Westnedge Ave. traffic calming project nears end of phase one

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — An ongoing project in Kalamazoo’s Vine neighborhood aims to slow traffic and make more space for pedestrians.

Following more than two years of public feedback, Westnedge Avenue and Park Street between Dunkley Street and Crosstown Parkway are the two final streets in a calming project by Imagine Kalamazoo and the city. Similar efforts have already been made on Stockbridge Avenue, Winchell Avenue, Emerald Drive and Greenleaf Boulevard.

“It’s not pleasant to cross either of those streets (Westnedge and Park). There are a lot of people out walking and pedestrians and bicyclists. So we want to do something,” city traffic engineer Dennis Randolph said.

Concerns range from speeding to having clear and comfortable places for public transit, bike and foot traffic all around, Kalamazoo City Planner Christina Anderson explained.

“How do pedestrians walk along and across these streets and feel comfortable doing it? Same for cyclists and transit riders who eventually become pedestrians when they are either getting on or off the bus,” she said.

The first phase, underway now, is installing radar and pedestrian signs, plus painting crosswalks at every other intersection. Anderson advised drivers should expect short-term delays.

“But this is not something that is major construction, that would be multiple days,” he continued. “Paint dries pretty quickly… It can be done fast.”

Beginning next year, the project’s second phase will look to dictate where on-street bicycle lanes and parking would be, pedestrian improvements and opening the door for crosswalk art.

“There’s only so much room in the street to do things,” Randolph explained. “So we have to trade off where bike lanes might be and where parking might be.”

City engineers say they are seeing measurable improvements since the calming project began. According to Randolph, drivers are going, on average, 2 mph slower.

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