TRAVERSE CITY — Two blocks of Front Street in downtown Traverse City are now pedestrian-only, and the city Downtown Development Authority is formally kicking off the change with pie and other goodies.

Grand Traverse Pie Company and Cherry Republic will give away free slices of cherry pie and other gifts to the first 100 people starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, according to a release. They’ll be at the Front and Park streets intersection.

The two blocks between Park and Union streets will be closed to vehicles until Labor Day, as previously reported.

The idea has been raised in the past, but COVID-19 forcing many businesses to temporarily shutter prompted the DDA to try it after gathering input, according to the release. Restaurants will be able to offer more outdoor seating, and DDA CEO Jean Derenzy said it’ll also allow more pedestrians to circulate more safely, according to the release.

Electronic gates at block ends let emergency vehicles in and out, and a 20-foot-wide emergency lane’s been marked with a street mural painted in collaboration with Up North Pride, according to a separate release.

Traffic on two parallel blocks of State Street has been two-way since June 19, and more accessible parking spaces have been added to Cass, Park and Union streets to make up for lost spots, according to the release. Half-hour delivery parking spots were added as well, and nearby public parking lots now have a four-hour limit, up from two.

 

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