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M-72/M-22 Project FAQs
MDOT plans to rebuild 2.2 miles of M-72, known locally as Grandview Parkway, from US-31/M-37 (Division Street) to M-22, and M-22 (Bay Shore Drive) from M-72 to Cherry Bend Road during the 2025 construction season.
This $13 million project will not only replace the pavement on this corridor, but also includes addressing drainage issues, including curb and gutter, storm sewer, culverts, and outlets; replacing sidewalks and nonmotorized paths; making sidewalk ramp upgrades to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards; making operational enhancements at the M-72 (East Traverse Road)/M-22 intersection; upgrading the traffic signal at Cherry Bend Road; and improving access management where possible.
The community has raised several questions and concerns about the project design, which we have done our best to address:
Q – What kind of intersection does MDOT plan to build at M-72/M-22?
A – Concepts for the M-72/M-22 intersection currently include a roundabout, with several different configurations possible, such as including access or closing access to Bay Street near the intersection. Other concepts include new two-way or one-way access to Bay Street from Grandview Parkway, or using median crossovers and indirect lefts (Michigan lefts) for eastbound M-72 traffic wishing to head north on M-22. These are concepts only at this time, and the design has not been finalized.
Q – I am concerned about current facilities in this corridor for pedestrians and bicyclists. What is MDOT doing to address the needs of those users in this area?
A – Within the constraints of available property, adjacent developments, and the lakeshore, MDOT is working with the City of Traverse City, Elmwood Township, and TART Trails to provide trail improvements in this corridor, rerouting and extending portions of non-motorized trails, interconnecting sidewalks, and installing new crossings at key locations.
Q – Even though the speed limit on this corridor is posted at 35 mph (and 40 mph north of the M-72/M-22 intersection), drivers are often driving faster than that, which makes it more difficult and dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the roadway. Why doesn’t MDOT lower the speed limit to 25 mph and slow traffic down?
A – MDOT cannot arbitrarily lower a speed limit on a state highway. A joint process with Michigan State Police of reviewing and setting speed limits is set by state law based on the 85th percentile speed, the speed at which 85 percent of vehicles are traveling at or below.
Posting speed limits lower than the 85th percentile does not result in voluntary motorist compliance unless there is strict, continuous, and visible enforcement. Speed limits set too low will be consistently violated and create disregard for speed limits in general.
Q – If speed limits can’t be lowered, what is MDOT doing to lower travel speeds in this corridor?
A – The safest speed is what the majority of traffic is traveling at, and 85 percent of drivers adhere to properly established speed limits that they feel are reasonable, comfortable and safe for conditions. The design of a roadway does influence traffic speeds, and MDOT is incorporating road design elements that can help to calm traffic, such as median islands and well-delineated crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The preliminary plans for this project include installation of landscaped median islands to help calm traffic and provide additional refuge areas for pedestrians crossing the roadway. Additional pedestrian improvements, such as well-marked crosswalks and the widening of existing crosswalks is also proposed. These improvements provide higher visibility for pedestrians with the added benefit of helping to slow traffic.
Q – What is MDOT doing to gather public input on this project?
A – MDOT has been hearing and gathering input from the community on this project for a few years now, primarily in meetings with staff and elected officials with the City of Traverse City and Elmwood Township, as well as with representatives of TART Trails to discuss collaborative and cooperative aspects of the project, and the desires and preferences for what the design will include.
Based on input from those meetings, MDOT’s consultant designer for this project, ROWE Professional Services Company, developed several project concepts for key aspects of the project that were presented at a public meeting in June 2022 in Elwood Township. The concepts were displayed on large posters at the meeting, and attendees were able to place comments on the displays. Those comments were captured and are available to review on the project website. MDOT is also gathering additional comments through an online form on the project website and plans to hold additional opportunities for the public to view and comment on the plans as the design progresses.
Q – The TART Trail along this corridor has gaps and isn’t wide enough to accommodate all users, and in places it’s too close to the roadway for comfort. What is MDOT doing to fix those issues?
A – MDOT is evaluating enhancements to the existing TART Trail as part of this project, such as relocating it to the water side of the corridor. MDOT is also proposing to extend the TART Trail north of the M-72 and M-22 intersection adjacent to M-22 to Cherry Bend Road and add a sidewalk on the west side of M-22. MDOT’s understanding is that TART is working with the Discovery Center and Elmwood Township for two additional connection points that would like the existing TART Trail to the section MDOT is proposing to extend along M-22.
