Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and the City of Grand Rapids next week will complete improvements to increase safety, mobility and connectivity along a one-mile stretch of North Division Avenue between Lyon Street and Coldbrook Street. The improvements include new accessible curb ramps at several intersections and a pilot "better bikeway" that aims to make travel by bicycle safer, easier and more comfortable for everyone regardless of age or ability.
"Expanding transportation choices and ensuring that everyone - whether they're traveling in a car or truck, walking or riding a bicycle - can safely travel to their destination is a top community priority," said Stephanie Wong, project lead for DGRI. "These improvements along Division Avenue are are yet another important step towards building a 21st century mobility system that serves all Grand Rapidians."
The sidewalk enhancements at several North Division intersections in Downtown improve safety and access for people of all abilities using the sidewalks by upgrading the corner curb ramps to current accessibility standards as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The "better bikeway" improvements include:
- Upgrades to the existing bicycle lanes that include painted buffer zones to the left of the bicycle lanes that also have reflective delineator posts every 25 feet creating more separation between the bicycle lanes and vehicular travel lanes.
- Dashed green pavement markings at several intersections to highlight higher conflict zones between motorists and bicyclists.
- Green bike boxes at the intersections of Division and Lyon and Division and Pearl. An intersection bike box is a designated area that allows bicyclists to move ahead of motor vehicles to make left turns.
- Better bikeway signage.
"The intersection improvements and pilot bikeway along North Division improve access for pedestrians by removing barriers and providing a safer, more comfortable route for bicyclists traveling to, from and through Downtown," said Chris Zull, the City's traffic safety manager.
The separated north-south bicycle lanes connecting the Downtown, Monroe North and Creston neighborhoods are identified as an immediate bicycle infrastructure priority in the City's Vital Street Plans, the forthcoming draft Bicycle Action Plan and GR Forward, the community plan to guide the next generation of growth in Downtown Grand Rapids.
These improvements build on the successful 2011 Revision Division project that converted North Division Avenue from a 4-lane street to a 3-lane street with standard bicycle lanes which improved traffic flow, reduced reported crashes and improved safety for all travelers.
DGRI and the City will evaluate the better bikeway improvements for one-year, observing how the changes perform through all four Michigan seasons - and report findings in 2019.
Throughout the one-year pilot pavement markings, signals and signs may be adjusted as necessary to ensure clear and safe street operations. All travelers are encouraged to pay close attention to pavement markings, traffic signals, street signs and other public information throughout the corridor.
DGRI and the City also welcome community feedback on the changes. A website for the project - www.BetterBikeway.com - will be up by the first week of July to provide project information and updates and receive public input.