Pedestrians Confused about What’s Walkable Downtown

Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 9:02 am
By: 
Mark Meyer

Photos by Raymond Holt.

Faced with signs pointing in myriad directions and downtown streets lined with orange and white barrels and cones (not to mention the similarly-colored barricades), what’s a downtown pedestrian to do these days?

One alerted ELi via Twitter yesterday, describing the difficulty he faced in finding a spot to cross Grand River Avenue at Abbot Road en route to his job at Michigan State University.

Zachary Neal, a resident of the Glencairn neighborhood, faced several street detours as he tried to make his way on foot safely across the busy roadway.

“At one point (Tuesday morning) all pedestrian access to the Abbot and Grand River crossing was blocked off,” Neal said, when contacted later Tuesday afternoon. “All of the signs indicated that crossing Grand River on foot was not an option.”

Neal said the alley behind the new Target store was temporarily blocked, cutting off access to the store’s back entrance.

With its sidewalk ripped out for now, Campbell’s Smoke Shop, at 207 M.A.C. Ave., directed its customers to a back entrance, while its next-door neighbor, the soon-to-close Mackerel Sky Gallery, faced a similar predicament with signs and detours and construction equipment clogging the streetscape outside its front door.

Sidewalk repair along M.A.C. Avenue has turned up more underground vaults, adding complication to reconstruction.

Asked to capture the scene visually for ELi’s readers, photographer Raymond Holt found his way around downtown amid the colorful array of stationary guides and arrows pointing every which way, but reported back it wasn’t easy.

City Planning staff has said they hope to have everything accessible again soon. No word yet on when Albert Avenue or the new parking garage will fully open.

 

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