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 12,000 people during a two-year process and resulted in a far-reaching vision that extended beyond transportation by recognizing that major public investments in transportation need to support other land use and community investment strategies.