The Rapidian

City hopes to extend Revision Division project

The Downtown Development Authority discusses the results of Division Street lane changes
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/Kristin Schmitt

Last Friday in Kendall College's Historic Federal Building, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) discussed the results of their Revision Division Project and the data they collected from their study of the road conditions. The goal of the meeting was to evaluate the project's success in reducing car speeds, increasing on-street parking, supporting area businesses, improving pedestrian safety and accommodating cyclists. 

 According to the traffic data collected over the year study,the project yielded uncharacteristic results. Car crashes increased from 83 to 125 over the year study period, delays increased and car queues lengthened.

"One year is not enough time to get a good feel for data," says the DDA's project engineer about the unexpected results. "Possibly people are not familiar with the area or the new lane configuration."

The quantitative data exposed some possible problems with the project but, the meeting was also a way to get other information about the project's success.

"We are here to get your feedback," said the project engineer.

The qualitative feedback from area businesses and residents supported the project. Members of the Greater Grand Rapids Biking Coalition offered a personal thanks for the new bike lanes. Other residents commented that they felt safer walking the streets with the larger lanes. The previously narrow four lane street prevented them from enjoying the area. One resident commented that the lane changes and increased parking allowed him to get two new tenants for his rental property.

"There was a decrease in congestion," says the project engineer, "and a 19% pedestrian increase. We like to think of this as a positive."

Due to the mixed results, the DDA was not able to come to a final conclusion about the project. The plan for the Revision Division Project is to collect more data over the next year before deciding whether or not to keep the lane changes. The DDA proposed a new schedule at the meeting which included reevaluating the new data and waiting to make a final decision until 2014 or 2015.

"There is not enough information to conclude if it was successful," said the project engineer, "we need more time."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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