Complete Streets Initiatives in Application: Traverse City

Traverse City’s Growth Demands Complete Streets

Traverse City, Michigan, has experienced extreme growth over the past three decades. Due to the rise of tourism in Grand Traverse County, significant human development and urbanization have occurred. This expansion is evident in the growth of highway infrastructure and the construction of new residential and commercial properties, driven by the influx of residents and visitors to the area.

As a result of this rapid growth, street congestion has made even short-distance travel exceedingly challenging. In response, Traverse City has adopted Complete Streets, an approach to planning, designing, and building streets that enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. The city is working hard to elevate car-centric congestion and offer other transportation options that reduce traffic and smog.

Complete Streets before and after comparison

Bike Parking to Fit Traverse City’s Unique Needs

Given Traverse City’s reputation as a premier summer tourist destination, the city sought a solution to alleviate downtown congestion during peak tourist seasons, particularly in the summer. However, it also required a flexible approach that would accommodate parking needs during the winter months when Traverse City experiences a 47% decrease in population, and heavy lake-effect snowfall of 125″–145″ annually. Having easily relocatable racks on rails allows a natural place for snow banks created by snow plows in winter months when removed, which satisfies Traverse Cities tourist and off-season transportation needs.

Complete Streets, featuring designated bike lanes and ongoing efforts to expand bike infrastructure, significantly enhance the thriving bike culture in Traverse City. For those seeking bike parking options, now there are over 250 public racks conveniently located throughout Downtown, along with three covered bike shelters equipped with fix stations. Additionally, bike parking is available in both the Old Town and Hardy Parking Garages.

Complete Streets rail mount bike rack in Traverse City

Traverse City has chosen CycleSafe’s Rail-Mount Bike Racks to best suit their bike parking needs. Two sets of rail-mount bike racks take up one car parking space, and each set has three inverted U Racks with Crossbars. This allows for 12 bike parking spaces where only one vehicle would fit. The use of these racks offers the advantage of portability for these parking spots, like the ability to remove racks during snow plowing operations, specific event demands, or for seasonal adjustments as needed.

Complete Streets rail mount bike rack

The Need for Bike Parking Systems

Traverse City is not alone in its efforts to implement complete streets and encourage cycling; major cities worldwide, including London and many in the Netherlands, are working to establish similar bike parking systems.

However, ensuring the safety of pedestrians and cyclists demands that our roadways be more than just an afterthought. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Complete Streets; each one is uniquely tailored to suit the specific needs and characteristics of its community. From sidewalks and bike lanes to special bus lanes and accessible public transportation stops, a complete street encompasses a variety of elements designed to enhance safety and accessibility for all users.

As we navigate the diverse needs and contexts of rural, suburban, and urban communities, it’s imperative that we collaborate and implement systems that prioritize safety and inclusivity. By working together and embracing the Complete Streets approach, we can create transportation networks that are safer and more accommodating for everyone. For tips on how to transform your community’s streets, check out our planning hub or contact one of our bike parking specialists.