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!!
The recently released “KATS Pedestrian, Greenways, and Transit Plan” provides intriguing guidelines for “a network of both on-street and off-road bicycle and pedestrian facilities” that would more than double the existing infrastructure and link it more closely with transit routes. As noted in the plan document, the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (KATS) plan “lays out a prioritization and implementation guide that KATS can use to track completion of projects. The public can use this plan to understand where and when new non-motorized projects will be constructed in the future.” As members of “the public,” KBC members are encouraged to read (and savor!) the plan and then do what’s possible to encourage local municipalities to allocate funding and apply for grants to help make the dreams put forth in the Plan become reality. Boosting bicycling infrastructure from 250 miles to 525 miles would be well worth the effort. The Executive Summary is available here (KATS Plan Summary pdf file 2.7 mBytes) and with the entire KATS Pedestrian, Greenways, and Transit Plan at http://katsmoves.org/documents/.
The Alamo Township Board allocated funds to repair the nasty stretch of pavement on West AB Ave that has been a hazard (aka bicycle handling feature) on KBC Wednesday Nite Rides for many years. That stretch of road is now a short, but beautifully smooth, ribbon of new pavement.
Even though the gleeful cheers cannot be heard in the photo below, KBC members on a recent Wednesday Nite Ride expressed thanks to the powers-that-be for a job well done.
Kudos to Kalamazoo Township for installing 67(!) new Bike Route signs, including the one featured here, at locations in the Eastwood and Westwood neighborhoods. Signs along the “Westwood Wiggle” direct bicyclists from the West Main Hill neighborhood through Westwood, north of M-43, toward Drake Road, where another leg connects with the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail near Ravine Road. When signs are placed along bike routes in the City of Kalamazoo, bicyclists will have clearly marked paths to travel along many quiet streets between downtown and the surrounding countryside. Well done!