KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo’s ongoing traffic calming project continues to make progress.
Along North Westnedge Avenue and North Park Street, the city of Kalamazoo changed the lanes to slow down traffic with the goal of keeping pedestrians and cyclists safe. But video footage of a SUV on Friday and a concrete truck on Monday show two examples of how some drivers are not following the new layout.
“They’ve been driving on the original configuration for many, many years — 50 years,” said city traffic engineer Dennis Randolph. “It’s hard to change. Change is always hard.”
Randolph said he’s not surprised to see drivers having trouble adjusting to the new pattern but believes it’s a major issue.
“I expect that there’s going to be folks who don’t follow the new lines, who want to ignore them,” Randolph added.
However, the project is not finished. By the end of next week, Randolph said bollards, or posts, will be installed, along with the bulk of the remaining work.
“(Bollards) will help delineate much better the parking lane, which a lot of folks are having trouble with, and help them understand a little better where that parking lane is,” Randolph explained.
Contrary to its usual placement on the right, the bike lane is on the left on both Westnedge and Park. Randolph explained the old left turn lane in both roads gave engineers an idea for bikers.
“They can actually circle around the blocks of Westnedge and Park on the left side interior. It’s almost informally a bicycle track,” Randolph said.
The ‘track’ stretches as far north as the US-131 interceptor near Hopkins Street, all the way down to Michigan Avenue. Combine that with parking for area homeowners, Randolph said the plan keeps safety in mind.
“Again, it’s something you have to get used to, but it’s something that is done in other communities,” Randolph said.
The current layout might not be final. Calling it ‘flexible,’ Randolph said time, community input, and any future crash data will help city leaders decide later if they will keep the new configuration or change it.