Traverse City Commissioners Approve Budget, Discuss Improving Safety On Peninsula Drive

Traverse City Commissioners have approved their 2018-2019 fiscal budget, with a new millage.

That $17 million budget was approved.

It includes a one mill increase in tax rate, meaning the average homeowner in Traverse City will be paying about $12 each month.

Commissioners tell us the increase is going to help the upkeep of roads within city as well as making those road and sidewalks safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

One of those roads the mayor had in mind was 8th Street.

“Many people have been frustrated by the city’s attention to 8th Street, we have been pushing it off because we have a lot of reconstruction to do there, having to replace the sewer and water mains underneath and completely rebuild the street,” says Jim Carruthers, Mayor of Traverse City.

And speaking of improvements, commissioners also talked about how to improve safety on other roads.

More specifically on Peninsula Drive in Traverse City.

“Trying to make it more reasonable and safe for pedestrians,” says Carruthers.

Peninsula Drive an area with homes, park and lots of traffic.

“The lane width on Peninsula Drive is 13 and a half feet which is three and half feet wider than any lane on Front Street which encourages the high speed traffic. Any pedestrian or cyclist going across there with traffic that is eastbound  and accelerating on Front Street to get across the oncoming traffic, I live right there and I watch it all the time. This is not a good situation. We really can do this smarter, there are no sidewalks along the intersection or curbs,” says John Williams, lives on the drive.

Creating what some see as a safety issue.

“We have created a mess here by not narrowing the lanes down, slowing the traffic down,” says Williams.

Commissioners decided on “striping” the drive to fix these problems.

“We’re just going to stripe and make one area on the north side of the street, about five feet wide so that we have a safe area because there’s two beach accesses along that point, there’s a lot of traveling down to the beach, there’s people traveling to our schools, Central High and Eastern in that area,” says Carruthers.

The striping will cost the city no additional money and they hope more work can be done in the future regarding the intersections and sidewalks on the drive.

“We did hear from Penny Hill about how MDOT is planning to work on the street hopefully in 2022, so we mine as well even consider doing to the actual intersections where they do end up on Front Street to make it safer,” says Carruthers.