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Access uninterrupted: Traverse City’s Grandview Parkway project ensures downtown accessibility remains

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Traverse City is the heart of Northern Michigan business and culture, but getting to the downtown area will take a bit of a twist as the city’s main corridor into downtown is reconstructed in 2024.

It’s a project that the city’s downtown development authority says won’t disrupt access to Traverse City’s downtown area when it kicks off this spring, thanks to careful planning.

“There are ways to navigate easily to the downtown, with detours designed for easy access,” said Harry Burkholder, COO of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA). “Despite the construction, downtown has everything to offer that it always has. In fact, getting to the downtown area will still be easy.”

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Planned for mid-March through November, the Grandview Parkway project will rebuild a two-mile section of the parkway, with reconstruction led by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Traffic on the parkway is steady, drawing more than 25,000 vehicles a day.

So it’s natural that residents would wonder how the project will affect access to the downtown. The good news: “None of the streets in downtown are under construction. It’s really just the parkway,” Burkholder said. “Getting around downtown is going to be easy and convenient, and we’re looking at creating additional ways to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists as they navigate the downtown, as well.”

Burkholder went on to say that the DDA is also working on a comprehensive marketing campaign that will include billboards, social media and other promotions to let everyone know downtown is open for business throughout the duration of construction.

Throughout the parkway construction project — which will pause June 29 through July 6 for the National Cherry Festival, where the Goo Goo Dolls will perform — detour routes marked with signage will direct people from the parkway to the downtown. “These routes will be well-signed,” Burkholder said.

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During the two phases of construction, temporary traffic signals at the Railroad Avenue/East Front Street and Railroad Avenue/Washington Street intersections will also assist residents in getting to the downtown area. Currently, the temporary signals are covered until the renovations begin.

“The project itself is a complete reconstruction of one of the most important commercial corridors through the city,” Burkholder said. “When it’s complete, it will feature a new gateway into the downtown from the east, making it even easier to enjoy all that the Traverse City downtown area has to offer.”

Once complete, the revitalized roadway will help to slow downtown traffic a bit, making it more friendly for pedestrians attracted to Traverse City’s shops, restaurants and recreational opportunities. “There will be additional crosswalks to make the area a more pedestrian-friendly corridor,” Burkholder says.

While no one is excited about the prospect of construction, many are enthusiastic about the end result, he said.

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“I think people are excited to have a functional corridor that is in a lot better condition than it is today and the pedestrian opportunities associated with the green construction,” Burkholder said. “This is a project that holds great significance not just for our city, but also for the region. Anytime we can improve infrastructure that that serves that larger constituency, that makes things better for everybody.”

Find real-time updates on the parkway project online once the project kicks off.


Parkway project: 4 things to know

  • Reconstruction begins mid-March and should wrap up in November.
  • There is no construction in downtown Traverse City, and strategic detours will keep the downtown easily accessible.
  • Construction will pause for the Cherry Festival.
  • The completed project will feature new access from the east as well as improved roadways and pedestrian features.

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