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Old Posted Apr 15, 2017, 4:45 AM
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deja vu deja vu is offline
somewhere in-between
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 1,292
Originally Posted by The North One View Post
If the city wants a vibrant urban core it's gonna have to get a lot more serious than these aesthetic master plans that just end up looking cheap and gimmicky, although trees are important and should line as many streets as possible. How is public transit in the city? They should be focused on adding bus lines, what about biking infrastructure? The city should build some dedicated bike lanes. Universities and colleges should have campuses or a basic presence in the city center, start with community colleges in the area, this would be a double win with the Kalamazoo promise. Incentivize any new companies or growing companies to build their offices in the city center and build them near transit stops so they won't need as much parking. The city should push developers to build underground parking or at least provide better design alternatives like hiding parking in the back of a development. I feel like the city is trying to be Royal Oak 2.0 and failing at it.
I agree with all of your points.
  • Time will tell how serious they (those who implement the master plan and local policies) will get with the input and data that is being gathered.
  • I've never ridden the public transit; technically I could get to work with a bus transfer, but it would take a long time. I think the metro bus system has good coverage, but I've heard complaints from people that the buses don't run frequently enough. There's talk about establishing a year-round trolley downtown - primarily to serve the main retail areas. I don't think it will come to fruition anytime soon.
  • There is a very strong local biking community that has been advocating for years to improve the biking infrastructure in the city. Some recent efforts have been made to improve and extend the KVRT (Kalamazoo River Valley Trail) through downtown - it is not complete yet, with portions of the trail being shared-road access.
  • You are right that there is a ton of parking in the city. City lots and ramps are privatized, and are managed by Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. I would love to find any studies about the amount of underutilized parking in the city - I will look. It is my hope than any new development in the center of the city can replace the extensive surface lots that are mostly a product of post war migration to the suburbs.
  • As far as universities and colleges, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College are both poorly connected to the city - physical barriers include a pair of active train tracks, Arcadia Creek, and a business loop road that people treat like a highway. Kalamazoo Valley Community College is the most integrated into the downtown fabric, with its Arcadia campus and its new Healthy Living Campus by Bronson.
  • Businesses are investing downtown, although I'd wager that Portage is getting a lot more than Kalamazoo at the moment, with Pfizer and Stryker mainly investing in new developments there.
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