Q – I know the township, city, stakeholders, and the public have brought up ideas for how the roadway should change with this project. Is MDOT including all of those ideas in the plans?
A – As with any project, not all residents and roadway users are in agreement with all aspects, and some ideas are in direct opposition to each other. As evidenced in the planning for the adjacent 2023-24 project on US-31/M-72/M-37 (Grandview Parkway and East Front Street), some residents advocated for a design that reduced vehicle lanes and greatly expanded non-motorized trails in the corridor. Others contacted the department to request that US-31 be expanded to five lanes with a center left-turn lane from Garfield Avenue to East Front Street. Many of these requests represent different road user interests, but all are affected by several overarching limitations: available funding, limited MDOT right of way, traffic volumes, limited setbacks from existing right of way boundaries, several properties of historical significance, and city park property restrictions. Those limitations, as well as federal standards and state laws, preclude some of the suggestions that have been brought to our attention.
Q – What is MDOT doing to improve the safety and comfort of bicyclists and pedestrians who are trying to cross Grandview Parkway or Bay Shore Drive?
A – MDOT is proposing to construct several pedestrian refuge islands in the M-22 portion of this project. A temporary pedestrian refuge island was installed near the Discovery Center several years ago and this feature has been well received. The new pedestrian refuge islands could be equipped with pedestrian hybrid beacon signal in the future, providing even more pedestrian protections. MDOT is also planning to incorporate plans that would improve the TART Trail crossing at the M-72 and M-22 intersection. MDOT is planning to construct a 10’ wide multi-use path on the east side of M-22 from this intersection north to Cherry Bend Road as well as constructing a new sidewalk in this same stretch on the west side of M-22. MDOT understands that TART Trails is working with the Discovery Center and Elmwood Township on two new connection points that would connect the existing TART Trail that runs west of M-22 to the M-22 corridor.
Q – Both MDOT and the City of Traverse City have Complete Streets policies. Why aren’t they following those policies in the design for M-72/M-22 (Grandview Parkway and Bay Shore Drive)?
A – The current design is not a case of MDOT ignoring the preferences and needs of the community, but rather one of developing a design that best serves all users within these limitations. All users’ needs have been considered, though some users may not feel all their preferences have been incorporated.
The 2025 project design is far from final, but will meet Michigan’s Complete Street requirements to consider and provide “appropriate access to all level users in a manner that promotes safe and efficient movement of people and goods whether by car, truck, transit, assistive device, foot, or bicycle.” The City declared its support for Complete Streets policies in a 2011 resolution.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in a report to Congress in March 2022, reiterated its support for Complete Streets policy, while acknowledging constraints.
Working with city and township representatives, with input from stakeholder groups, MDOT will incorporate several design aspects to make walking and biking in this corridor safer, more convenient, and more comfortable. We’re working with TART Trails to reroute and expand crossings for the trail network and make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the highway at several intersections. These changes are in addition to the recent additions of pedestrian hybrid beacon signal at the Elmwood Avenue intersection, and improved signs and pavement markings at existing crosswalks. The project also includes widening sidewalks where space allows and improving pedestrian crossings on side streets. Overall, the roadway profile largely will remain the same, with the addition of landscaped medians along the parkway portion.
Q – I am concerned that MDOT will be widening the roadway, adding lanes and making vehicle traffic much faster through this corridor.
A – Much of the current roadway in the Parkway portion is designed with a four-lane profile. Overall, the roadway profile largely will remain the same, in this section with the addition of landscaped medians along the parkway portion. Similarly, the Bay Shore portion currently has a three lane section, that will remain.
Q – The pedestrian hybrid beacon signal (HAWK) at Elmwood Avenue seem to be working well. Why aren’t more of those signals included with this project design?
A – Pedestrian crossing volumes at Elmwood Avenue met federal standards for the hybrid beacon installations. MDOT plans to continue to monitor pedestrian volumes at locations along the corridor and can consider additional hybrid beacons if those federal standards are met in the future. The addition of several pedestrian islands in the M-22 section may facilitate additional HAWK signals in the future, if crossing volumes warrant them.