In June of 2021, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), in cooperation with the City of Traverse City, initiated a planning and engineering process to develop a streetscape design plan for East Front Street. The streetscape design plan will serve to guide the implementation of new streetscaping along the East Front Street Corridor in the spring of 2022. In addition to new streetscaping, this plan will also include substantial improvements to (and replacement of) existing sewer and water infrastructure along the corridor, including new sewer leads into existing buildings.
How to Participate – Meetings & Events
Give Us Your Feedback
A number of brief surveys will be released throughout the planning process to gain stakeholder and community insight and feedback.
Survey #1 – Traverse City East Front Street & Traffic Flow Kickoff Survey
Survey #2 – East Front Street Design Concepts Survey
Project Timeline (subject to change)
What Is The East Front Street Reconstruction Project?
Anyone driving or riding down East Front Street knows the street needs to be reconstructed. The project will also replace underground infrastructure (water, sanitary, and storm sewer), including new sewer leads into existing buildings. Replacing all the infrastructure at the same time is a more efficient use of time, resources, and funding. It is also an exciting opportunity to consider what East Front Street should look like when it is restored. Community input is desired to help envision East Front Street and prioritize improvements.
Where is “East Front Street”?
The East Front Street Corridor runs roughly a ¼ mile, in an east-west direction between Grandview Parkway and Park Street.
Who is Leading This Planning Effort?
In June of 2021, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), in cooperation with the City of Traverse City, initiated a planning and engineering process for East Front Street. The DDA is leading the development of the Streetscape Design Plan and the City of Traverse City is leading design efforts for the water and sewer infrastructure. Together, they are working with Progressive AE and Hubbell, Roth and Clark (planning and engineering consultants) to help facilitate the designs.
When is All of this Occuring?
It is anticipated the Streetscape Design Plan will be completed by November 2021. Street reconstruction is likely in the Spring of 2022. The project team will be working closely with property owners to determine the best approach to accommodate business operations and construction activities.
What is Streetscaping?
Think of the public right-of-way (the street, on-street parking, and sidewalk) as an outdoor room. Streetscaping includes all the elements you see within the space and how they are arranged. These elements include the road, sidewalks, parking, parklets, benches, outdoor seating, lights, trees, open spaces, bulb-outs, bike racks, signage, building faces, and other features that create the street’s character and identity. The East Front Street project provides us with the opportunity to rethink how pedestrians, bicyclists, buses, cars, delivery vehicles, and businesses use the space. A Streetscape Design Plan will be created with community input and will become the “blueprint” for how all of us experience the new street.
Is a New Design Really Needed?
East Front Street has many assets, including its proximity to the Boardman River, direct connections to the River and TART Trail, access to public parks, convenient locations to public transit stops, and a growing and eclectic mix of uses. It also is the primary gateway into Downtown Traverse City. This important corridor lacks a cohesive identity and does not have the same level of energy as in other areas of downtown. A major infrastructure investment like the East Front Street project can be leveraged as a catalyst to support new and existing businesses.
Wasn’t a Streetscape Design for East Front Street Already Developed?
In 2018, the City led a partial initiative to develop a streetscape plan for East Front Street. However, that plan was never adopted or realized. The pandemic changed how many people think about the function of streets and their purpose. It is important to make sure there is a shared vision for East Front Street before engineering drawings are finalized.
What Will the New Streetscape Look Like?
The exact design of the new streetscape will be determined through extensive engagement with property and business owners in the corridor, as well as the community and key stakeholders such as the disability community. It is anticipated the design will establish a new identity for the corridor, support year-round pedestrian activity, provide public spaces, and help spur new investment.
Will MDOTs Work on Grandview Parkway affect the East Front Street Design?
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is scheduled to modify the intersection of Grandview Parkway and East Front Street (as well as other portions of Grandview Parkway through Downtown) in the Spring of 2023. The Project Team is working with MDOT to collectively develop a design for the East Front Intersection that serves the pedestrian and vehicular service needs of both Grandview Parkway and East Front Street.
What Information is Being Used to Make Decisions?
Data will inform design decisions in addition to input received from property and business owners, the public, and stakeholders. The project team will be collecting and analyzing traffic counts (including peak-hour movement), traffic flow patterns, lane configurations, bicycle and pedestrian movement, on-street parking, crash data loading zones, and bus stop locations. In addition, the project team will complete a traffic model for existing and possible future conditions. This analysis will include a study on the potential conversation of Front Street and State Street in Downtown Traverse City from one-way operation to two-way operation. More information on this study can be found at the link at the top of this page.
Who Adopts the Streetscaping Design Plan Once it is Completed?
The Streetscape Design Plan (and associated sewer and water infrastructure) will be approved and adopted by the DDA Board of Directors and the City Commission.
How Much Will it Cost to Reconstruct East Front Street? Source of Funding?
It’s too early to know what the cost will be to reconstruct East Front Street. The planning and engineering design process will determine the final cost. Funding for the reconstruction of East Front Street will come from a combination of the tax increment collected by the DDA, City resources, and grant funds. In addition, a special assessment may be assessed to property owners. The cost of engagement, design, and construction drawings is $419,730 with resources from bond proceeds from the Hardy Parking Deck and TIF 97.
How Can I Participate?
There will be several stakeholders and public meetings throughout the planning design process. In addition, you can provide feedback on this project website here. If you would like to be notified of future meetings and other opportunities to provide feedback, please sign up below.