City of Traverse City Releases First Engagement Report for the Master Plan and Mobility Action Plan Projects
In fall 2022, the City of Traverse City kicked off the first phase of community engagement for the Master Plan and Mobility Action Plan initiatives. As part of this first round of Master Plan engagement, listening session attendees, open house participants, and survey respondents were asked to prioritize and comment on a list of guiding principles, sourced from existing community visions and plans, including the current master plan. What did they like? What is confusing? What is most important? The following themes resulted:
Participants’ Ages Mirrors Community Age Makeup - The number of individuals representing different age brackets closely mirrored the age breakdown of City of Traverse City (for example, 15% of survey respondents were age 35-44 and 14% of City residents are in that age bracket).
Protect Our Natural Resources - Across incomes, residency, and age, caring for and protecting Traverse City’s natural resources emerged as the number one priority for community members who participated in this first round of engagement.
Manage Public Infrastructure - Proactively and consistently managing water and sewer infrastructure is also important no matter a participant’s age, income, and residency.
Community Inclusivity - When asked to consider the statement “having people of all ages, incomes, backgrounds, ethnicities, race, and abilities is key to the future of Traverse City”, participants under 19 years of age agreed with this statement more often than older community members. This isn’t to suggest that only young people care about this, but does provide some insight into how the younger Traverse City stakeholders who participated are thinking about community inclusivity and belonging.
Cycling Safety and Education – In both the October 7 Focus Group sessions and the October 26 Community Open House, attendees mentioned safety as being a key priority for the city’s mobility network. Some mentioned the emergence of electric bicycles as a challenge, as they travel much faster than regular bicycles yet still share trails with other users. Other attendees mentioned the lack of crosswalks as a major safety challenge. Trail and road etiquette was also mentioned, with training for cyclists and motorists being raised as an option to reduce conflicts between the two groups.
Bike Facilities and Trails – Those attending engagement events desired more cycling and pedestrian infrastructure within the city. Attendees at the Focus Group sessions mentioned regional collaboration as being necessary for creating additional recreational trails. Other attendees mentioned that simple traffic calming methods such as speedbumps, narrower traffic lanes, and other devices would make traveling by bicycle safer and more appealing. Attendees also mentioned that protected mobility infrastructure along higher-speed streets can make traveling along those corridors more appealing.
Connections to Daily Amenities and Recreational Destinations – Attendees cited Traverse City’s natural beauty as one of its strongest assets and desired greater access to parks and natural areas. Attendees and survey respondents also mentioned a desire to access daily amenities by foot, riding their bicycles, or taking the bus. This indicates the importance of the city’s mobility network not simply as a recreational asset but as a valuable addition to the city’s diverse transportation system, giving residents more options on getting around.
“Thank you to everyone who has participated in these community planning projects so far”, says Shawn Winter, City Planning Director. “If you haven’t yet shared your ideas, we will be hosting additional online surveys, online input sessions, and in-person input sessions and encourage you to participate in a way that is comfortable for you.”
The City invites all people who live, work, learn, play, drive, walk, ride, roll, or cycle in Traverse City— of every gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, and ability—to participate in the projects. Monthly public meetings are held for both Master Plan and Mobility Action Plan. Meeting schedules may be found at this link, www.traversecitymi.gov/calendar/