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Five Ways to Beat Traffic in Traverse City

New series of blog posts will explore ways to ease congestion

Choices | November 4, 2013 | By James Bruckbauer

About the Author

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.

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Traffic is a much-talked challenge facing Traverse City. To many, traffic congestion hampers business growth, angers tourists, and hurts neighborhoods. For others, congestion is a signal of a strong, thriving economy.

Either way you look at it, you can probably find a better use for your time than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Public officials must find ways to manage congestion, and manage it well.

Since most cars on our busiest roads are heading into Traverse City, not traveling through Traverse City to go somewhere else, we can focus on those trips first.

We also know we can’t build our way out of congestion. No city in the world has ever done this, and Traverse City will not be the first. We can, however, manage regional traffic and reduce in-town, peak-hour commuter traffic by following simple steps.

In order to alleviate congestion, our officials must:

1. Improve Division Street: Improve travel flow, intersections, and crossings;

2. Improve Grandview Parkway: Improve intersections and crossings;

3. Improve South Airport Road: Reduce driveways, improve traffic signals, add service drives, sidewalks, and better transit connections.

4. Manage the demand: Reduce traffic at the busiest times by making it easier for people to get around without a car;

5. Upgrade Keystone and Beitner roads: Use our existing roads to make it easier for cars and trucks to get around Traverse City.

These common-sense proposals have been on the table for years, and carry broad public support. Some are already in the works. We need to keep moving forward.

We’ll explore these proposals in detail in an upcoming blog post series titled Five Ways to Beat Traffic in TC. Stay tuned.

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.


3805 days ago, 6:21am | by John Schluter | Report Comment

Cheyenne had a huge problem. They built the airport in the middle of town and everything had to go around it. TC has several natural barriers, Boardman Lake, the bay are the worst.. Traffic from Interlochen is restricted to 1 lane all the way from the county line. Some days traffic will be 60 mph and other days 35 mph. Traffic City remains the worst traffic that I have seen.

3805 days ago, 6:51am | by ERIC WINKELMAN | Report Comment



3805 days ago, 2:37pm | by James Bruckbauer | Report Comment

Thanks for the comments.

Eric, I'll write about that in my next few posts.


3804 days ago, 7:45pm | by Chris Campbell | Report Comment

In this region, too many people want to enjoy urban amenities and rural living. That means long commutes and lots of cars, with most converging on urban TC. I've dealt with that by choosing to live in the city, and more recently to use that advantage by riding my bike to work year-round (studded tires, fenders, lights in the winter). My Dad grew up in Manistee at a time when people lived in the city and it had a fairly distinct transition to the rural farm areas. You could live in town and reach rural areas on foot or by bicycle quite easily. Now too many want to live in the country and drive everywhere. It's a bad pattern.

3749 days ago, 6:27pm | by Robert B Carroll | Report Comment

TCs problem is America's problem...and the developed world's problem.
For the last 100 years, most, if not all, the land use planning was focused on ONE issue: building more roads so we could build, and sell, more cars.
Time to DROP the arcane focus on moving CARS around and figure out how to move PEOPLE around. TC has made a good start, but that is all it is: a START.

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