Division Avenue’s “Road-Diet” Should Aid Downtown
I agree with Chuck. Grand Rapids is a heck-of-a-nice place to live. I’ve lived here almost my entire life and I’ve seen our town morph into a very beautiful, modern city. Most of the changes made downtown have turned out to be good ideas…with the exception of the pedestrian friendly Monroe Mall, which contributed to the death of retail in the center city. Years later when the city reopened the street for car traffic and it became a mixed used area it added “life” back to Grand Rapids main street. Now the city of Grand Rapids and MDOT are going to put Division Avenue downtown on a “road diet”. The thoroughfare will go from five traffic lanes down to three (including a turn lane), with additional street parking and more room for bicyclists with a “shared use” lane. The one year trial period would squeeze the road between Wealthy Street and the Gerald R. Ford Freeway underpass near Michigan State University’s Secchia Center.
The goals of the road diet include slowing traffic, improving safety, encouraging pedestrian traffic and making parking more convenient for stores south of Fulton Street.
“We’re hoping this is going to bring people back into the community, bring more people back into these businesses,” said Jay Fowler, executive director of the city’s Downtown Development Authority.
After years of decline, Division Avenue is coming back in a big way. Once known as the gateway to downtown, it’s again a vibrant area full of eclectic shops and eateries. The so-called “road-diet” will help the recovery. You don’t realize how nice Grand Rapids is until you visit other cities. But the one thing we lack that bigger cities seem to have is pedestrian traffic in the heart of the city. The road diet should bring more people to the heart of the city.