Bike path proposal

Although nothing is yet set in asphalt, Ferrysburg officials are considering placing a millage before city voters to fund bike path extensions.
Marie Havenga
Nov 24, 2012


City Manager Craig Bessinger said they hope to land some grants along with a special property tax to build bike paths along three streets. The estimated cost is $75 per foot, for a total of $1.2 million.

A 15-year, 0.5-mill tax projects out to $1.3 million in revenue, according to city staff calculations. It would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 home about $25 each year.

The project would include paths on 168th Avenue from West Spring Lake Road to VanWagoner Road; North Shore Road from North Shore Estates to 174th Avenue; VanWagoner from 174th to the U.S. 31 west road right of way; VanWagoner from the U.S. 31 east road right of way to 168th Avenue; and VanWagoner between the U.S. 31 on/off ramps.

Ferrysburg officials plan to send out a survey to explain potential costs and seek input from residents before shifting into high gear on the project.

If City Council approves the millage proposal, language would need to be finalized in August 2013 in order for it to appear on the November 2013 ballot, according to Bessinger.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



So the city is now considering raising taxes, on home owners to pay for more bike path extensions? Maybe the city council has not noticed, but 90% of the people who ride bikes do not use the bike paths that we have now. All summer long they drive down the road, have cars swerve around them when the bike path is 10 feet away. So why should we pay for something, most of the people do not use anyway. Seems like if we are going to ask tax payers money, it should be put to better use. Building more bike paths is like building a bridge in Alaska, that goes nowhere.....


I so agree, the people on the bikes have no intention to use the bike paths.. You get your occasional soccer moms which use the paths, other than that they would make a great track for golf carts :)


There is much in your various comments that is simply wrong. I would encourage you to open your mind on the subject. Anecdotally, I see more older citizens walking on bikepaths than "soccer moms" who seem to be driving their kids to, we'll, soccer.


No, the city is considering asking voters to raise taxes to fund bike path construction. A big and significant difference. And how do YOU know "90 percent of people" don't use bike paths? What study can up you point us to that supports the veracity of your comment? Instead if summarily committing General Fund dollars to this project, the Ferrysburg City Council is being responsible in asking voters to approve this kind of tax and expenditure. Are bikepaths esential to a community? Most certainly not. Do they promote community while making it easier and safer for families and individuals to recreate and exercise in a community? Your protestation and anecdotal evidence aside, the answer is yes


I agree, but I hear not all of the Council supports this proposed tax.


Why was my comment placed incorrectly? I agree that the bike paths are NOT used, and we do not need another tax to support them!


The reasons people don't ride on the "bike path" is because you have no right of way on the path. They are not "bike paths" either, they are essentially sidewalks. They areas where these paths are going in have become so "developed" they need sidewalks!
If while riding you bike on the "bike path", you had to give right of way to all others on the path, including those driving across the path into and out of their driveways, stop at every road crossing, and put up with all the sprinklers, and it was legal to ride in the road, where would you ride?
There was a plan to put real bike lanes on Robbins Road, but all that happened was a speed limit increase!
These "bike paths" should be sold for what they really are: SIDEWALKS!


True, they are sold to the people as 'bike paths', and once constructed become 'pedestrian pathways'. They get you to think they are getting the bicycles off the street, making it a safer place to drive. But no one riding a bike will use them, they would rather ride out in the road anyway (because they can- and for no other reason).

If the path is going in your front yard, be prepared to clean up all the 'users' trash they will throw in your yard every week (from 20 years experience with GHT "bikepath" in my front yard).


These paths aren't designed for bikes. They should call them multi-use paths. Bike path is misleading. Then folks get mad when cyclists wisely avoid them.

Back to the Wall

MDOT and AASHTO call them "Non Motorized Facilities".


We walk the path around Spring Lake almost every day. We see a lot of runners, walkers and bikers (mostly at a moderate pace). Serious bikers use the roadway at a much higher rate of speed. We live in Spring Lake township and would greatly benifit the extension along 168th avenue. I would gladly pay the $50 a year to Ferrysburg general fund for use of the extension.


