Grand Traverse Local Roads: First, Fix What’s Broken

March 6, 2019 |

Grand Traverse County residents have a chance to let the Grand Traverse County Road Commission know that now is the time to fix our existing East-West roads.

We’re pleased to learn that the Grand Traverse County Road Commission has extended through March 18th the public comment period for input on its new East-West Corridor Study. We strongly encourage Grand Traverse County residents to take the time to review the analysis of “Proposed Practical Solutions” that have been developed by the consultants to the road commission, and then provide your comments through the online survey. We at Groundwork have provided our analysis and comments below, as well as a brief overview of the long history of East-West Corridor traffic-flow debate.

You can review the maps of the corridor alternatives as part of the full presentation about the study here (scroll down for the maps) Open the maps, and study the alternatives before you attempt to complete the survey.

Groundwork has a long and extensive history with the east-west corridor crossing issue. Below is a brief summary of that history and a synopsis of Groundwork’s position regarding the road commission’s new alternatives:

History and Background:
Since our inception in 1995, Groundwork, formerly Michigan Land Use institute (MLUI), has been engaged in discussions about transportation mobility in and around Traverse City. Back in the ’90s the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) were proposing a traditional major highway bypass around Traverse City—the type of bypass that has caused disinvestment in downtowns across the nation, hollowing them out and leaving thousands of empty storefronts.

MLUI opposed the ’90s bypass and built a strong grassroots base of community opposition, which resulted in MDOT backing away from the project in 2001. However, the Grand Traverse County Road Commission continued to advance the idea of a new east-west corridor by proposing to connect two county roads—Hartman and Hammond—with a bridge over the Boardman River. MLUI and many citizens groups continued to object, pointing to the significant environmental damage to the Boardman River Valley and surrounding tributaries and the availability of several other mobility alternatives, by joining in a citizen lawsuit with partner groups that eventually halted the project in 2005.

Following the decision to halt the Hartman-Hammond Bridge, MLUI helped lead a community visioning process called The Grand Vision, which included a massive public input process. The Grand Vision engaged more than 12