Home > Complete Streets > Walking audit of Traverse City’s LaFranier gets some press

Walking audit of Traverse City’s LaFranier gets some press

Thank you

And then South Airport just south of town — it’s just this ugly, five-lane, inaccessible corridor….

They didn’t think about people at all. It’s obvious. There’s no thought.

Pat Sullivan with the Northern Express tagged along on the walking audit of LaFranier Road. The article, No Place for Pedestrians, quotes me in a long ramble with the author, apparently getting me right when the morning coffee was kicking in full force; I could have stopped after the above. Well played, Pat. Well played.

Notes from the walking audit were sent to the County Road Commission and posted on the Connected Communities | Complete Streets page over at the Grand Vision.



  1. mikecgrant
    December 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Interesting article. For what it’s worth, and maybe it was discussed on the walk but just didn’t make it into the article, Garfield’s master plan does include what looks like a sub-area plan for LaFranier. See “Hammond/3 Mile Area Study” in the back of the master plan. And it shows there being trails/walks running interior to those properties along LaFranier some day, that would link up with a trail/walk running along Garfield as well as a trail along the RR ROW in the Boardman valley. Of course, how that might come to be remains to be seen. Unless they’ve been built out, there are tose big parcels still undeveloped towards LaFranier and Hammond, but the township has limited legal ability to require landowners to create trails as a condition of allowing a development. And where the money would come from to build/maintain the trails is the other question. Garfield could raise taxes on itself, of course.

  2. December 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Yes, Mike. The non-motorized plan for the corridor was discussed. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been followed by the County Commission, who just last year voted to allow the brand new County Health Department to be built without requiring a $100,000+/- sidewalk as part of the development. The $5.5 million building was paid for in part by a 25 year bond (interest rate of 3.43 percent) on $5 million.

    Perhaps if an across the board tax isn’t to the townships liking, they could experiment with a driveway tax. This is could be pro-rated with intensity and use and directly aimed at the box stores. Likely a non-starter for Michigan political apetite, but if they keep saying we’re broke, then they need to raise it somewhere. Someone needs to pay for the traffic mitigation generated by sprawl.

  3. mikecgrant
    December 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I missed that part of the township’s master plan in my quick look though, thanks. Suffice to say, I’m a little confused by Jon Nelson, who is a Garfield township planner, being quoted in the article as saying there is no plan for trails/sidewalks along LaFranier when evidently there is.

    Also, and as you may already know, counties in Michigan aren’t generally subject to Michigan zoning, unless the law has again changed since the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in 2008 in Herman v Berrien County. So it’s unlikely, had they wanted to, that the township could have forced the county to comply with township zoning (e.g. make building the sidewalk a condition of their land use permit), and thereby with township planning.

    Of course, one might ask why the county wouldn’t themselves choose to voluntarily comply with township zoning/planning. Especially given that township zoning/planning is generally reviewed by the county planning commission and supposed to be largely consistent with county planning. Why is it exactly we have a county planning department? I mean, I know they want to scrub every reference to climate change out of county plans but what else exactly do they do?

  4. mikecgrant
    December 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Oops, Jon already said all that. Sorry Jon.

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