A brand-new Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners narrowly avoided a decision this week that would have put the key road crossing of the Boardman River at Cass Road out of commission while gambling on an elusive and expensive bypass to connect Hartman and Hammond roads.
The Traverse City Area Transportation and Land Use Study (TC-TALUS), the regional transportation planning agency, wants feedback on their draft long-range plan, which recommends how local agencies should spend scarce transportation dollars. While there are many bright spots in the plan, it assumes we can build our way out of traffic problems with new and wider roads. It fails to recognize the role that demand-side strategies-like parking management, reliable transit and safe bike networks-play in reducing traffic at the busiest times of the day.
Traffic problems take on new urgency during Traverse City’s busy season as too much congestion hampers business growth, wastes fuel, and hurts this area’s quality of life. But local leaders need to fix our existing transportation network first before pursuing an expensive, ill-conceived, short-term remedy like a new Hartman-Hammond bridge.