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Kalamazoo reveals design for a new two-way Kalamazoo Avenue at town halls this month

 A photograph of Kalamazoo Avenue at an intersection with green lights. McDonalds is in the distance.
John McNeil
Construction on Kalamazoo Avenue to turn it from a one-way street to a two-way street will take about two years, beginning in 2024.

The city held the first of two town meetings on the draft design Wednesday.

Kalamazoo plans to change its network of one-way streets to two-way, but don’t expect to see any orange cones until next year.

City Planner Christina Anderson said the design may undergo more tweaking based on public comment. Earlier plans have already undergone major revisions because of resident concerns at similar community meetings held last year.

An early plan for Michikal Street was to turn it into a park. But homeowners in the Stuart Neighborhood were concerned about the volume of traffic cutting through the neighborhood on West Kalamazoo Avenue.

“It wouldn’t really feel like much of a neighborhood street, even with what was proposed at the time,” said Anderson.

The new plan utilizes Michikal Avenue differently, to help divert traffic around the Stuart Neighborhood. Under the new plan, that portion of West Kalamazoo Avenue looks like a typical two-way residential street.

The rebuild includes all the plumbing, the electric and fiber optic cable. All through construction, the city plans to keep the street open. Anderson said that's because the city knows any plan has to strike a balance that involves a lot more than changing signs and resurfacing the pavement.

“We know that construction is a pain, and we know that it’s a challenge for business and residents, and of course, those that one to come visit downtown Kalamazoo to play,” Anderson said.

"The goal is not to close the street fully during construction.”

A second town meeting on the draft plan will be held next Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the lobby of the Catalyst Center at 180 E Water St. Coffee and other refreshments will be provided. The City of Kalamazoo also released a five-part video to explain the new designs and the draft plan will be posted on the Imagine Kalamazoo project website after the Tuesday meeting.