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Grand Rapids plans $26M in street, sidewalk improvements

gr sidewalk improvements.jpg
Posted at 9:55 AM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 09:55:51-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Those living in or visiting Grand Rapids can expect to see improvements to streets and sidewalks throughout the city this summer, as an eighth season of ramped-up road construction begins.

The Vital Streets Oversight Commission presented during a recent City Commission meeting an update on the Vital Streets program and what street and sidewalk projects are planned for the upcoming fiscal year.

Since 2014, the Vital Streets millage has helped the city complete preventative maintenance and reconstruction of 514 miles of streets, according to a news release Thursday.

This year, the city also plans to dedicate a total of $1.8 million for various sidewalk repair and construction projects in all three city wards.

Through virtual communications, the Vital Streets Oversight Commission heard from citizens about their priorities for projects and spending of dedicated millage dollars.

The commission’s projects also work to improve streets and sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists. Last year, the city added 8.5 miles of new bicycle facilities with almost seven miles of new trails added in “neighborhoods of focus.”

City officials have also emphasized increasing green infrastructure by adding more than 280 street trees, 46 bioswales and 37 infiltration basins.

Four more miles of bike facilities are planned for this year, in addition to changes to existing bike facilities for better signage and cyclist access.

Vital Streets projects are backed by a voter-approved plan back in 2014 that extended a local income tax levy for 15 years.

This investment, along with a road funding commitment from the state, seeks to ensure that 70% of Grand Rapids’ streets reach fair to good condition by 2030.

Since 2014, Grand Rapids has gone from 37% of streets in good or fair condition to 61% thanks to the program.

See all planned Vital Streets projects here.