Traverse City Community Sees New Eighth Street Plan

A week of whittling down designs for the reconstruction of a busy cross-town Traverse City street.

The final open house for Eighth Street’s new design plan wrapped up tonight.

People from all over Traverse City came to the event today to see the plan.

The debate has been going on for years about how to improve Eighth Street.

Community members say the street is hard to drive on, and is also unwalkable and unbikable.

After nearly a week of open houses, and years of trial and error, a plan is starting to come together addressing all of those concerns.

Hundreds of people in Traverse City weighed in on the changes they want to see for Eighth Street.

Today they got to see their consensus for the first time.

"It’s been an interesting evolution there’s just so many more people commuting on foot and bikes the introduction of fat tire bikes you see a lot more of those and then of course vehicular traffic," said Don Placek.

Don Placek lives in Traverse City and has worked on Eighth Street for more than five years. He is of many looking forward to major Eighth Street changes.

"Hopefully it’s the kind of thing that there’s a lot of forward thinking and the physical condition of the street and streetscape will be improved I think that will help a lot. It’s interesting the condition of the street it does slow traffic but it makes it dangerous to bike and walk," he said.

The new plan: three lanes with a turning lane in the middle. Bike lanes would also run along the side.

The community putting their heads together while opening their eyes to different perspectives.

"People have come up to me and said goodness I can see things in a different way people announce it every meeting they say I’ve changed my mind I used to think this now I think something else so the opening of minds is a signal of success," said Doug Farr.

The public discussions and surveys also brought up some unexpected surprises for the planning team.

"We came here Monday expecting 3 lanes and 4 lanes to prevail it was a 50 50 split didn’t see that coming. Wednesday we expected lower buildings to be the norm taller buildings seemed to be preferred so it’s been a week of surprises," said Doug Farr.

And now, Traverse City has something new to look forward to.

"2018 will be an exciting year," said Doug Placek.

The community will meet in June to keep hashing out details, like how tall they want buildings to be.