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Everything posted by bwindi25

  1. The major areas we are looking at on the near northeast side are two places. 1. The current stairs down the bluff dump you onto Division Ave. Cars coming down Division come over the crest of hill about 100 yards from where people try to cross. It is a sprint across 4 lanes of traffic from one side to the other because of the blind spot and speed of the cars. 2. The corner of Plainfield/Division/Leonard (Choo Choo Grill Intersection) is really hairy for pedestrians. There are multiple angles of roads converging and the railroad tracks to contend with. You take your life into your own hands walking home from Graydon's Crossing with a couple Stellas in your stomach
  2. There are peak times on Michigan in regard to pedestrian use. 7am for one, is a very busy time. Also, I have never crossed the street at Coit/Michigan during the day by myself. There is always someone waiting to cross. I think we will regret not designing any street in Grand Rapids without a focus toward the pedestrian. There are multiple destination points up and down the hill that will get people walking & biking. Michigan will forever be a slow moving parking lot from now on, construction or no construction. People will get frustrated enough in traffic and parking that walking, public transit and biking will become a part of their daily commute.
  3. Zip Line! Getting down is never the problem, show me a creative (cost effective) solution to get back up the hill with as little effort and I will be impressed!
  4. If you want to learn more about the history and walkability in the Belknap area check out this presentation the group will be giving at the upcoming charrette. (much of the future development info gleaned from Urban Planet ) www.icograndrapids.com/MOBLNOBL.htm or if you live on the northeast side and want to join the effort, get updates at http://groups.myspace.com/northeastclub
  5. yeah, please don't take my comments as disrespect to you or your post. I love the pictures and appreciate the enthusiasm for downtown development. I just like offering a more neighborhood approach to some of these larger developments. Sometimes I think architects treat their buildings like they sit on a pedestal instead of on the floor surrounded by 20 other projects. Who is asking what the context is and how your project fits into its surroundings?
  6. Just putting in my two cents again regarding this project: 1) Where is concrete plan for pedestrian scale and retail as part of the development? 2) How does this project enhance or degrade the Plainfield/Leonard TOD in the Master Plan? 3) Why is the city going around communities to increase the width of Michigan and College overpasses? Sorry if this is redundant, but I don't want to get dazzled by the development and loose sight of the potential impact.
  7. Part of the study is to also expand College Ave overpass to 7 lanes and expand the onramps. What's critical for Belknap Lookout neighborhood is that Coit and College Overpasses and Lafayette Ave. Underpass are done in a way that remove barriers, not creates them. Here is what our award winning Master Plan says: Objective BT 4: Reduce the extent to which highways create barriers to movement between neighborhoods, business areas and the Grand River c) seek opportunities for improving street connectivity and pedestrian/bicycle access as highway improvements are planned, for example on I-196 The other interesting thing that the Master Plan highlights is that the intersection of Leonard, Division and Plainfield is a Transit Node. How does intense infrastructure investment in Michigan Ave and I-196 do to undermine this area's potential?
  8. Good bye old friend! We will replace you with a bigger, better ...... parking. Just a quick update on Michigan Street Bridge widening. After looking at traffic counts, < 30,000 trips, there is no justification for expanding the street. The evidence is showing that it will contribute to Michigan becoming a slowly moving parking lot. The RFP also has no questions regarding how the reconstruction will figure in non-motorized traffic. Basically, it just asks how a contractor will replace a sidewalk. I also talked with a member of Immanuel Lutheran church who said they actually bus kids over from the local elementary school (5 blocks away) for programming because they feel the Freeway crossing and Michigan are not safe.
  9. Thanks for posting the pics. It doesn't look like it. The Michigan and Coit faces appear to be setbacks, walls and car entries, not storefronts or entrances. Judging from what they did on the heart center, they will bury the food court inside the building. I haven't seen any plans or heard them speak about this. Belknap's community organizer claims that they have some plans for street level/open retail. I would love them to pull off the Amway Grand Starbucks idea and bring it right up to the street.
  10. If people would like to see what was submitted to the Planning Commission last May. Here's the link: www.ci.grand-rapids.mi.us/index.pl?binobjid=1862
  11. Exactly. I think some of the "why worry about 4 lanes or 6" is that they appear to be pushing it through. Six lanes can be done well, but a layer of stakeholders have not been engaged to determine what that might look like. I think they have said there will be some street level retail. But again, no one has seen what this might look like and it could be an empty statement if no one is holding them accountable. I've seen Spectrum pull off some last minute switch-a-roos in the past, so I may be a little cynical. There are obviously a lot of loopholes for a hospital, some of them very valid: emergency vehicles being one.
  12. If there is anyone on this forum that lives or works in Heritage Hill or Belknap Lookout that would like to stay connected to or work on some of these and other revitalization efforts on the hill, please send me a message. Maybe we can share a beer at Cambridge House and discuss plans of action.
  13. Thanks for the pictures. This is going to be my neighborhood view for the next 12+ months. The views of the VanAndel and Immanual Lutheran Church will probably now become views of the backs of parking structures. One of the "favorite" parts of my day is when cars come flying out of the parking garages on Coit and Michigan and almost hit pedestrians and bikers. I guess I can look forward to more of the same in the future.
  14. As a resident of a downtown neighborhood which was cut off from downtown when I-196 was put in 50 years ago, I urge anyone connected with the "street improvements" on the Medical Mile to take a deep breath before they put in 6 lanes of traffic. Not only are my neighborhood views of downtown becoming neighborhood views of parking garages, I now will have to cross a freeway and navigate 6 lanes of traffic to get anywhere. Oh, and by the way, I have to get somewhere because all my neighborhood businessess on Michigan (aside from Red Geranium: eat there while you can folks!) have been destroyed. As the rest of the nation is putting its roads on diets, encouraging safe pedestrian scale development, and funding public transit, the planners and developers of the Medical Mile are making it the most "unhealthy" place to visit. And apparently that Master Plan that we all participated in is just a coloring book with some pretty pictures in it. Plan the work and work the plan. sorry for the little rant here folks, but this just amazes me.
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