Traverse City Record-Eagle

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September 11, 2013

TC's dividing street remains Division

TRAVERSE CITY — The street that divides the city’s east and west sides will retain its Division Street name.

City commissioners rejected a proposal from fellow Commissioner Jim Carruthers to give the section of state highway what he termed a more positive, less divisive name. He proposed Water Street.

Some commissioners said they might reconsider when, and if, the Michigan Department of Transportation decides to do a major makeover for the corridor in four or five years. City officials asked MDOT last year to look at slowing traffic and making the road more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly without diminishing its ability to move traffic.

Commissioner Mike Gillman characterized the proposal as a waste of time, an unneccessary cost to Division Street residents, and an embarrassment to the commission.

“I’m kind of tired of the commission being a punch line for local radio hosts and citizens on the street for this idea,” Gillman said. “We’ve got better things to do than change a name of a street.”

Carruthers said he has been vilified in anonymous comments posted on media web pages, but the issue didn’t draw any citizen residents to Monday’s city commission meeting.

Linda Rasmussen of Peninsula Township came to the meeting for a separate issue but spoke in favor of renaming the street.

“It absolutely divided the town; there was the west side and there was the east side,” Rasmussen said. “It just has made this real funny feeling for the town that there is a dividing line, and it is at Division Street.”

Commissioners other than Carruthers didn’t agree the road divides the town and showed no interest in changing a street name, citing concerns it might open up the commission to other street-renaming requests.

“This will mean it’s Division Street for the rest of time,” Carruthers said.



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