Traverse City Commissioner Works to Support Cyclists

Traverse City Commissioner Gary Howe was working to make his town more bike friendly long before he was elected. But building the infrastructure to support cyclists can be difficult.

Check out Gary’s Facebook page, “A Strong TC,” to share your ideas about creating a safer community for bikers and other issues.


Photo by Beth Price_Traverse Magazine_0816Few people would dispute the benefits of bikes—health, environment and otherwise—but getting an entire city behind building necessary infrastructure to support cyclists can be a tricky thing. Just ask Gary Howe, a city commissioner whose passion for cycling and pedestrian-friendly communities played a big role in his election (his campaign signs featured bikes).

While plenty of residents are proponents of bike-friendly streetscape changes such as those on the updated West Front Street near downtown, others have voiced concern about what they say is overly intrusive signage and lighting on that particular stretch. Another ongoing point of complaint by some: putting bike racks in car-parking spots in the heart of the city. But Howe is not deterred; he supports all of these efforts. “You’ve got to encourage people with design,” he says. “You need to address the values of the community, you need a street that attracts people.”

This means slowing traffic flow and designing areas that encourage walking. “I have noticed in the last 10 years an uptick of people out and about biking and walking,” says Howe, a Traverse City native who lives car-free and gets around on one of his four bikes. “But it still needs to be a cultural shift.”

 

Traverse August Cover

 

This Bike Town USA article was originally published in the August 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
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