Here's my question: Who at the city of Kalamazoo really thinks this is a good idea?

According to WWMT, Bell's Brewing founder Larry Bell is angry; Very angry.

Can't say that I blame him. Of all the streets in that area, that's the one they chose? Why not choose Walbridge, one block over? Well, we can't do that, the city says, as that would require a permit from M-DOT. But, City and M-DOT, you are all bureaucrats on a government payroll. You play for the same team. You're cut from the same cloth. You speak the same language. You really can't get together on a permit? Oh, and there's an Amtrak railroad track already crossing Porter.

Look, I've been riding bikes my whole life. I work with a bicyclist. A bike path in Michigan is for approximately 6-7 months a year on average. Die-hards a little longer, casuals, maybe 2-3 months.

And if you're really concerned about bicyclist's safety, you're still putting them right in front of cars pulling out of Bell's parking lot, and the little street just north of it along the tracks.

Reading some of the comments on WWMT"s Facebook page, there are strong passionate opinions on both sides of this:

Julie Mavis Risch: "Parking downtown and anywhere near bells, Hop Cat, sushi bar and Old Dog is tough. All of those businesses struggle with their parking areas. It is too bad that these businesses will suffer due to a bike path. I know that bikers want the path connected, but it seems like taking a total of 22 spots is nuts!"

Jacob Houvener: I can't bike downtown without fearing for my life on the streets where cars barely pay me attention, and biking in the sidewalk. (It) isnt right because they are for pedestrians. It's about time we got a bike lane downtown. Maybe now less people will have to drive and that will free up some spots."

Amy Kapp: "Not a good spot for a bike trail. Way too much congestion already. Dangerous. Get the railroad permits and move it"

Eric Chapman: "City of Kalamazoo you should be on your knees begging for mercy for what Bell's has done for Kalamazoo"

Jesse Carter: "They don't want to move the bike trail, then you're forced to park in the cities designated parking areas that you have to pay for!"

Shannon Sabin: "Parking is terrible, there are so many bars/restaurants right there that on Fridays and Saturdays you could end up walking a few blocks. Not everyone is comfortable walking the streets of downtown Kalamazoo at night especially if you are traveling alone."

I really don't understand the City of Kalamazoo and the powers that be in this town. When I first moved here, downtown was dying. Finally, things began to change, investments were made. Downtown redefined itself as an entertainment district. And now all these same powers can do is push people away. Make up your minds. What do you want? You had a parking lot and turned it into a festival site. And then you do everything you can to push people away. The east side of downtown was a dump. Now it's flourishing. And what are you doing? Taking parking spots away, and in effect, telling people to get lost, "we don't want you here". And is the problem going to get better with the addition of whatever opens in The Foundry site?


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