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Downtown GR Freeways

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The freeways in downtown GR create barriers - visual, physical, and psychological - to the downtown area. How can this impact be minimized? What are your thoughts and ideas on how to keep development going beyond the freeway barriers?

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I'm not sure they're as big of a psychological barrier as I once thought.

The west side (GVSU, Stockbridge, et. al.) seems to be coming up on its own.

I think the presence of the freeways helps more than it hurts. It certainly helps expose passers-through to the downtown in a positive light. Heck when driving up from Kalamazoo, downtown really shines after you've passed the pole-barn-wasteland south of town.

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Some of the older Westsiders still have the grudges and now the faded memories of the good times just add to it. The younger generations don't have these kinds of sentiments.

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I realize that the likelihood of this happening is small with the current set up, but I would love to see some express lanes on both freeways for the cars that are not going to get off downtown. If anyone has ever tried to make the "trip" across 5 lanes of traffic to get to your exit (think 131 south to 196 east to Ottawa Ave exit), I think it would be great if, when they finally do expand lanes that they build an express lane area to help remove some of the dodge(car)ball that happens all day.

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I think I-196 could be removed between 131 and College, and we could be rid of that gawd-awful bridge over the river. When you're going Eastbound coming into downtown, 3/4's of the traffic gets off heading either North or South on 131. When you're traveling Westbound coming into downtown on I-196, much of the traffic has dispersed by the time you reach 131, or at least enough of it has dispersed that you could just nix it. That's what MDOT should be looking at doing. Westbound I-196 after it passes College could just become a boulevard or a 4 lane street that ends at Ottawa or Monroe.

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I had an idea for the elevated portion of 131 from Fulton St. to Bridge street of inserting shops and various public amenities under the highway in much the same way the Lower Manhattan Development Committee plans to do along the Stretch of the FDR Expressway that runs along the East River.

A Link to LMDC's webpage about it. Then click on "The East River Waterfront Esplanade & Piers Project"

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I had an idea for the elevated portion of 131 from Fulton St. to Bridge street of inserting shops and various public amenities under the highway in much the same way the Lower Manhattan Development Committee plans to do along the Stretch of the FDR Expressway that runs along the East River.

A Link to LMDC's webpage about it. Then click on "The East River Waterfront Esplanade & Piers Project"

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I think I-196 could be removed between 131 and College, and we could be rid of that gawd-awful bridge over the river. When you're going Eastbound coming into downtown, 3/4's of the traffic gets off heading either North or South on 131. When you're traveling Westbound coming into downtown on I-196, much of the traffic has dispersed by the time you reach 131, or at least enough of it has dispersed that you could just nix it. That's what MDOT should be looking at doing. Westbound I-196 after it passes College could just become a boulevard or a 4 lane street that ends at Ottawa or Monroe.

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I don't agree, yes that bridge looks bad because it is the standard blue overpass of the 60s but hopefully when redone it could be improved cosmetcally maybe a fake suspenssion or steel overhead ect.

There is no way that they would actually remove a freeway, and an interstate cannot be a bouldivard or anything other than a limited access highway. And I think that although many people do exit onto 131 there would be massive traffic backups, the MDOT plans look good with 4 lanes in each direction there is no need to tear out anything for widening

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There wouldn't be any traffic back-ups. People would find alternative routes, guaranteed. There is no plan to replace those bridges over the Grand. In addition, there is no regulation in Michigan that says an interstate cannot become a boulevard. One need only look at the Northern and Southern ends of 131 to see proof of that.

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There wouldn't be any traffic back-ups. People would find alternative routes, guaranteed. There is no plan to replace those bridges over the Grand. In addition, there is no regulation in Michigan that says an interstate cannot become a boulevard. One need only look at the Northern and Southern ends of 131 to see proof of that.

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Remember how everyone predicted the massive gridlock when they rebuilt the S-curve a couple years ago? People somehow found a way around the construction and things went relatively smoothly. It proved that we only think we need massive infrastructure to move large quantities of automobiles from one end of town to another. As for the bridge over the Grand River, that is the ugliest blue piece of concrete and steel I can think of. Certainly we can do better!

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We can always bury it! ... yeah right... Tunnels everywhere!

I think it is more likely that it would be buried than removed or rerouted... so basically we have to live with it, end of story. How would that help the city? Its looks?

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We can always bury it! ... yeah right... Tunnels everywhere!

I think it is more likely that it would be buried than removed or rerouted... so basically we have to live with it, end of story. How would that help the city? Its looks?

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US131 also goes over the Grand River on the South end of town too. To bury a transit lane costs around $250Million a mile, so I couldn't imagine how much a three lane freeway would be..... We need to pick the battles we fight. Right now, I would rather leave the freeways and fight for a transit system. I don't think asking/fighting for both is realistic (IMO). Please don't take this to mean, I don't think anything should be done with the freeways. If work is going to be done and some adjustments can be done to make the area more pedestrian friendly than I think it should be done. If we are taking about rerouting, burying or trunkating an existing interstate, I would rather put this energy into a transit system because if we try and fight for both, I think we wouldn't get either one. (IMO)

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I agree with Geo. But some of you guys just need some imagination. Think about a massive riverfront project that connects with the Rowe and goes up to Trowbridge, connected to Healthcare Hill via an aerial tram:

391737115_2632565a8d.jpg

Alright, I'm done.

