Home > Complete Streets, Design the Details, Grand Visioning > Choices lead to happiness

Choices lead to happiness

Thank you

Well said


You have happier communities when they have choices. A bigger roadblock ..(to complete streets).. than funding is the willingness to commit.”

~ Wally Delamater, Village Manager of Suttons bay

During last week’s Connected Communities | Complete Streets discussion in Traverse City, Michigan. Wally has led the small village (Partnerships for Change) in planning connections for people on foot and bike to the Leelanau Trail, downtown businesses, and further north.


These two agree…



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  1. November 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

    What is needed here is the good old “paradigm shift”…. As I cycle and walk about town, being pushed and cut off by cars because “I’m in their way”, and because I’m a “second-class citizen” because I’m NOT driving and the motorists “ARE”….with the accompanying litany of curses emanating from these entitled motorists, I felt I had to have a polite reply to the countless dis-respectful drivers…..after all, we are all just people trying to get somewhere. And, since the cyclists and pedestrians are “getting somewhere” under their own sustainable power, where as the motorists are taking up way more of a footprint both in their car and where they park, THEY are the “handicapped”. I classify “handicapped” as “not having a choice”. Ask anyone in a wheelchair….they would LOVE to not be so encumbered with their powered wheelchair to “get somewhere”. They do NOT have a choice. So, motorists, if you don’t have a choice, because you don’t THINK you have a choice, then you ARE handicapped. Your motorized wheelchair (isn’t that what a car is?) gets you somewhere. But it’s not sustainable, takes up so much space, does NOT fit through a doorway, offices, stores, homes, schools, etc. So, you deserve my pity. Your un-elegant four thousand pound hauling machine exists to haul your 200 pound derriere about town. Meanwhile, I silently get somewhere, while YOU and your steel tank plug up the roads, the PUBLIC roads you don’t think I’m entitled to. Pathetic drivers KILL over 60,000 people every year. When was the last time you heard of a pedestrian or a cyclist killing someone? You murder, maim, pollute, take up too much space, and you have the nerve to think non-motorists are in your way? If you are not part of the solution, you ARE the problem. You cannot believe how foolish you sound when you complain of traffic problems and snarls. Get out of your car and the traffic vanishes to another dimension. No where in the Traverse City Charter does it state that Traverse City must be the “high speed conduit for motor vehicles”. Get over it. Twenty is plenty. Fifteen is better. Then, bikes and cars are moving the same speed. Mackinac Island manages to attract plenty of tourists spending large dollars, because there ARE NO CARS. Wake UP! Drivers, is your handicap worthy of non-motorists pity?

  2. Greg
    November 20, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Thought the title was “Choices lead to happiness”, sounds like one angry person. Don’t tell me what to do and I won’t tell you what to do, that is happiness and freedom to choose.

  3. Max Wolf
    November 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    John, wow, I understand your point but please reconsider the analogy you use to make it. A wheel chair is a mobility device not a jail cell. It allows someone *more* freedom of movement, not less. Some disabled people do drive because of the nature of their disability making it difficult for them to walk or bike, and for some walking/biking would be impossible. I totally understand your point about entitled motorists, but this analogy you’ve made feels really stigmatizing and icky. Please find another way to make your point without using disabled people as an example. Thanks.

  4. Bob Atallo
    November 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Plenty of people in GT County must drive. Us old folks, the disabled, those who live in the burbs because we can’t afford a house inside the TC limits, etc etc etc. Demonizing all drivers is unfair and unproductive. That said, all areas in GT county do need to do a better job of accommodating cyclists and pedestrians.

  5. November 21, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I agree. The townships should zone for more high-density, mixed-use areas where folks can both spend less on a place to live, as well as not have to rely on cars exclusively. “Mixed-use” (unless you’re talking about the apartment building that’s on the other end of the parking lot from the Home Depot), is pretty much non-existent in the townships. There’s maybe small slivers of it in East Bay and Garfield, and essentially none in Acme and Long Lake and the rest. And “high density” in the townships tends to mean rental apartments, because land is cheap and there’s not much demand for owner-occupied condos. And we only have to look at the multi-year fight to get some affordable housing in Long Lake to see how welcome apartments generally are in the townships.

    My point is that the City can’t be expected to have to just accommodate all of the car traffic generated from those who live in the townships (either by choice or by economic necessity). One of the main reasons that so many people end up driving into TC for work/shopping/entertainment is because the townships haven’t zoned and taxed their residents nearly as much as the City to make places of work/shopping/entertainment available without using a car. I’m not saying that this is necessarily the position that you’re taking, but complaints from people in the townships that they don’t have any option but to drive strike me generally as a bit hollow because the townships have, by and large, zoned and taxed themselves very little, precisely so as to not to have to provide services to their residents and not to provide areas where it is legal to build high-density, mixed-use developments. And so when people who moved out to the townships (again I’m not saying this is you) for the big lots and the low taxes then want to complain about how the City refuses to, for example, widen Division so that folks can keep drive fast across town to get to the high school or to the beach, I’m not really all that sympathetic. And building a bike lane out on South Long Lake road, while it’s a great recreational resource, doesn’t do much to change this equation.

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