Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 7, 2012

Voters appear to favor Division Street plan


TRAVERSE CITY — City voters appeared to favor a proposal to give the state and city the go-ahead to come up with plans to make dangerous, busy Division Street safer for drivers and pedestrians.

The unofficial tally at midnight, with just 30 percent of the vote reported, was 1,638 to 1,080 in favor of a tentative plan to hand over a strip of parkland to aid Division Street upgrades.

Results from three city's seven precincts and its absentee voters still had not been tallied.

A no vote would mean that Division would remain as it is.

Approval guarantees the city a chance to decide on a Michigan Department of Transportation plan when it is drawn up.

If the city someday approves a state plan, it will give up a six-block-long swath of parkland up to 30 feet wide that runs from Eighth Street south to 14th Street and includes two corners at the 11th Street intersection.

City voters interviewed Tuesday by the Record-Eagle had mixed feelings about the proposal.

Twelfth Street resident Jennifer Sowle voted yes, and said passage would create an opportunity for open dialogue on the street.

Thirteenth Street neighbors Judy Amon and Deb Valentine voted yes, saying something has to be done with the 11th Street intersection.

"I've almost been hit several times," Valentine said. "I would walk to work if it were safer to cross the road."

Paul Ellul, 44, a city police officer cast a no vote because he is not fond of roundabouts - discussed as a possibility for Division. "The preliminary drawings I saw showed a roundabout," he said.

Heather Johnson voted yes.

"I live on 11th Street and it's a terrible intersection. They need something, and I don't think they'll dig into nature too much," she said.

Corey Blackmer, a UPS driver, said he voted yes.

"I would love to see a roundabout there. I used to live in Colorado and they worked wonderfully. Most people are intimidated at first, but it slows cars down. You don't stop. And it's safer for pedestrians, too."