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Will New Development Lead To Traffic Chaos On LaFranier Road? & More Latest News


Rewind a number of many years and LaFranier Road was a principally rural hall – a connector for Hammond and South Airport roads with little in between however bushes and fields. Today, it’s an ever-growing hub of residential improvement, dotted with residence complexes, senior dwelling amenities, and motor house communities. Several new developments are in progress or on the way in which for the hall – together with the 216-unit South22 residence complicated and a 50-plus-acre joint improvement by Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) and the Traverse City Housing Commission (TCHC) – and people initiatives will solely add extra exercise and inhabitants density to the world. Is this once-rural roadway as much as the duty of turning into a serious inhabitants epicenter? Or will new improvement and elevated exercise push the visitors capability of the highway to its breaking level?

For his half, Garfield Township Planning Director John Sych isn’t too apprehensive about LaFranier turning into a large number of gridlock. While Sych acknowledges that many locals are questioning how improvement exercise will have an effect on the highway within the near-future, he additionally notes that Garfield Township has been planning for progress in that space for fairly a while.

“When we take a look at the township master plan, that area has been planned for multifamily development for quite some time,” Sych says. “So, the development that is occurring out there right now, that’s all going according to plan. I think people are a little alarmed because they’re seeing a lot of development happening quickly and in one spot. But that’s primarily because there is such a huge demand for apartment housing. There’s been a lot of talk about a housing crisis, and LaFranier is an area that can be used to address that problem because it’s planned for higher density. That’s where three-story buildings can go in, because there’s water and sewer in place, because it’s zoned for multifamily, and because it’s located close to the city where the jobs and urban services are.”

Sych additionally notes that the Grand Traverse County Road Commission (GTCRC) has already made a number of modifications to LaFranier over time that make it better-suited for higher-density improvement and for extra vehicular visitors. “GTCRC went in there a few years and altered the grade of the road near South Airport, to make that intersection safer,” he says. “And then they also included a continuous left-turn lane through that whole one-mile stretch. So, they’ve already done a lot in terms of this roadway.”

GTCRC Manager Brad Kluczynski concurs with Sych that LaFranier isn’t at risk of turning into a serious gridlock zone or accident hazard immediately, even with rising inhabitants density and visitors quantity. That’s to not say GTCRC isn’t taking steps to handle visitors movement on LaFranier, although, or that it received’t make appreciable modifications sooner or later as extra builders eye that hall for extra initiatives.

“We know we’re going to have a continuous increase in traffic [on LaFranier], so we are looking at long-range plans to handle it,” Kluczynski says. “The biggest concern we have actually isn’t the volume, but the access points that exist on the road. When you have a lot of driveways in such a short stretch – and when there are a lot of people coming in and out of these driveways – that’s when you have to anticipate seeing some conflict points at some point in the future. So, right now, our plans are dependent more than anything upon keeping all of these access points from being staggered, so that you don’t have one driveway on the right, and then 500 feet later, one on the left.”

Rather than permit staggered entry factors, GTCRC is pushing builders to place driveways immediately throughout the highway from different current entry factors. That technique helps reduce the variety of factors the place persons are coming into or exiting the roadway, which in flip retains visitors flowing and cuts down on battle factors that may flip into accident hazards.

The minimization of entry factors is even affecting the most important developments at the moment taking place on the LaFranier hall. For instance, within the case of the BATA/TCHC improvement, GTCRC required the builders to protect the property’s LaFranier driveway as an “emergency personnel only” entry. The lone public entry drive for the property will probably be off Hammond, which Kluczynski says will assist GTCRC hold a deal with on LaFranier’s visitors state of affairs for a bit bit longer.

“But it’s not going to be a permanent solution,” Kluczynski admits of GTCRC’s entry administration technique. “Because no matter what, when you start adding this many units to that stretch of road, you’re going to run into traffic capacity issues.”

So, what’s the long-term imaginative and prescient for LaFranier Road? For now, Kluczynski tells The Ticker that GTCRC plans “to keep a very close eye” on the highway as new developments are available and inhabitants alongside the hall grows. Keeping tabs on occupancy ranges on the residence complexes, taking common visitors counts, and taking a look at accident developments will all be a part of that course of.

More than simply residential improvement, although, the way forward for LaFranier could also be determined by the Grand Traverse County authorities.

“The long-term forecast for that road really depends on what the county decides to do,” Kluczynski concludes. “If the county decides to move all their facilities out to LaFranier — which they have discussed in previous meetings, as in “Let’s move out of Boardman and let’s move everybody down to LaFranier’ — then you’re talking about another huge driver of people to that road. If you start adding all these offices, that becomes more of an issue for us in terms of how do we deal with all that traffic. And at that point, we would probably be looking at doing something substantial to change the traffic patterns out there. One option is to add a service drive along LaFranier, with very limited access points. And then by the county facilities, we would likely be talking about putting in either a signal or a roundabout, depending on how much traffic we experience as more new developments go forward.”

Pictured: The LaFranier Road hill after the 2015 grade discount, courtesy of Team Elmer’s. 

Will New Development Lead To Traffic Chaos On LaFranier Road?

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Will New Development Lead To Traffic Chaos On LaFranier Road?

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