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A Summer of Smart Commuting: Acme and the TART TrailPrint

Thriving Communities | July 24, 2013 | By Zoë McAlear

I’ve written about a couple of transportation connections in the area that connect the BATA bus system with the TART trail system and make smart commuting easier. In Glen Arbor, BATA provides access to the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and the new Bike-n-Ride program connects the BATA Suttons Bay route with the Leelanau Trail. But these are just two of the many options.

Over the weekend I explored another BATA route and how it also makes a connection with a TART trail. The Williamsburg route (route 14) travels east on US 31 with stops along East Grand Traverse Bay, in Acme, and at the Grand Traverse Resort, before turning on to M-72 to stop at the Turtle Creek Casino and Resort.

The bus can drop you off in Acme very near the eastern end of the TART trail, which you can jump on for 10.5 miles along the bay, back into Traverse City, and through downtown, to eventually connect with the Leelanau Trail.

This stretch of trail is beautiful as it follows the curve of the bay and rides through swampy areas with wooden boardwalks. Downtown, it reconnects with the bay and provides great access to the waterfront and Clinch Park. Like most of the TART trails, it’s flat and easily accessible to all levels of riders.

My only word of caution: There’s a section of trail as you approach Traverse City where there are road crossings without pedestrian signals that can leave you wondering when it’s safe to cross the street. It requires a bit of concentration and thought, but doesn’t ruin the trail.

It just shows that there is always potential for improvement to make all of the connecting systems more cohesive.  

Zoë McAlear is an intern at the Michigan Land Use Institute. She can be reached at zoe@mlui.org