The Main Avenue redesign/refresh project is moving along nicely and will continue into 2024 with the primary blocks of construction being Church to Elm and Elm to State. As the project has started to take shape (physically) and will continue to progress to the west in 2024, we thought it would be good to remind our citizens of our priorities around this project from a street design standpoint (in addition to sidewalk snowmelt), based on a planning study we commissioned in 2022.
- Narrowing the street with bump-outs is purposefully done to reduce the speed of traffic along Main Avenue through downtown Zeeland. Narrowing streets with “side friction” (bump-outs) is a proven method to reduce traffic speeds. For example, our existing block from Elm to Church.
- At various intersections and the introduction of some new “mid-block” crossings by Cityside Middle School and the Zeeland Historical Society, the added bump-outs not only help with reducing traffic speeds, they create a safer pedestrian crossing by narrowing the distance pedestrians need to cross a roadway. These safe pedestrian crossings are important at all times of the day for the general public, but they have an even heightened importance when adjacent to a school. In these new locations, a pedestrian no longer has to cross the added width of the street created by parking lanes.
- Although the new bump-outs create a reduced street width, they are as wide as the existing mid-block crossing between Elm and Church. Engineering models show that two school busses can safely pass each other if they were to pass through the bump-out at the same time. Additionally, the existing mid-block crossing has worked for many years in Downtown Zeeland.
- An added benefit of bump-outs is they do help define the designated parking lanes. This was specifically needed for the introduction of angled parking on the north side of Main between Centennial and Maple as we extend our downtown to the east.
We thank you for your ongoing patience during this exciting construction project. We understand that road construction is messy and can be frustrating at times. We hope however, that you will join us with excitement on what these improvements will do to further support the growth of downtown and create safer areas for vehicles and pedestrians.