I just took a look at the roads in question. This should not be a question of adding "bike paths" but one of improving the roads themselves. All of these roads are substandard, narrow old roads except for North Shore Drive. 168th and VanWagoner are narrow, with minimal shoulder, roads that are fairly heavily traveled. For the urban area they serve, they are inadequate. North Shore Drive, for the most part has a paved shoulder that is quite adequate for bike riding. Additionally, the traffic is not such that there is a great need for a separate sidewalk.
In the VanWagoner and 174th area, the development has become such that there needs to be an upgrade to the road, which could be designed to better accomodate other users besides just motor vehicles, not merely spending money on "bike paths". I would suggest spending any money on making the roads better with paved shoulders. Makes everyone happy then!


True! Good thinking.


I for one use these 'bike paths' quite often on my daily cycle commutes around the area. Unfortunately, many are not safe for cyclists (which is why you see many faster cyclists riding on the road as they are legally entitled to). The multi-use paths are great for those who ride below 10mph with platform pedals, being able to stop or greatly slow down for driveways and the inattentive drivers pulling out of them. However, those of us who ride with clipless pedals (physically locks your feet to the bike) have a much harder time with very frequent starts/stops.

A MUCH better alternative is to add designated bike lanes to the roads in question and educate both drivers AND cyclists on the rules of the road and safe behavior. As cyclists, we must stop at stop signs and follow the rules of the road, but at the same time, drivers need to realize that cyclists have a legal right to ride in the road, and even take an entire lane. They need to pass only when safe to, and please give us at least 3' of clearance. Another issue drivers need to be aware of is when parallel parking, to check around them before opening their doors. I had some lady blindly open a door right into me the other weekend in Grand Haven, and it very well could have ended up in serious injury or death. Luckily I had a helmet. I had a high visibility jacket, as well as a 650 lumen headlamp and strobing tail light. She just flat out was not paying attention.

I am all for new bike routes (and even paying a bit more in taxes), but I feel designated bike lanes are a bit better choice since it offers cyclists the much safer right of when passing driveways, etc...


Anyone who lives with a bike path in their front yard is far from inattentive when approaching the pathway to exit their driveway. What a ridiculous statement. And we need to watch for bikes when we exit our cars, really? Take some responsibility for that situation yourself, you chose to ride there.

I do believe bike lanes would be the better answer, but the where do the peds walk?


I love bike riding. I think it is a great sport for the entire family, but I am amazed by the arrogance of those who are so worried about how it will impact "clip on" riders and those wearing fancy biking suits.

While I know bikers have a "legal right" to be on the road, their behavior is often just plain dangerous. I often see these "special bikers" taking full lane on the road while a nice newly funded bike path is waiting for their use. Then when they come to a stop sign, they just blow right through. It is amazing how these "high end" bicyclists want to exercise their rights to use the road yet they do not seem to want to exercise their responsibility to use it safely.

If I was driving my car at 25 miles per hour down VanWagner road people who say that I am a dangerous menace for going too slow, but for some reason having a bike do the same (or even slower) is ok?


No doubt there, the arrogance of some of these spandex riders is dangerous. What's up with that attitude anyway. I would get ticketed if I drove my motorcycle or truck that way!


