TRAVERSE CITY — Crossing busy Division street may be a little easier for pedestrians and bikers come next year.
The Michigan Department of Transportation will construct a grassy median along Division from 11th Street to Griffin Street and will add turn lanes at 11th, 12th and 13th streets.
The public is invited to an open house from 3-7 p.m. June 18 at Kirkbride Hall to hear the details about the project from MDOT staff and have a chance to ask questions.
The measures aim to slow traffic and have worked in other areas where they've been installed, said James Lake, MDOT spokesperson.
"It gives pedestrians an opportunity to focus on one direction of traffic at one time and provide that safe refuge for crossing," Lake said.
The estimated cost of the MDOT-funded project is $620,000, Lake said.
MDOT in June is installing two signal lights at pedestrian crossings on Grandview Parkway. The pedestrian hybrid beacon lights, also known as Hawks, will be put up at Elmwood Avenue and Hall Street. The cost is about $100,000, Lake said.
The median and turn lane project is a result of several ideas from a series of public meetings held as part of the 2015 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) project for the Division Street corridor.
Raymond Minervini II lives south of 14th Street and bikes every day to his office in the Grand Traverse Commons. He avoids the 11th Street intersection and uses 12th, which is a little better, he said.
"There's not a safe way to cross, whether you're on bike or foot," Minervini said.
Minervini said some people who live in city neighborhoods will drive a block just to be able to walk the commons.
"It's not safe to hike or bike to the commons even if you live a block away," he said. "It's not the way a good community should accommodate bikers and pedestrians."
Minervini was involved with the PEL process and said next year's project is just a small portion of the work that was recommended along the corridor. He suspects cost may have a lot do with just doing one phase of the project.
People will have a chance to review and comment on the adverse affects to a city-owned trail and the Grand Traverse Commons Park, which is part of the Northern Michigan Asylum Historic District.
The turn lane being constructed requires about 20 feet of the trail to be realigned and will take some space away from the lands surrounding the former Traverse City State Hospital.
The former hospital grounds are historically significant because using fresh air and natural light to treat mental illness was a major medical advancement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
If you go:
What: Open House for discussion on turn lane, pedestrian median on Division Street.
Who: MDOT staff, open to public
When: 3-7 p.m., June 18
Where: Kirkbride Hall, 700 Cottageview Drive, No. 200