children) traveling to and from the park. The streets surrounding parks should always have up-to-date safety measures.

Here are my questions:

  • Why are safety measures absent from a major park that serves as a hub for many Traverse City families?
  • How can we have so many school children traveling to this spot during the early morning commute with zero safety measures in place?
  • How are you going to change it?

Washington Street is supposed to be a safe street. I cannot imagine what the city would experience if a child gets injured here. Every week I see multiple close calls. Since starting this email I’ve heard 3 different parents yelling at their children to, “wait for me to cross”, “get away from the road”, and “wait, no, wait….come back here!”

Please feel free to contact me if you have specific questions or would like more feedback.

Thank you,


The City is requesting citizen feedback on all 2013 street projects before the planning commission reviews them on August 7.

The streets slated for attention are mostly small sections of low-volume streets. Western St., Fern S., Grove St., Cypress & Xavier are all now gravel and will be paved. Street projects also include some much-needed attention in the Orchard Heights Neighborhood, Wayne St. and the work around F&M Park in Boardman Neighborhood. These projects are funded with $1 million of general fund money as established through the infrastructure policy (PDF).

In the past 2 years citizen input has altered original designs, namely on Elmwood Ave. (narrowing for speed control, completing sidewalks), S. Barlow (adding sidewalks), and even Hannah St. (a sidewalk connection). The idea is to not only maintain status quo, but while streets are tore-up asking the question, “are there improvements that could be made while we are there?” I’m not sure we are there on some of these projects, but still need to find time to review them. Certainly, there are some detail improvements that would go a long way in high-traffic areas like Washington St.

What are you seeing in the proposed projects?

You can find emails to the planning commission, City planner and engineer here. The planning department feedback form is available online and asks three questions:

Street Name: ___________________________________

□ I support the project as proposed.

□ I support the project, but have some minor (or major) suggestions/comments: ____________________

□ I do not support the project as proposed. Comments: _______________________________________

Name: ______________________________
Address: ______________________________
Phone: ______________________________
Email: ______________________________

* For the record, Washington St. is 30 feet wide and Hope St. is a whopping 36 feet wide (a freaking landing strip).


  1. Me
    July 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Leave the streets wide and put in bike lanes.

  2. August 10, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Stop the assault on our city service people.. Stop the dismantling of City Fire.. Mr. Estes has created a huge void between the citizens of TC and the City Commission. We want our fire Department. Get off their backs.. Let the fireman’s picnic happen in the way we would like to see support of at F&M Park… and get fixing a street that you would not let city crews fix last year.

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