GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Downtown Grand Rapids could see a change in the usual traffic pattern. The city is proposing a project that would impact Ottawa and Ionia avenues between Fulton and Michigan streets and Fulton Street between Monroe and Division avenues. The idea is to turn both one-way streets, Ionia Avenue and Ottawa Avenue, into two-way streets.

"A lot of communities around the country have been converting one-way streets into two-way streets," says Grand Rapids Planning Supervisor, Kristen Bennett. "Community plan GR Forward did recommend that we look at the conversion of one-way streets downtown into two-way streets."

The chance to change the main streets stems from a resurfacing project that is already scheduled on Ottawa Avenue between Michigan Street and Fulton Street in 2021. Several community plans, including GR Forward, Bicycle Action Plan and Michigan Street Corridor Plan, include specific recommendations for these core downtown streets.

Discussions include:

  • One-way and/or two-way roadway operations on Ottawa and Ionia avenues
  • Intersection needs and transit operations throughout the study area
  • Pedestrian and bicycle safety and access, including a separated bikeway on Ionia Avenue – recommended in GR Forward and Bicycle Action Plan
  • Community event needs, especially near Calder Plaza and Van Andel Arena
  • Opportunities to beautify and “green” the corridor with such elements as trees, flowers, benches and other decorative or urban furniture elements

"We have a resurfacing project scheduled on Ottawa between Fulton and Michigan in 2021. So we figured since we had that idea out there, let's do the traffic and transportation analysis, safety analysis and get the public's input and their thoughts, both for Ionia and Ottawa since they work together," said Bennett. "And what changes can we make whether it's changing those street directions or not, and what other changes would the public like to see."

Community members are encouraged to drop in at any time during the open houses to provide ideas and priorities. The design process schedule is:

Open houses
 Monday, Dec. 9
4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Ryerson Auditorium at Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library St. NW

Tuesday, Dec. 10
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ryerson Auditorium at Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library St. NW
5 to 7:30 p.m.
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., 29 Pearl St. NW

Community Report out
Thursday, Dec. 12
5 to 7 p.m.
Ninth-floor Commission Chambers at City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW

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