Avoid Driving Through Downtown Kalamazoo At All Costs (For Now)
If you haven't been through downtown Kalamazoo in the past couple weeks, then prepare to be frustrated with traffic. Even more-so than usual.
The reason for the congestion is good - the city and road crews are repairing the road, and putting them in better condition. BUT, if you're in a hurry... maybe consider an alternate route.
I made the trip to Bell's on Wednesday to pick up the Oberon Variety Pack, and was greeted with more orange cones and barriers than I'd imagined I'd ever see in downtown Kalamazoo. I knew the work was happening, but I didn't know it would congest traffic like it was.
On Kalamazoo Avenue, practically from Walbridge Street to Westnedge, it was stop-and-go, bumper to bumper traffic, merging to avoid closed lanes, and construction areas. This is strange for an area of town known for people buzzing by between 40 and 50 mph sometimes.
Now, thankfully, I wasn't going all the way through downtown. My stop was only a couple blocks in, but to see a line of traffic in downtown Kalamazoo that resembled the 401 Freeway in L.A. (but much smaller obviously) was a sight to see.
Add to that, traffic heading the OTHER direction on Michigan Avenue being squished down to only a couple lanes, too, while crews fill major potholes and reseal areas that had opened up what I can only imagine were portals to hell.
Downtown Kalamazoo is a MESS with construction right now, and its only beginning.
Obviously, this is only two streets that are inconvenienced, but the two MAIN roads through downtown, so travel will be complicated. And once crews begin working on two-way traffic on Kalamazoo Avenue in a few years, things will get even more congested.
SO, my suggestion to you, is... since we're already inconvenienced for now, it might not be a bad idea to start finding your alternate route across town for when two-way traffic does return downtown.
And remember, I'm actually on board with this plan to bring it back, and slow traffic down... but that's just it - it will slow traffic down.
So, how can you best get across town, quickly, without dipping down to I-94, or slipping up to E. Paterson? Maybe a Beltline somewhere?
The City will have open town hall meetings soon to discuss the two-way traffic plans with the public. You can find those meetings on our site as well.