Ten years ago, if you showed up at Michigan’s top transportation agency and asked for someone in the passenger rail department, you’d be greeted with a strange look, and probably hear something like, “We don’t do that here. Try Amtrak.” But things have changed. These days, not only does MDOT have staff working on passenger rail, they have a whole office dedicated to improving train service. In fact, freight and passenger trains are one of the state’s top priorities.
Modern passenger rail service connecting Traverse City to Ann Arbor… it’s quite a vision. It would strengthen our regional economy and stimulate development along the route. It would take cars off the highways, with the environmental benefits of cleaner air and less fuel consumption. It would use an existing asset to offer a new transportation option for those of us who live in the Traverse City area and an appealing new way for visitors to come to our area. But what’s most exciting? It can be a reality, and it’s the Michigan Land Use Institute’s goal that within 10 years, regular passenger train service connects Traverse City and Ann Arbor.
Major improvements could be on the way for one of Traverse City’s busiest roads and one of the region’s greatest transportation challenges: Division Street. And right now, local residents can help shape its future.
Some major fixes to our local roads are on the way thanks to a state general fund surplus found earlier this year. The projects includes $500,000 for a Division Street study, $1 million to replace the aging Front Street bridge in downtown Traverse City, and money for street repairs in the villages of Kingsley and Fife Lake.
A quick Google Maps satellite image reveals the inefficiencies of one of the area’s busiest intersections.
The outcome of the recent local election signaled hope for many Traverse City families that improvements are possible along a dangerous thoroughfare that cuts through town.