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Grand Rapids to adopt 'Vital Streets' plan Tuesday

Grand Rapids officials will vote this Tuesday on a new comprehensive plan for the city’s streets, and it may be good news for bicycle enthusiasts if the vote carries. 

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and City Commissioners heard details of the newly developed Vital Streets Plan at the City Commissioners Meeting last Tuesday. Vital Streets is a city master plan for Grand Rapids roads that shapes how pedestrians, bicycles, transit, cars and freight vehicles will share the city’s streets.

“We had a number of different interests that have come to the table providing comment on the plan so that we could be very thoughtful in the approach to make sure we are really serving all citizens of our community," Suzanne Schultz the managing director of Design Development and Community engagement for the City of Grand Rapids said.

Schultz said the hundreds of hours of work it took to put the plan together came from the need to be fiscally responsible and see a return on the city’s investment.

“When we make investments in our streets we want to make sure we are making the right decisions, we are spending once and done, and then we can maintain it, and the community can really see a physical difference," Schultz said. "We also believe that there is a big value as far as economic development that happens, really any places where we have touched streets we have seen a lot of economic development happening.”

The Vital Streets Plan will combine green infrastructure to assist in waste water runoff, and a new comprehensive bike network, that will provide a sizable increase in bicycle lanes both on major streets and in neighborhoods.

“We are really proposing something new and innovative, we’re proposing both bicycle commuter routes, but also commuter bicycle commuter facilities, so it’s kind of a two-teared approach, and something we are really excited about doing,” Schultz said.

While Tuesday was just a public hearing on the matter, City officials will vote on the Vital Streets plan December 13th.

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