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I agree with Geo. But some of you guys just need some imagination. Think about a massive riverfront project that connects with the Rowe and goes up to Trowbridge, connected to Healthcare Hill via an aerial tram:

391737115_2632565a8d.jpg

Alright, I'm done.

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Especially w/ M-6 now complete, I don't think I-196 is an important route from the lakeshore to Lansing. I-196 takes traffic north, then back south for those looking to get to the middle of the state. M-6 provides a more direct route. I like the idea of removing the mega-structures that is I-196 over the Grand.

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You know - I was a little skeptic about the idea of removing i-96 until I saw that picture. It actually makes perfect sense...and it would also re-route people to use downtown a little bit more. I take 131 to 196 east bound everyday for work and I can honestly say there has never been a time when I had more than 1 car in front or behind me on the ramp.

If that was to be removed, they wouldn't really need to fix the ramps as far as re-aligning them or anything like that, except paint over the blue or something.

Great idea!

The only complaint I can see people having is if they don't feel like going downtown to get back on 196 and they think they would be forced to go all the way up to i96 and create "extra time" for them to travel.

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I realize that the likelihood of this happening is small with the current set up, but I would love to see some express lanes on both freeways for the cars that are not going to get off downtown. If anyone has ever tried to make the "trip" across 5 lanes of traffic to get to your exit (think 131 south to 196 east to Ottawa Ave exit), I think it would be great if, when they finally do expand lanes that they build an express lane area to help remove some of the dodge(car)ball that happens all day.

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am I the only one that opposes this, or thinks that It does not make sense or will ever happen? Maybe I am the only one that uses it regularly and not always having dt as a destination. Why would you want to take a through expressway apart? The ones that are being downgraded into boulivards in other cities are just short spurs that end in the DT so that makes sense to have more access to the road. But tearing down a bridge that carries between 50 and 75k vehicles a day just because its ugly? Really how much of a devide is it? you can walk undernieth it although it could use a strictly pedestrian bridge or tunnel too and how much of a pain/relief is it for traffic? Michigan av running imediatly parallel is never too backed up. And tearing it down to create more space? come on look at google earth to see that its less than 100 feet wide and next to a much larger abanded feild and 2 surface lots along tha river. The GR press building and the post office should be removed imo.

I'm not trying to nag, I just don't see any solid resons for removing an expressway and it seems like everyone here likes that idea? I drive it all the time because living by east beltline or cascade it is a lot easier and faster to take 196 west twards Grandville/ Holland or to 131 south than any other route including M6

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While we're all trying to find viable ROW for LRT, why don't we just tear out all freeways from the outer ring to downtown? Replace them with boulevards and trains! I was disappointed with the S-Curve was reconstructed...

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am I the only one that opposes this, or thinks that It does not make sense or will ever happen? Maybe I am the only one that uses it regularly and not always having dt as a destination. Why would you want to take a through expressway apart? The ones that are being downgraded into boulivards in other cities are just short spurs that end in the DT so that makes sense to have more access to the road. But tearing down a bridge that carries between 50 and 75k vehicles a day just because its ugly? Really how much of a devide is it? you can walk undernieth it although it could use a strictly pedestrian bridge or tunnel too and how much of a pain/relief is it for traffic? Michigan av running imediatly parallel is never too backed up. And tearing it down to create more space? come on look at google earth to see that its less than 100 feet wide and next to a much larger abanded feild and 2 surface lots along tha river. The GR press building and the post office should be removed imo.

I'm not trying to nag, I just don't see any solid resons for removing an expressway and it seems like everyone here likes that idea? I drive it all the time because living by east beltline or cascade it is a lot easier and faster to take 196 west twards Grandville/ Holland or to 131 south than any other route including M6

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am I the only one that opposes this, or thinks that It does not make sense or will ever happen? Maybe I am the only one that uses it regularly and not always having dt as a destination. Why would you want to take a through expressway apart? The ones that are being downgraded into boulivards in other cities are just short spurs that end in the DT so that makes sense to have more access to the road. But tearing down a bridge that carries between 50 and 75k vehicles a day just because its ugly? Really how much of a devide is it? you can walk undernieth it although it could use a strictly pedestrian bridge or tunnel too and how much of a pain/relief is it for traffic? Michigan av running imediatly parallel is never too backed up. And tearing it down to create more space? come on look at google earth to see that its less than 100 feet wide and next to a much larger abanded feild and 2 surface lots along tha river. The GR press building and the post office should be removed imo.

I'm not trying to nag, I just don't see any solid resons for removing an expressway and it seems like everyone here likes that idea? I drive it all the time because living by east beltline or cascade it is a lot easier and faster to take 196 west twards Grandville/ Holland or to 131 south than any other route including M6

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