Division Street in Traverse City has long been considered one of the most dangerous roadways in the area. State transportation planners are working on a fix for the street. After collecting input from the public last year, the Michigan Department of Transportation plans to unveil several alternatives next month.
Locals in Traverse City have been calling for a re-design of Division Street for years. More than 25,000 vehicles pass along the trunk highway every day, often competing with pedestrians and bicyclists trying to cross it. State transportation officials say more than 400 accidents have occurred on Division Street over the last five years and improving safety is the number one priority.
“We’ve been hearing that for a decade or more," said City Commissioner Gary Howe, who sits on a committee that has been getting updates on the project from MDOT.
Howe is an advocate for pedestrians and bicyclists in the city. He says Division Street has become a problem for everyone.
“Even if you’re driving, Division Street is the most dangerous street in Traverse City,” he said.
Patty O’Donnell is the state planner in charge of the project. She says the consultants working on the plans heard loud and clear that locals want Division Street to be accommodating for both drivers and pedestrians. O’Donnell says the street is being examined intersection by intersection.
“The consultants then will lay out chosen alternatives for the whole roadway, towards the preferred alternative,” said O'Donnell.
The preferred alternative will be the state’s final plan for Division Street. It could include any combination of new traffic lights, turning lanes, medians or even roundabouts. The final plan is still a ways off – it’s expected to be unveiled later this summer, after the next round of public comment.