TRAVERSE CITY — More than 90 city residents and business owners petitioned the city commission to slow traffic on Eighth Street this year.
Boardman Neighborhood residents Mike Coco and Bob Otwell initiated the petitions to address traffic concerns for a street that carries from 20,000 to 25,000 cars a day between Woodmere and Boardman avenues. The letter asks city commissioners to re-stripe the street from four lanes to two lanes plus a center left-hand turn lane.
“The problem I see is the vehicle traffic on Eighth Street is not serving the businesses or residents,” Coco said. “We have stop and go traffic, speeds up to 40 miles per hour. This street is the armpit of the city.”
Coco said they are not wed to their three-lane proposal but want the city to try it or one of the other options in the corridor improvement plan outside of maintaining four lanes. Another option for city includes keeping two lanes west bound, one lane east bound, and installing a median with left-hand turn lanes. The goal is to try out some of the alternatives before the city invests in reconstructing the street, tentatively scheduled for 2018.
Bill Nell’s family has operated Dino’s Pizza on Eighth Street since 1984 and he’s watched as his customers struggle to cross the street during lunch. Nell said he agrees something needs to be done that gets drivers going the same speed. He supports the reduction to three lanes.
“I would hope that it would help, but in the next breath I wonder if it will congest everything,” Nell said. “As long as we’ve been here you would think I would know what to do, but I don’t.
“But I know absolutely we need to do something,” Nell said.
Peter Brown moved his Old Mission Multigrain Bakery to Eighth Street three months ago. He said re-striping would help but the city also needs to fix the street.