Lets just say that a typical experience on our roads today yeilds many instances of "not following the rules"! I don't think it is limited to bicyclists. You don't have to wait at a traffic light very long to see any and all types of vehicles blowing through the Red light, even with the legal requirement to not enter an intersetion on a Yellow light.
When I am on my bike riding in town, I make a great effort to obey the traffic regulations. I have seen many that do not, both in cars and on bikes. One of the problems I have seen is the encouragement by some drivers for the bicyclist to crusie through an intersection. I stop, they are sitting there waving me through. This is a kind gesture, but it disrupts the flow and encourages continued "cruising thtough" the intersections.
As far as blocking traffic, I don't see this very often, mainly with large group rides that are not following rules. But there again, the "speed limit" on a surface road, is just that, a limit, not a God given right. You are not allowed to go over that limit, there is no requirement to drive at that specified limit.
And finally, I do go at least a doors length out into the lane when I ride by a parked car, because people do not look behind them before they throw open the door out into the traffic lane. I find this unbelievable! Besides that fact that if this happens to a biker, and he hits the door, they can be deflected out into the traffic lane and hit by a vehicle. This happened to an acquantance of mine in DC. The vehicle involved was a bus, and yes, they died!
At the very least you risk getting your doors ripped off your vehicle. I was riding in a school bus in front of the White Pines Middle school, back in the day when it was the Jr. High, the bus got both the front and rearr doors on that one. No one was injured.
So, yes, when you exit your car on the left side of the vehicle, I think it would be prudent for your safety to look behind before opening the door.
As far as clipless pedals go, there is no issue with getting your foot out of them. All it takes is a twist of the foot and you are out. If you can't do that, the pedal is not adjusted properly.
We all need to pay attention out there on the road. No one is perfect. Follow the rules, and everyone gets along, ignore the rules, whether it is running lights or harrasing others that are using the road legally, it is all the same. Simmer down! I actually used to feel safer riding in downtown DC, during rush hour, then I do riding my bike on an open county road here in West Michigan. Why is that?


While on the subject of bad drivers, some of our local school bus/harbor transit drivers are BAD. There have been several instances in the past few months where I would be out doing my inspections on a RR crossing in town, and bus drivers would blow through the activated signals (normally I would wave them through after they make a stop, but each time they have blown through, I have not).

While the fact that your average driver runs through the crossing and putting theirs and others lives at risk is commonplace, bus drivers/truckers doing this is totally unacceptable.

Say no to new taxes

Time to start licensing bikes using the streets just like cars. A $25 annual fee for riders over the age of 18 would pay for these improvements such as this one. No free lunch for bike riders anymore, you use, you pay.


A common argument against bicyclists’ use of roadways is that we “don’t pay gas taxes.” This argument is based on yet another erroneous assumption: that gas taxes (and license and registration fees and tolls) cover the full cost of road building and maintenance.

The fact is that roads are paid for through a number of other means, and to a significant degree. While it varies from place to place, a reasonable estimate is that only about 60 percent of road costs are covered through “user fees” such as gas tax, tolls and fees. The rest are covered by sales taxes, property taxes, impact fees, and in some places income taxes. What’s more, most bicyclists are also motorists, and of course pay gas taxes as well.

Motor vehicles are responsible for far more than 60 percent of the costs. Whenever a road is widened it is due to motor vehicle usage. Bike lanes and sidewalks (which only account for about 2 percent of road costs) are only “necessary” because of automobile use.

Gas tax funds are used to build sidewalks; the sidewalk is an element of the “street.” Should pedestrians also be required to pay user fees to walk on sidewalks?

Our streets are not “commodities” to be bought and sold; they are public spaces to be managed in a way that balances the needs of all users.


I think cyclists would agree with that fee, although they also own cars, so they aren't getting a "free lunch". They are paying as much as anyone.


they should fine the people that ride bikes on the road where there is a bike path.


These aren't "bike paths". They are multi-use trails which are dangerous for road cyclists to use. It's much safer and saner to use the road.


There are requirements to ride on "designated bike paths" when one is available. The only areas of any roads in this county that have actual designation, that I know of, are on Franklin and Columbus in GH, on the west side of Beacon Blvd. Even these designated lanes have huge holes and sewer grates that are 5 inches below road grade. Very dangerous to riders! Especially if riding at night, with approved lights of course, those holes are real threats.
All the other "bike paths" are actually sidewalks or "multiple use paths"! Check the township ordinances where the trails exist.
There are few if any actual "bike paths" in this county!
In GR they have started to establish a nice system with excellent markings.
The "bike paths" in this area were sold as one thing and built as a completely different thing!
Let your elected representative know this, don't just complain on the "Daily Astonishers" web site.
See this web site, one of many, to see what "bike paths" really look like!
I would ride on those! The ones we have here are not adequate and are an effort merely to provide sidewalks in developed areas that need them.
As I said before, the roads mentioned in this article need attention, that would accommodate other users, not "bike paths" as they exist in this county now!


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