Three years ago, a community of volunteers came together through the leadership of TART to help clear the City owned multi-use trails. The City participated with equipment, some fuel, and maintenance because it recognized a gap in service and a demand. Each year, the trail saw increased use during those winter months.
However, the volunteer model never was intended to be permanent. Monday night the City Commission has an opportunity (RE) for a more durable model that recognizes City ownership, and the associated responsibilities, of its multi-use trail network.
Trails, like sidewalks, provide mobility choices that add value to the community. Where the City’s trail system exists they make excellent sidewalks that stay cleared longer than sidewalks adjacent to frequently plowed streets and in many cases offer more direct routes. Having them cleared improves quality of life, community health and, ultimately, home values. City trails are critical links to providing mode options and service to residents, including access to transit stops and public services.
Monday night the City Commission will consider entering into a cost sharing contract with other regional agencies for snow removal from the trail network. TART Trails has committed a funding share and taken the lead in requesting funding from adjacent townships and support from the County to administer the contract.
The City Commission can lead Monday night by prioritizing the funding and resources to provide reliable snow removal along its own trail network and help a more regional approach become possible, if not this year, than in future years. If you noticed that City Trails were cleared the last few years and want to see them continue to be cleared, please consider sending in an email of support to City Commissioners before Monday.
Voice your support to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To dig into the proposal, you can find the agenda and packet here.
Last year, the City responded to requests for improved sidewalk snow clearing during one of the hardest winters in years. Main corridors were cleared better and holders even hit the neighborhood streets more often than previous years.
There remains plenty of room for improvement and I’m confident that the commitment exists to improve each year. For example, we still need to improve at intersections and, as a community, we can do better to recognize that we are in this winter thing together. We all can do better to help keep the City accessible for everyone.
While the snow was still falling last winter, I teamed up with Vic McCarty to produce the PSA at the top of this post for the City. It is now running on network channels and is hosted on the City’s website. As it says, “let’s work together to make Traverse City safe and accessible for everyone“.
Have something to share? An idea on how to improve City snow clearing? Leave a comment.