Division Street options to be unveiled by March

Dec 9, 2014

Residents pore over maps of Division Street during an open house held at Munson Medical Center Tuesday.
Credit Aaron Selbig

The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to come up with three alternatives to fix Division Street in Traverse City. The department held an open house Tuesday night to gather input on what should be done to improve safety and efficiency on the busy road.

Planner Patty O’Donnell said MDOT received all kinds of feedback from the public.

“It’s not bicycle friendly; pedestrians can’t cross,” said O’Donnell. “We’ve also heard from the neighborhoods, ‘Do not do anything that will make the people come through our neighborhoods.’”

O’Donnell said it’s difficult to balance the needs of local residents with the fact that Division Street is a major highway. The street is a busy thoroughfare for vehicles but also sees lots of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Traverse City Commissioner Tim Werner thinks there might be ways to make Division Street more efficient for both cars and pedestrians.

“My hope is that there are experts out there and ways to make designs that can achieve that … both making it more accessible for people to cross as pedestrians but also keep traffic flowing efficiently along it,” said Werner.

MDOT says more than 400 accidents have occurred along the street over the last five years. O’Donnell said many of those accidents are due to people sideswiping other cars while trying to change lanes.

“Because people want to do the ‘Division shuffle’ around the … people turning left,” said O’Donnell. “It’s driver behavior that we have to try to manage, too.”

O’Donnell said MDOT plans to present its three “preferred” alternatives by March of next year.