City talks about upcoming projects and capital improvement plan
The resurfacing and redesign of part of Garfield Avenue starting next week is just one of many city projects on the bridge this year and next, with city commissioners discussing the the city’s capital improvement plan (CIP) Monday ahead of the May budgeting process.
Crews will begin work on Garfield Avenue between Hannah Avenue and East Front Street on Monday, April 18. In addition to resurfacing the road in this section, the project – which has long been in the city’s CIP – calls for reducing lane widths and reducing lanes from four to three on Garfield between Eighth and Hannah. New bike paths will also be added which will connect to existing bike paths north of Eighth and the Tart Trail in Garfield and Hannah. City Manager Marty Colburn said the city is working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to eventually extend improvements north to Garfield to the city limits on Old Mission, but those improvements are not part of this project.
According to a city release, driveway flares will be removed at two locations on Garfield and sidewalk ramps will be brought into ADA compliance at intersections Boyd, Eighth Street, Walnut Street, Titus Street, Webster Street and State Street. . Lincoln Street and Washington Street intersections were improved in 2021, along with additional pedestrian improvements such as a pedestrian refuge island near the Civic Center crossing, as part of Safe Routes to Schools and of the city’s sidewalk spacing and filling project.
“The Garfield Avenue resurfacing will also include amenities such as bike lane pavement markings, meeting ADA compliance requirements on our sidewalk ramps and improved crossing signals near the TART trail that will improve the corridor for non-motorized traffic,” according to City Engineer Tim Lodge. The city’s former engineering technician, Jessica Carpenter, told planning commissioners last year that the project would change the nature of the corridor, an effort to calm traffic and make it “less like a freeway”. . She noted that the resurfacing project was long overdue. “Anyone who drives on Garfield Avenue probably knows they’re barely standing,” she said. “Another thing we were looking at is speeds, and we hope that reducing lane widths as well as the number of lanes and encouraging non-motorized traffic along the corridor will help reduce speeds.”
The project should be finished by May 10, depending on the weather. Garfield Avenue will be closed between East Front Street and Hannah Avenue while work is underway, with a detour route for vehicles in place using Fair Street, Eighth Street, Hastings Street, Carver Street and Woodmere Avenue around the area working (pictured). East-west through traffic will be permitted at the Eighth Street intersection, with lane closures in place, but will be prohibited at the Hannah Avenue intersection. A pedestrian detour connecting to the TART trail will be in place near the Hannah Avenue intersection. Businesses in affected areas will remain open, according to a city news release.
A long list of projects is included in the City’s PIC for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which officially begins in July. City Manager Marty Colburn reminded commissioners on Monday that the CIP is just a plan, not a commitment to complete all listed projects in a given year, and that “until we get to the budget , not everything is necessarily funded”. City commissioners will conduct a budget review with staff in May ahead of the June deadline to pass next year’s budget. However, several projects on the list are already certain to go ahead, including the reconstruction of the North Cass Street and South Union Street bridges starting this summer. Numerous water and wastewater repairs are also underway, with the city having received state funding to begin tackling some of them this year, including replacing the retaining wall. from the Boardman River to downtown.
Several Traverse City Light & Power (TCLP) and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) projects are also on the list for 2022-23. City commissioners voted last week to approve a bond of up to $18.2 million to build TCLP’s citywide fiber optic network and upgrade to a smart grid. Rebuilding of the transmission line near Parsons Road, further upgrades to electric vehicle charging stations, substation improvements on Keystone Road and underground line works are also on the bridge. TCLP is also looking to the years ahead: Utilities Board members will vote today (Tuesday) on seeking construction quotes for an estimated $2.3 million project to replace aging transformers and undersized Cass and Parsons substations. These upgrades, which should help TCLP avoid transformer overload and manage future growth, are expected to be completed by June 2024.
Projects such as volleyball court upgrades, West End Beach bathroom replacements, laneway work between State and Front Street, Rivers Edge Riverwalk bridge replacement, and repairs to the Harbormaster Building in Clinch Park are all listed for 2022-23 in Downtown. However, various sources of funding are likely to pay for these projects if they proceed, such as park funding, marina funding, state grants and other outside grants and, for some projects, such as the river promenade, DDA TIF funds. DDA CEO Jean Derenzy told commissioners on Monday that TIF funding could also be used for downtown housing projects, which has been listed in the CIP for several years but could be increased if a viable development public-private partnership presented itself. For example, Colburn said that HomeStretch – which reconsidered its plans to partner with the city to develop housing in Lot O next to The Omelette Shoppe after a recent court ruling changed the way buildings are tall. is measured in the city – proposed a redesign that could allow the project to move forward. Colburn said he may soon return to city commissioners with a letter of intent from HomeStretch for consideration.
Other 2022-2023 plans should become clearer once City Commissioners approve this year’s budget. Staff said they are also working to make the CIP more user-friendly for the public. Planning Director Shawn Winter presented commissioners with an interactive map, which is still in draft form, on Monday that could eventually allow residents to click on different projects to learn more about the details, including a description of the project, an expected schedule and a cost estimate. Waiting, information on the city’s CIP is available in PDF format on the city website.