by Gary Howe
I encourage everyone to drive down Barlow Street, from Carver to South Airport, and count the number of people waking dangerously on the side of the street. Each time I find myself on this street, I start counting the cringe worthy moments when someone is put into a dangerous situation because of the lack of infrastructure and design to address the urban context.
It is dangerous by design to have a high speed street without sidewalks, bike lanes, and nary a crosswalk within sight. This is on all of us. The recent death and countless injuries are on all of us for not addressing the needs of all along Barlow Street.
I urge all of us at the City, County Road Commission, and Township to find the political will to transform Barlow Street into a safe, comfortable, and inviting corridor. I’m afraid the rural solution of widen the roadway with wider shoulders is highly inadequate and will likely worsen the problem. Wider streets equal faster speeds, faster speeds equal a decrease in safety and even more unequal treatment for those on foot, wheelchair, or bike.
The City and the Road Commission have passed Complete Street resolutions. We have done so because streets designed for everyone create a better, more equal, and more prosperous community. Let’s find the will do what is right on Barlow Street.
Gary Howe is at a Traverse City Commissioner (Mayor Pro-tem), placemaking advocate, photographer extraordinaire, writer at A Strong Traverse City and beagle lover. You can follow him on twitter @GLHJR.
Recent Barlow Street stories:
A More Walkable Barlow Street by Tyler Bevier
Barlow Street Needs All of Our Voices by Laura Otwell
Please email the County Road Commission, Township Planning and Supervisor, and City planning, manager and commission if you agree that Barlow Street needs to be made safer for all people with sidewalks, crosswalks and, better lighting and bike lanes.
Passionate about a more walkable, bikable, livable Traverse City? Get involved with our pro walk/pro bike advocacy grupo HERE.