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Medical Mile/Michigan Street Developments

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The Children's Hopsital is slated to begin after the construction of the Cancer Center. This has always been the plan. Spectrum has a policy of one project on the hill at a time to reduce congestion.

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The Children's Hopsital is slated to begin after the construction of the Cancer Center.  This has always been the plan.  Spectrum has a policy of one project on the hill at a time to reduce congestion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Cancer Center will start first but they will both be under construction at the same time.

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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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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.

Hopefully someone here will get the message, bwindi. I noticed that they have obliterated the sidewalk on the North side of Michigan in front of the Cancer Center (was that necessary?). I got some photos today of the work going on, and I was not ready for the massive excavation going on. That entire hill is coming down from Coit to Division:

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Boy the 70's section of Butterworth Hospital is UGLY :sick:

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And apparently the current Towers Medical Building Ramp's days are numbered. They have it completely closed and it was teaming with demolition goons (I would guess) today:

E10EB8802EA911DA99204AFC18F73B1D.jpg

Edited by GRDadof3

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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.

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We have yet to see a real honest to goodness detailed drawing of this medical/research complex (besides the cancer center). URS is designing it right? They are really wasting no time in taking out that side of that hill!

The DeVos and Van Andel families mean business when they announce a project, i.e., Medical/Research Complex and Marriott!

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We have yet to see a real honest to goodness detailed drawing of this medical/research complex (besides the cancer center). URS is designing it right? They are really wasting no time in taking out that side of that hill!

The DeVos and Van Andel families mean business when they announce a project, i.e., Medical/Research Complex and Marriott!

URS and Christman are being very tight-fisted when it comes to this. I hear there may be a hotel as part of this project? I can't find any renderings on-line other than the ones that WOODTV8 had to SCAN :P

The only thing I can tell is that in addition the Cancer Center (which we do have a rendering of), there will be three towers, similar in style to the Meijer Heart Center, sort of in the shape of an upside down "U" (looking down with North at the top), with some sort of open plaza in the middle facing Michigan. Clear as mud?

Edited by GRDadof3

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Perhaps most disturbing about the proposed widening of Michigan Street at the bridge over Division is the following three points:

1) Both the city and MDOT failed to notify the Neighbors of Belknap Hill, the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association, or the Immanuel Church (which sits right beside the bridge) of the proposed widening project. Most learned about it in the GRP. This is no way to follow up a Master Plan process that was a model of public participation.

2) By most accounts, the city and MDOT plan to study HOW TO WIDEN Michigan Street. Not research ways to calm and improve the traffic flow, enhance pedestrian safety, and add to community character. They've already decided what they want to do (6 lanes, without public consultation) and are conducting a study to justify it.

3) The city also is organizing a SmartZone Authority to improve streetscape design along Michigan Street and, by extension, the Hill's ability to attract new business. (The SmartZone runs along MI from College to Division.) But the proposal to widen Michigan appears to be out in front of this more public process. And adding capacity to the MI/College interesection also appears to be part of the plan. Once built, these projects will basically set the tone for any effort to bring a sense of safety and comfort for walkers, bikers, transit riders, and others not in cars.

Health Hill could be a model for urban revival and restoration. It could become a human-scale, walkable commerce center adjacent to two unique neighborhoods that provides convenient, affordable mobility and accessibility for all. Unfortunately, the traditional road-dominated development ethic continues to thrive in this important piece of our city's redevelopment. As the traffic snarls grow thicker, ultimately what's at stake is our quality of life, the health of our environment, and strength of the local economy for all of downtown.

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I think that hoping someone will pick up on this here on the forum is futile. I would think a meeting between Joe Hooker of Christman, Dennis Kent of MDOT, the City Commission, Belknap and Heritage Hill Associations is in order. The commission had to give their approval for the study, yet it doesn't sound like any notice was given to the area residents before that Tuesday August 30th meeting. OY!!!!

Edited by GRDadof3

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We were just discussing at PWCD that Michigan Street needs some users other than Medical between the current hospital and College. There needs to be some nice mixed use residential and buildings with ground-floor retail to bring back some of the neighborhood businesses that have been pushed out, or there will be increased traffic congestion from SINGLE USE businesses. Six lane Michigan Street Expwy for basically two peak times?!!!

My $.02.

BTW: bwindi and hilltopper, if you have seen someone in the neighborhood taking photos, I am not a greedy developer looking to rip anything down. Just out of appreciation ;-)

Edited by GRDadof3

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It would be great if they could add some street level restaurants, stores, etc., to this medical complex. Their certainly will be a large pool of employees and visitors in that three block area to support it, not to mention the folks who live in HH and BL. Extra profits from rent wouldn

Edited by mpchicago

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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.

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Why worry about 4 lanes or 6? As long as the michigan remains walkable what is the concern exactly? I imagine that around rush hour without a couple extra lanes the street could get pretty backed up, which could be bad for the emergecy vehicles entering and exiting the hospital.

The part that bothers me about all this is that street level retail is left out of the mix. Why would you do this? Retailers normally pay extra for lots of traffic and in this instance we know all the traffic will actually be stuck in all the buildings on the block. I dont know why the developer doesnt see it this way; it should be an opportunity for Christman and RDV to increase profits as well.

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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.

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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

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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

Awesome bwindi! Now if I can just figure out how to turn a bitmap into a jpg file???? A little assist? Anyone, anyone???

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<<<See update photos<<<

Never mind, here ya go:

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That's going to be one big chunk of dirt that needs to come out :blink: Are the retail/food court areas shown on this plan going to be visible from the street, bwindi? (or anyone)

13BA72002EE711DA9478FCAF18F73B1D.jpg

Landscaping/Streetscape Plans

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That's one daunting wall, but at least they are putting in planters and benches

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1D6851F02EE711DAB5286EBD18F73B1D.jpg

Edited by GRDadof3

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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.

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Looks like they are going to do it all at one (or close to it) after all. The ramp and lot around the towers building are coming down and the grade is being worked on down to Division. Interesting that the private side of this got off without an official ground breaking or much fanare at all. I even thought that their development was to be slightly delayed - guess not.

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Looks like they are going to do it all at one (or close to it) after all. The ramp and lot around the towers building are coming down and the grade is being worked on down to Division. Interesting that the private side of this got off without an official ground breaking or much fanare at all. I even thought that their development was to be slightly delayed - guess not.

The Towers Building is coming down now? I saw fencing around it this morning, but YIKES, that was fast! I'll have to see if I can get pics tomorrow morning.

Edited by GRDadof3

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The Towers Building is coming down now? I saw fencing around it this morning, but YIKES, that was fast! I'll have to see if I can get pics tomorrow morning.

The towers will be staying put until the first new tower is built. Then the current occupants will move into the new tower thus allowing the old building to be torn down making way for the rest of the development.

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I went by the Towers Bldg on the way home, and I can still see filing cabinets and blinds in the windows, so I think it will be around for awhile longer. They must have it fenced off for some other reason. I would say the ramp will be gone in the next couple of weeks though :D

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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.

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