By Jaime DiMoff, edited by Martha Fedorowicz
Have you ever imagined the road you drive down everyday becoming something completely new and different? Imagine the Avenue, a week-long event hosted by the City of Lansing and the Capital Area Transportation Authority, gave the Lansing public a first-hand look at what a different Michigan Avenue could look like as a driver, pedestrian, or cyclist. During the event, temporary bike lanes between the curb and parking (protected bike lanes) were created to demonstrate how it would look and feel if the City were to use progressive urbanism techniques to make the 2000 block of Michigan more pedestrian and cyclist friendly. The event presented two new options for Michigan Avenue: The first keeps five lanes of traffic but removes parking on one side to allow room for a bike lane. The second option removes one travel lane in each direction so there are three car lanes, bike lanes on both sides of the street, and a row of parking.
The Imagine the Avenue event is part of a larger initiative called Shaping the Avenue which is an initiative to realize years of community visioning for the Avenue (Michigan and Grand River Avenues) by putting land use and street design regulations in place to support economic development, build upon community character, and improve comfort and safety for all modes of travel – cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, and transit users. “I think the approach is unique in that this is the first time I’m aware of that we’ve asked the public for input on what they’d like to see along a corridor and then implemented one of the options long before we even started the design,” said Andy Kilpatrick, the City of Lansing’s Public Service Director. “It’s also unique for a road agency to collaborate with a transit agency on a planning effort, and to look at an entire corridor that spans multiple jurisdictions.”
The City of Lansing seeks to engage the public in providing feedback on design plans and allow opportunities for residents to discuss and experience potential redevelopment plans. To continue with their community engagement around the proposed changes, the Department of Neighborhoods and Citizen Engagement will be hosting two Neighborhood Roundtables with Mayor Andy Schor on Thursday, August 30th at 6pm and Friday, August 31st at 8am at The Venue, 2010 E. Michigan Ave. During these Roundtables, residents will have the opportunity to share feedback and ask questions about the proposed plans.
The City of Lansing anticipates that Michigan Avenue, from Pennsylvania Avenue to west of US-127, will be reconstructed within five years—this includes sidewalks and street. Using input from the public as well as input received from the Imagine the Avenue survey, the City will decide how to move forward with the reconstruction project.
To learn more about the Shaping the Avenue initiative and take a survey about the proposed design plans click here.