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City Asks For Input On Park And Westnedge Changes

Two young women wait for several cars to clear an intersection on a wide one-way street.
Sehvilla Mann
/
WMUK

As the City of Kalamazoo works on making its streets friendlier for foot, bike and wheelchair traffic, it’s getting ready for overhauls of two major roads. But planners say before they finalize those plans, they want to hear from the public – including Tuesday evening during National Night Out.

The roads in question are Park Street and Westnedge Avenue, the busy north-south one-way pair that runs from the Vine Neighborhood to the northern edge of town. The city says they’re likely to have bike lanes within a year, as well as more crosswalks and narrowed or reduced lanes to discourage speeding.

“Straight, wide lanes with few traffic-controlled intersections tend to support faster speeds, because you’re comfortable. You have a nice wide lane, there’s no one by you,” City Planner Christina Anderson told WMUK last week, as she stood at the intersection of Park and Walnut Streets.

Anderson and city Traffic Engineer Dennis Randolph say the city wants to hear more from residents about how they use the roads. They’re soliciting comments online, as well as at several events in the upcoming weeks.

Tuesday is the first chance to make comments in-person. The city will have a table at the Northside Association for Community Development starting at 4 pm as part of a gathering for National Night Out.

“Asking folks what they see will help us,” Randolph said. “That’s why we’re interested in having people come. What I’ve always found is that when I get citizen comments there’s a lot of nuggets in those.”

Anderson agreed, saying her team wants to hear from residents about where they want to cross, “and how can we improve those intersections to make sure that they can do so whether you’re eight or 80, fully able-bodied, in a wheelchair, with a stroller, whatever.”

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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