Kalamazoo College teamed up recently with the City of Kalamazoo to create a bike route from the east end of the “Westwood Wiggle” to the west edge of downtown Kalamazoo at Stadium Drive. With a gift from an anonymous donor, Kalamazoo College funded installation of bike route signs, along with many “five-foot” signs, through its campus, along Academy St. The new route extends into the West Main Hill neighborhood, where the new route connects with another newly established bike route, called by some the “Westwood Wiggle,” through the Westwood neighborhood in Kalamazoo Township and west to Drake Rd. The new bike route’s green line through K’s campus (see map below) has been dubbed the “Manstrom Meander,” in honor of Paul Manstrom, soon-to-be-retired Director of K’s Facilities Management (shown with signs below the map), and his tireless efforts to help make K as “green” as possible. As in the past, this effort to improve Kalamazoo’s bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure was brought to fruition through patient and persistent work (exerted over nearly a year) by Rebekah Kik, Community Planning and Development Director for the City of Kalamazoo.
Oshtemo Township recently completed renovating KL Ave between 9th and 8th streets and striped that half-mile stretch of road to provide 3.5 feet of paved shoulder by limiting the road lane for motorists to 10.5 feet. Providing that additional six inches of space for bicyclists (see photos below) was no mean feat. Credit for making this happen goes to Marc Elliott, Director of Public Works for Oshtemo Township, and Ryan Russell, civil engineer at Prein & Newhof. Oversight (and encouragement) was provided by Libby Heiny-Cogswell, Oshtemo Township Supervisor. Though Libby noted, “Nothing slower than progress!,” progress was made. Thank you!!
At its August 2017 meeting, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club membership voted to approve a resolution in support of a state-wide five-foot passing law and send it to State Representatives and Senators representing districts where KBC rides take place. Signed copies of the resolution, along with copies of news articles of bicyclists who had been injured or killed in our district, were to Representatives Jon Hoadley, Brant Iden, David Maturen, Beth Griffin, Aaron Miller, Mary Whiteford, and Julie Calley and to Senators Mike Nofs, Margaret O’Brien, John Proos, and Tonya Schuitmaker.
A copy of the resolution can be obtained here – Five-foot Resolution pdf file 397 kB
With a grant from the DALMAC Fund, support from KBC coffers, and donations from several bike-friendly supporters the “Give Them 5” education campaign is underway. Initiated and organized by Paul Wells, chair of the KBC Education Committee, the campaign is aimed at raising motorist and bicyclist awareness of recently approved five-foot passing ordinances in Kalamazoo, Portage, Kalamazoo Township, and Oshtemo Township. As a means of getting the word out, yard signs are already beginning to appear along streets and roads in the Kalamazoo area. Available to anyone willing to put the sign in their yard, these signs can be obtained by sending an email to Paul Wells firstname.lastname@example.org, who will also happily accept donations to KBC in support of the education campaign.