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GT Road Commission To Consider Complete StreetsPrint

Thriving Communities | August 21, 2013 | By James Bruckbauer

This photo of S. Aiport Road in Garfield Township was taken in 2004. The Blockbuster Video is long gone, but the unsafe crossings remain.

Tomorrow night, Grand Traverse County road officials could adopt a policy that would symbolize its commitment to improving roads, reducing traffic congestion, and helping people get around the region efficiently.

The Grand Traverse County Road Commission, which manages roads in townships within the county, will consider a resolution supporting ‘complete streets’ at its regular meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. Julie Clark from TART Trails will give a brief overview of complete streets and present the resolution.

If adopted, the agency will consider all travelers--cyclists, bus riders, pedestrians, and those with disabilities --when it plans, designs, improves, and constructs roads.

That doesn’t mean every road will include a bike lane or sidewalk. It means the road agency will consider these options and try to incorporate them wherever it’s appropriate and feasible.

It’s a way to ensure we’re designing roads for all travelers, not just motorists.

The policy reflects the the preference of county residents. At the end of last year a random sample survey conducted by Northwestern Michigan College revealed that many locals think investments in transportation should include trails, sidewalks and transit.

Earlier this year, we surveyed about 1,600 employees in the region. And of those surveyed, more than 40% said they drive alone to work because the lack of a convenient bike and transit network prevents them from walking, biking, or taking the bus.  They said they would consider driving less if the had more options.

Thus, by only designing roads for cars, we’re creating more traffic in the region than is necessary.

Put another way, when we provide more travel options for people, we will reduce the amount of traffic in and around Traverse City.

You can find a copy of the complete streets resolution on MyWheelsAreTurning.com.

To show your support for complete streets, consider attending the meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the road commission headquarters (1881 Lafranier Rd, Traverse City, MI 49696)

If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can send an email to Road Commission Manager Jim Cook at (jcook@gtcrc.org) and Road Commission Clerk Debra Hunt (dhunt@gtcrc.org).

Or contact the Board of Road Commissioners using the contact info on this site: http://www.gtcrc.org/Contact_Us.htm

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.