Five Ways To Beat Traffic in TC: Manage the Demand
More transportation options will relieve congestion
Choices | January 15, 2014 | By James Bruckbauer
About the Author
- Pete Farmer: Nice to read about the big picture of music around here. I am sure the scene will only get bigger as TC grows. We plan on helping in our own little way with a small venue at our workshop. All procee...
- Pat Weber: The music tradition in Traverse City begins in its schools- the feeder system as it were. Traverse City Area Public Schools has had a long and rich music legacy in both vocal and instrumental instruct...
- Mario: Great article Hans Well written and an important message....
- Cory Johnston: Your reasons to vote NO are reason enough for me. This is 1960's mentality being used to fix 2015 and beyond problems. While mentioned, is there any guarantee that alternatives to one driver/one car w...
- Gerald Wilgus: Much of this is disingenuous rationalization in support of a "lesser of two evils" argument. This is how privatizing profit and socializing risk is maintained. We all agree that transportation inf...
|Summertime congestion on South Airport Road in Traverse City.|
Traffic is a hot issue in Traverse City, especially when summer rolls around and visitors flock to the area from all over the county. It’s a top issue among neighborhood groups, elected officials, and everyday commuters. Too much traffic hurts our quality of life.
Yet much of the debate focuses on how to move traffic from one area to another, rather than ways to actually reduce it. Unless we give visitors and workers more options for getting around, congestion will increase.
Since most cars on our busiest roads are heading into Traverse City, not trying to get around it, local leaders should focus on reducing the number of cross-town and commuter car trips.
If just an additional 10% of Grand Traverse area workers carpooled, bused, biked or walked to work, at least 5,000 cars would be taken off local roads. That’s roughly one-fourth the number of cars that drive on Division Street each day in both directions.
Despite the great strides we’ve made creating safer bike routes and improving public transit, locally we’re only scratching the surface in providing reliable, convenient options for commuters and building things close enough together so people can walk or bike to work.
In fact, one of Traverse City’s largest employers recently found out that more than 170 employees live within about five miles of each other in another county—and nearly every one of them drives to work alone.
When we surveyed more than 1,500 local employees last year, we found that many workers want more transportation options like transit, biking, and walking, but they felt that those options aren’t available, and if they are, they aren’t convenient.
So how do we reduce the amount of cars on the road and still grow?
· Encourage developers to build more housing, services, and retail close together in neighborhoods so people don’t have to drive across town to meet their basic needs.
· Improve express bus service between Traverse City and surrounding cities and villages, regardless of county lines, so local workers can take a bus to work.
· Charge the right price for parking. The price of parking should be based on supply and demand so that spaces are available for those who want them.
· Encourage employees to “smart commute” by offering free bus passes or paying employees to bike to work.
· Explore community-wide bike-share and car-share programs so area workers can still run errands and leave their car at home.
· Prioritize bus riders, cyclists, and pedestrians when improving local streets. (More people will bike when it’s safer.)
Reducing the demand for driving is just one part of a set of strategies to reduce congestion in the Traverse City area, including improving Division, Grandview Parkway, and South Airport roads, and upgrading Keystone and Beitner roads.
MLUI launched a new program called Local Motion, which is dedicated to helping commuters carpool, bus, bike and walk to work. On Feb. 24, join the Local Motion team for an event called Buses Without Borders at the Hagerty Center. We’ll discuss the best ways to improve transit service across county lines.
1190 days ago, 2:28pm | by Chris Bazzett | Report Comment
One other way to encourage less traffic that no one seems to talk about is encouraging businesses like Hagarty to create their satellite offices closer to where their employees actually live.
1189 days ago, 9:56pm | by James Bruckbauer | Report Comment
Good to hear from you, Chris! That is one way to encourage less traffic.
We're talking to local employers about offering an incentive to employees that choose to live closer to work. It's the reverse of what you described, but it's the same idea.
Thanks for the comment!
1184 days ago, 1:20pm | by betty mulderano | Report Comment
hip smart park and ride
1184 days ago, 1:27pm | by betty mulderano | Report Comment
create bike routes city-wide by limiting vehicles to" local traffic only" on existing sleepy residential streets