Groundwork intern Alana Tartaro is new to Michigan and the Grand Traverse region. This summer, she’ll be stepping aboard as many buses as she can to travel the area and figure out how to get around without a car.
Traffic is a hot issue in Traverse City, yet much of the debate focuses on how to move traffic from one area to another, rather than ways to actually reduce it. Unless we give visitors and workers more options for getting around, congestion will increase.
Transportation costs in the Grand Traverse region are sky-high. In fact, the average family spends about $15,000 a year on transportation alone, according to the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
One of the benefits you’re offered on your first day as a Google employee in downtown Ann Arbor is a financial incentive to leave your car at home. Mary Sell told the audience at the Getting Transportation to Work Commuter Summit in Traverse City earlier this month that the company offers one of the best commuter incentive packages in the city.
Back in 2009, some of the bumpers on BATA buses in Traverse City were held together with duct tape. Today, the 75-strong BATA bus fleet is taking more commuters than ever before to and from their jobs. They did this by adding routes and providing services that “fit residents’ lifestyles,” according to BATA’s business development director. This caught the attention of Jeffrey Tumlin: It is fortunate “you have a transit operator that really gets it.”
As the clouds make way for the spring sun, a lot of people are dusting off their bike helmets and heading out to work on two wheels. A “modal shift” is going full-speed ahead around the state and here in Traverse City. And it’s more than a seasonal change-it’s a long-lasting shift. Just take a look around.