Linking Transportation & Economic Vitality; Kalamazoo, Ml

Transportation and circulation around the Central Business District (CBD) are essential components of the economic vitality of Downtown Kalamazoo. Traffic access into and around the CBD is a key function in recruiting and retaining downtown businesses. Related elements, such as parking, integration of transit facilities, and urban design features all have a tremendous impact on attracting business patrons to the area. In past years, the City of Kalamazoo has undertaken a number of studies to review traffic operations on particular routes in the vicinity of the downtown area. However, no past study has tied together all routes in the downtown area to create a comprehensive plan to address mobility in the CBD as a whole. This lack of cohesiveness in the existing transportation network has led to a number of community concerns. Under the current street system, state trunk line traffic on Michigan Avenue and other primary routes move traffic directly through the CBD. Consequently, speeds, noise, heavy commercial traffic and congestion along these routes create an atmosphere in the downtown area that in some cases discourages traffic from making destination trips to the downtown area. The existing one-way street system can be confusing to CBD traffic, and can result in long detours, should a vehicle miss its intended turn. In addition, lack of available on-street parking and loading zones have been cause for community concern and are seen as a deterrent to further economic development in the CBD. The purpose of this study was to create a comprehensive transportation plan for the CBD, outlining improvements or changes to the transportation network that will enhance access, and consequently economic viability. The study focused on improved connectivity with the surrounding areas, improved access to nearby colleges and universities, better promotion of alternative transportation modes to the private vehicle, and providing better pedestrian amenities and aesthetic improvements. Ultimately, the study will be a tool for recruiting and retaining downtown businesses by creating a plan that will enhance accessibility to their establishments. The study examined existing network conditions, assessed future conditions for the year 2015, and analyzed several alternatives to relieve traffic burdens within the CBD. A two-step approach was provided to identify transportation issues for the year 2015: a macroscopic and microscopic assessment. Economic and transportation impacts were assessed based on the measures of effectiveness established. Public and steering committee meetings were utilized to receive community input. The meetings looked to identify problems. Through these meetings, concerns were raised and roadway deficiencies were obtained. A proposed Recommended Alternative to address the key issues identified at the beginning of the study was recommended at the end of the study. However, the Steering Committee decided not to go with the recommendations of the consultant and selected the build alternative that ranked last according to the criteria established at the beginning of the study. This presentation focuses on lessons learned, what worked and what did not, and useful tips for fellow practitioners.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Tables;
  • Pagination: 12p
  • Monograph Title: Tools of the Trade: 9th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 22-24, 2004, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01043961
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2007 1:00PM