Local advocacy group working to improve safety to busy street


GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU)-- A local advocacy group is working to improve safety on a busy Traverse City street.

Norte hosted a walk to bring awareness to changes that are necessary on Barlow Street.

"It's just a bad mix and we're just waiting for another tragic accident to happen if we don't take some action here."

Back in November, a man died after being hit by a car while walking across Barlow Street.

Chris Hinze from Norte says the event is a way to show the community just how unsafe parts of Barlow Street can be.

"With our work with Safe Routes to School through Norte, we hear from families all the time that live in this area and have kids who go to Traverse Heights Elementary that they have a difficult time finding safe routes for their kids to walk or bike to school," said Hinze.

But it's not just kids who seem to be having trouble.

"I like to catch the bus to go where I want to go, but trying to cross the street is kind of hard when the cars are going 50 mph."

Some of the changes Hinze says he would like to see included are marked cross walks, better bike lanes and slower speed limits.

Though a road project is scheduled to be done on Barlow Street, it's not exactly what members of Norte had in mind.

"They want us to add some additional things to the project that's outside of the scope of work Grand Traverse County Road Commission is able to do at this point," said Andy Marek, Grand Traverse County Road Commissioner.

Marek says the nearly $400,000 repaving project is necessary, and mainly being paid for with state and federal grants.

"We're too far along," said Marek. "If they had come to us a couple years ago when we were looking at the scope of the work of the project before we were involved with the state, we could have a look at some other stuff."

Hinze from Norte says he knows the upgrade could take a while and cost a lot of money, but they believe the increase in safety would be worth it.

Marek with the Road Commission says he looks forward to helping them work on the projects in the future.

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