Why Not Just Build a Road

The Wing Avenue project will come to some resolution in the next few weeks. The folks who have lived there for generations are forced tolerate high traffic flow including trucks and numerous school buses because Breton Avenue has not been built through to 60th Street.

We on the commission have been told that we need to wait for a developer to pay for the Breton extension and that the city can’t afford the time/money/uncertainty of putting in a “bypass road” with water/sewer/bridge over the Paul Henry/sidewalks/curbs/storm drainage/wetlands…  Only a developer who reaps the benefits will do the job.

We may be like the dog scratching at the wrong fleas.

The only issue before us is to get traffic down to 60th as efficiently and safely as possible. Development may happen, or may not. Wing Ave. as used now and no matter what is done within the currently contemplated plans, will not be safe or efficient.


We need a straight road from Breton with stoplights at both 52nd and at 60th-cheaply and quickly done, avoiding costly permitting processes.

Why not just build a straight, minimally adequate “20 year, temporary” road without providing for development? Envision roads like Northland Drive north of Rockford, or South Division as it approaches Allegan County or the picture above that I took in Mecosta County last week- nothing fancy-roads that safely carries a lot of traffic at 55 miles an hour (the locals drive 62.) These country roads are lined with small businesses and farms. They provide ways for cars,  farm machinery, school buses, and even bicyclists (us) to get around. It’s all that we need to gain an important civic goal here in Kentwood.
Bikes on the Paul Henry Trail will have to pause for traffic, but that’s a hazard on every rails to trails that I’ve ever used. The swamps will cause the road to sag, but roads rolling a bit doesn’t bother the drunk speedsters in Gogobiec or Delta counties. I doubt that these rural counties spend a million dollars for a mile of adequate roads-our costs should be fairly modest. There may be some cheap gew-gaws that we may want to add, multi use trails or a third lane, but the traffic engineers get paid a hell of a lot to figure that sort of thing out.

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