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If you want to learn more about the history and walkability in the Belknap area check out this presentation the group will be giving at the upcoming charrette. (much of the future development info gleaned from Urban Planet :D ) www.icograndrapids.com/MOBLNOBL.htm or if you live on the northeast side and want to join the effort, get updates at http://groups.myspace.com/northeastclub

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Invites have gone out :whistling:

Great stuff Steve!

On the same topic of walkability, I've noticed a couple of areas that really need improvements as far as how pedestrian crossings are handled:

Monroe Ave North - In front of Brass Works Building and the Boardwalk. A lot of pedestrian crossings and NO caution signs, marked streets, demarkated pedestrian crossing areas of any sort. Someone's going to get tagged. At least there's an island in the middle.


Fulton Street near Eberhard Center - I watch as many people cross from the GVSU lot to the riverwalk area on the East side of Eberhard Center, and there are NO markings, no caution signs, no refuge island in the middle, nothing. Even though the "path of least resistance" for pedestrians is right across Fulton at the spot (or walk up a 1/2 block on Fulton to the light and walk back)


I watch many people run for their lives across these streets, since the traffic lights are nowhere near these areas and there is not crossing signal.

Anyone think of any other areas like this?

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Anyone think of any other areas like this?

The major areas we are looking at on the near northeast side are two places. 1. The current stairs down the bluff dump you onto Division Ave. Cars coming down Division come over the crest of hill about 100 yards from where people try to cross. It is a sprint across 4 lanes of traffic from one side to the other because of the blind spot and speed of the cars. 2. The corner of Plainfield/Division/Leonard (Choo Choo Grill Intersection) is really hairy for pedestrians. There are multiple angles of roads converging and the railroad tracks to contend with. You take your life into your own hands walking home from Graydon's Crossing with a couple Stellas in your stomach :D

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Belknap Lookout group hopes to boost "walkability"

It's interesting that over 12% of Belknap residents walk to work downtown.

Other Belknap Stats:

-7.4% of residents travel to work by public transport (2000)

(grand rapids = 2.4%, kent county = 1.1%)

-18.5% of residents are employed in personal care/service occupation

(kent county 13.3%) (2000)

-27.3% of residents are employed in production occupations (2000)

(kent county 20.7%)

-Total Population = 4,234 people (US Census 2000)

-Race: 52.9% white, 23.2% black, 15.6% hispanic or latino (2000)

-Age: 32% of population is under 18 -and- 7% of population is over 65

(kent county = 25% -&- 10%) (2000)

-Average amount of mortgage loans for home purchases in the neighborhood = $100,872 (2003)

-62.5% of households have moved into their housing units since 1995 (2003)

Some other stats about why multiple modes of transit besides cars are important to people and neighborhoods:

-77% of new economy companies rate access to mass public transit as an extremely important factor in deciding where to locate, according to a recent survey conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle, a worldwide real estate and financial management firm.

-Absent a change in current development trends, Grand Rapids residents can expect their average travel time to double by the year 2015, according to the March 1998 Long Range Public Transportation Plan prepared by the Grand Valley Metro Council.

-Freeway congestion will increase 1000% by 2015 under current development patterns, according to a 1996 report prepared by the Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority.

-Roughly 47,000 people a year are killed in auto accidents, including 5,000,000 injuries and 1,800,000 of those disabling. The same study quantifies the cost of all accidents at $358 billion dollars annually.

-The average car costs its owner $6,100 a year to keep on the road.

-The United States spends nearly $200 million a day constructing, improving and rehabilitating streets and roads.

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Last time I was out exploring DT and climbed those stairs to see what was at the top, I think I spent about 4 minutes waiting to cross both times. Especially with that area just west of Division getting rennovation, I agree that's an important area to work on. As for Plainfield/Leonard.. never been a pedestrian there but I can see how there would be difficulty

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  • 2 weeks later...

State wants more pavement on Health Hill - but some Grand Rapids leaders have other ideas - Michigan Land Use Institute Article

Local communities will benefit from transportation system improvements, and our state will benefit from the significant economic impact of the more than 11,000 jobs supported by these projects."

But city staffers say the project also is a crucial test of the state's ability to design transportation infrastructure that fits into an urban context and enables people, goods, and services to travel safely and efficiently in a variety of ways, including by car, foot, bike, bus, or streetcar.

It sounds like the City may be standing up to MDOT, despite the enormous pressure to get things rolling quickly. MDOT plans to unveil plans for the reconstruction of Division and Michigan, the proposed added interchanges, and the widening of I-196/I-96 later this Summer.

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How can they widen 196? Theres not much from from Fuller to DT. Adding a lane will make 30 ft. verticle walls on either side. Maybe they can open some store fronts on it, haha.

These are the plans for the eventual widening, interchange alterations and realignment of I-196 near the Beltline to clean up that interchange:

I-196 at Ottawa/Ionia with a proposed offramp serving North Division, closing of Ionia North of I-196 and highway widening (I count 3 and 4 lanes going in each direction):


I-196 near Fuller, with widenings and added merge/weave lanes (I count 3 and 4 lanes going in each direction)


The new interchange at I-196/96/Beltline (M-44), separating traffic depending on destinations. I count 4 and 5 lanes in each direction in some areas:


Beltline is also proposed to widen to 6 lanes going North to at least Knapp. All of this is proposed and not finalized yet. You can find the entire report at MDOT's site. In some of those pictures, I keep thinking how great it would be to add a transit rail to the existing GR Eastern railroad line, that could have a "park-n-ride" lot at the East Beltline and serve downtown.

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Please expound on the "PROPOSED OFFICE TOWER" in the first graphic.

Not my handiwork Rizz. I have no idea. I think a local developer (?) may have owned that lot and were proposing to build an office building 5 or 6 years ago, but I'm pretty sure the County owns it now.

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Not my handiwork Rizz. I have no idea. I think a local developer (?) may have owned that lot and were proposing to build an office building 5 or 6 years ago, but I'm pretty sure the County owns it now.

Wasn't is Joe Moch? I thought he had some "big out of town client" all lined up. It never amounted to anything. At least Icon is going up. :)

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That was the very first thing I notised... the proposed office tower. Curious, very very curious.

The expansion doesn't look like it will be too bad. I was originally thinking that buildings would be razed for an extra lane of automobile pollution (not just air here, cultural and visual pollution.) But it looks like it's only taking up land which is mostly unused anyways. Although I do worry about pedestrian traffic at Division just north of 196. It's bad enough already, and now they want to add an offramp going right through there. You know people are going to maintain their 75MPH right through there, 55 at the least. It looks like the offramp will also completely kill the one stairway up the hill that's still usable. That whole intersection needs to be rethinked.

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