Coalition Seeks Safer Streets in Kalamazoo
A coalition says Kalamazoo needs to take back its streets to make them safer and more pleasant for everyone to use. Members of the Complete Streets Coalition of Kalamazoo held signs and gave flyers to passing motorists in the Fairmont neighborhood Wednesday urging them to slow down.
Coalition President Jim Ferner says one major problem is Kalamazoo’s one-way streets downtown. “They either funnel traffic up through the neighborhoods or they don’t allow drivers to turn and get to their destination conveniently, so they have to go through our streets.” Ferner says that makes life harder for kids walking to school and people in bikes, and creates traffic headaches for motorists too. He points to the West Main Hill area, where Ferner says 3,300 vehicles are funneled to the area from Lovell Street.
Ferner says the Complete Streets Coalition, which was formed in 2013, is trying to work with officials in Kalamazoo Township and at MDOT as well as the county and the city. Ferner says Kalamazoo city officials seem interested in the issue but not the others. “The township and the Road Commission have pretty much said ‘no.’ So we’re trying to get them moving on this issue. The city has said they would look at it, try to look at different solutions. At the very least, we’d like traffic calming.” Members of the coalition say the new public campaign is a way to draw their attention.
According to Ferner, traffic calming could include lower speed limits in residential areas, more stop signs, and rumble strips. He says the Complete Streets Coalition wants streets that are safe and serve everyone, including pedestrians and people on bicycles.