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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

City holds S. Division talks on Transportation

Rapid Silver Line bus

Everything from how gentrification causes displacement, to how trees affect transportation is on the agenda for the city’s six-part community series. Tonight at six the city will put on a dinner that is free and open to the public, at the Kroc Center. The topic will be Commercial development and economic opportunities. But, to give you an idea of the issues, last week it was all about transportation and among the panelists was Josh Naramore, Mobile GR and Parking Manager for the city of Grand Rapids   .

“I think the two biggest takeaways are improvements to pedestrian safety and focusing on lighting and the crossings for the street.”

He’s talking about improving pedestrian safety along S. Division. Residents who attended expressed serious concerns about having snow removed well and in a timely fashion in order to keep bus stops accessible and sidewalks and bike lanes safe.

“So, snow removal leads really big into pedestrian safety, because you can have all these great transportation services, but how do you actually access them. And how do you access them all winter long.”

Naramore says he walks to work all year round and is appalled at how some people don’t take care of snow removal on their sidewalks. So, I asked him why the city doesn’t just do it themselves.

“And then it really comes down to having the money to do that as well as the staff to be able to send people out in the community to be able to shovel and all that. So, I do know of some smaller cities who do that, but it costs them a lot of money and we’d have to figure out a way to pay for it.”

So there it is, last week’s discussion. This week it’s all about commercial and economic opportunities and how that can happen with development and who would benefit. Details again are tonight at six at the Kroc Center on South Division. 

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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