Touch of green, smoother ride coming to Michigan Street

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you drive it, you know it: navigating Michigan Street along Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile is a challenge.

“It’s one of our poorer streets in the city right now,” said assistant city engineer Rick DeVries.

DeVries is part of the team of city officials trying to change that. They held a public forum Thursday to discuss the $1.65 million plan to improve a stretch of the street.

“We want to understand if there’s (sic) concerns. We also want to discuss with them the scheduling because obviously Michigan is a significant corridor,” said DeVries.

The project includes resurfacing the road between Ionia and Monroe and fixing the concrete between Ionia and Barclay. One of the most noticeable changes: snaking lanes will be straightened out.

“The lane assignments will align much better than what they do today,” said DeVries.

The lane shift also means other changes along Michigan Street, including removing the eastbound bus lane. DeVries says adding busses to the regular lanes shouldn’t cause a problem.

“Last fall they tested out if it would have any traffic impact and it really had very little,” he explained.

When the project is finished, drivers will encounter dual left turn lanes at Michigan and Monroe and pedestrians will encounter wider walkways.

Michigan Street will get a touch of green, with tree and plant-filled medians installed between Bostwick and Coit. Devries says the medians will help catch and filter storm water runoff before it gets to the Grand River.

The project is set to begin this fall.

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