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Veloise

Kent Trails oddity

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So I'm riding west towards the Millenium Park trailhead (the area near the cell tower and the oil derrick), and...here comes a car! On the trail! WTF?!?

Reached the gates, found them swung open, and like a good little former trail patroller I closed them. (The driver had already made an exit, having found nothing of interest down that short stretch of roadway.)

At MilPark I found a Walker PD officer. He told me -- get this -- that Kent County has been informed that this is a public street (the three blocks of Veterans Drive) and that the gates must remain open and unlocked, to preserve funding.

I find this hard to believe, and seek verification.

The cop also mentioned that he is in there every evening and weekend "cleaning up," as it's a secluded place and convenient for various activities.

(Will post a snippet of Bike GR to indicate the precise location, as I'm sure the cell tower & derrick don't have a street address.)

Roger Sabine, are you on here?

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So I'm riding west towards the Millenium Park trailhead (the area near the cell tower and the oil derrick), and...here comes a car! On the trail! WTF?!?

Reached the gates, found them swung open, and like a good little former trail patroller I closed them. (The driver had already made an exit, having found nothing of interest down that short stretch of roadway.)

At MilPark I found a Walker PD officer. He told me -- get this -- that Kent County has been informed that this is a public street (the three blocks of Veterans Drive) and that the gates must remain open and unlocked, to preserve funding.

I find this hard to believe, and seek verification.

The cop also mentioned that he is in there every evening and weekend "cleaning up," as it's a secluded place and convenient for various activities.

(Will post a snippet of Bike GR to indicate the precise location, as I'm sure the cell tower & derrick don't have a street address.)

Roger Sabine, are you on here?

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That is odd. I don't see any reason why anyone would need to use that road other than to access the tower and the oil derricks. Seems like they should be able to close it off to me. If it "MUST" remain open, maybe they could just make it a one way road going out. :)...

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Who owns the oil derrick and cell tower?

To play devil's advocate, if some agreement exists guaranteeing the owners access to their property, that would explain why it's open.

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Whaddya know...looks like the tower is owned by a cellular company with which I am very familiar. (Starts with an "A".) wireless2.fcc.gov

The road gate (within visual range of the Maynard/Vets Drive intersection) has several "daisy-chained" locks on it. This is typical practice, affording access to the technicians who work for various companies. A cell tech might need to visit a tower in an emergency, or perhaps every few weeks if something is being installed or tested. Friday nights and weekends are not typical times to service such facilities.

I can't imagine that ADA, or any other transportation regs, require that the public be provided motor vehicle access to a couple hundred feet of dead-end road with no open land uses.

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So I'm riding west towards the Millenium Park trailhead (the area near the cell tower and the oil derrick), and...here comes a car! On the trail! WTF?!?

Reached the gates, found them swung open, and like a good little former trail patroller I closed them. (The driver had already made an exit, having found nothing of interest down that short stretch of roadway.)

At MilPark I found a Walker PD officer. He told me -- get this -- that Kent County has been informed that this is a public street (the three blocks of Veterans Drive) and that the gates must remain open and unlocked, to preserve funding.

I find this hard to believe, and seek verification.

The cop also mentioned that he is in there every evening and weekend "cleaning up," as it's a secluded place and convenient for various activities.

(Will post a snippet of Bike GR to indicate the precise location, as I'm sure the cell tower & derrick don't have a street address.)

Roger Sabine, are you on here?

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The road indeed has to stay open. The City of Walker just voted on this within the past few weeks. They were informed by the state that either they open up the road for vehicular traffic or lose some of their funding for road construction and maintenance. The motion to open the road passed 5-2.

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The trail is actually Veterans Memorial Drive in both Grand Rapids and Walker. It was closed years ago due to all the problems, dumping, illegal activities etc. Walker has been certifying it as a public roadway which qualifies it for Act 51 money from MDOT. It is Walker's share of the State Gas & Weight tax for that portion of road. Act 51 also states it must be open to public vehicular traffic 12 months of the year. Walker can gate it off but has to decertify it and give up the Act 51 revenue. It's my understanding that GR has the same problem with the state. Walker also has a copy of a sample decertification resolution :whistling: .

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More pieces fall into place, from the Walker city engineer. (I may not have all the answers, but I can figure out where to get them.)

The City Commission has reviewed this situation and made the decision to remove the gate and open up Vet's Drive from Maynard to the east cul-de-sac. They also directed staff to facilitate a small parking area near the cul-de-sac. It is my understanding that they will revisit this issue this winter to determine if they want to keep the road open past 2008.

We held a public meeting with the neighboring property owners last week to inform them of the CC decision. We are decertifying the portion of Vet's drive east of the cul-de-sac. That process will take place in the coming weeks.

Later this fall the DPW, Engineering and Police departments will provide a short report to the CC on how the roadway operated over the 2008 year. [Veloise emphasis follows:] That might be a good time for residents or property owners to voice any favor or displeasure with the decision to open the roadway to traffic.

I asked about sharing these comments, and got a green light. Guess I already know what the Walker PD will comment.

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The wireless technician in the office adjacent to mine happens to be very familiar with this area. He told me that the gate (at Maynard) used to be always open, but issues arose: illegal dumping, parking couples. Assaults. And the city decided it would be best to lock things up.

Sometimes he'd be inside the shelter working on the equipment, and come out to find cars parked near his truck. Once he, um, interrupted an amorous couple to tell them that he was leaving and they would be locked in. He said he locked other cars in (it's not his job to go find the drivers to tell them he was leaving).

I've ridden along Indian Mounds Dr many times (it's on the south side of the river), which is open to motor vehicles going one-way eastbound. Plenty of illegal dumping: mattresses, tire piles, miscellaneous large garbage.

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The wireless technician in the office adjacent to mine happens to be very familiar with this area. He told me that the gate (at Maynard) used to be always open, but issues arose: illegal dumping, parking couples. Assaults. And the city decided it would be best to lock things up.

Sometimes he'd be inside the shelter working on the equipment, and come out to find cars parked near his truck. Once he, um, interrupted an amorous couple to tell them that he was leaving and they would be locked in. He said he locked other cars in (it's not his job to go find the drivers to tell them he was leaving).

I've ridden along Indian Mounds Dr many times (it's on the south side of the river), which is open to motor vehicles going one-way eastbound. Plenty of illegal dumping: mattresses, tire piles, miscellaneous large garbage.

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