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A State DOT Designing a Protected Bike Lane? It’s Happening in Kalamazoo

Part of Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo will get a road diet and a new protected bike lane, under plans approved this week. Image: Alta Planning + Design via Mlive.com
Part of Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo will get a road diet and a two-way protected bike lane in a redesign put forward this week by the city and Michigan DOT. Image: Alta Planning + Design via Mlive.com
Part of Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo will get a road diet and a new protected bike lane, under plans approved this week. Image: Alta Planning + Design via Mlive.com

A tipster in Chicago sent over these images of an impressive street redesign planned for downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. The treatment shown above -- a two-way parking-protected bike lane with planted pedestrian islands -- will apply to about a mile of Michigan Avenue, near Western Michigan University. Protected lanes would continue north on Rose Street and east on Water Street, linking up to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.

What makes this project especially unusual is that it is being led jointly by the city of Kalamazoo and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Generally, state DOTs have been obstacles to protected bike lanes, not leaders. Plans call for removing one traffic lane on Michigan Avenue, a state road, and 20 to 30 parking spots on Water Street, reports Emily Monacelli at the Kalamazoo Gazette.

The Michigan Avenue redesign is part of a larger bike network being developed with extensive public input. Planners told Monacelli that feedback since the design was unveiled has been very positive.

However, the project isn't exactly on the fast track. Before implementation, it will undergo a two-year design phase, the Gazette reports.

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