Bike path decision postponed

Ferrysburg City Council has put the brakes on a decision to put a bike path millage before voters.
Marie Havenga
May 21, 2013


City leaders are considering a 0.5-mill levy for 10 years to construct bike paths along North Shore Road from the fire barn at 174th Avenue west to North Beach Park, and along 168th Avenue from West Spring Lake Road to VanWagoner Road.

Councilman Chris Larson suggested tabling the decision until the June 3 council meeting in hopes that more residents would come to discuss the proposal and voice their opinions.

Council voted 5-2 Monday night to table the decision. Councilwoman Regina Sjoberg and Mayor Dan Ruiter cast the dissenting votes.

Sjoberg's husband, Peter Sjoberg, spoke against the nonmotorized path plan during a public comment period prior to council's discussion. He said that if the city is going to provide bike paths, it may as well provide golf courses.

“The way the economy is, I don't think too many people want to fork over $50 to $100 a year,” Peter Sjoberg said. “Who is going to get $1,000 a year worth out of (bike paths)?”

Councilmen Larson and Michael DeWitt both answered “I would.”

The estimated cost of the two bike path projects is $911,000, according to City Manager Craig Bessinger.

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



Bike paths, or at least smooth bike lanes are needed along North Shore Dr. The road is so rough that it eats bike tires/tubes.

More people use the paths than Sjoberg and Ruiter think. Heck, the North Bank Trail is very busy most of the time. Every time I drive through there, I see many walkers/runners/cyclists in the roadway since there is NO sidewalk or bike lane.

North Shore Drive is dangerous for both cyclists and walkers alike with its rough surface, hills, and the blind curves near the beach. Cyclists are forced to ride in the road on these blind curves, and the potholes through there cause them to swerve all over the place to dodge them. It is a lawsuit waiting to happen when someone gets run over. Would the village rather pay for the bike path and get something out of the deal, or have someone file a (possibly frivolous but still costly) lawsuit when they get hit by a car there?

Of course, I bet Peter Sjoberg is the same type of person that moans and complains about cyclists being in the roadway...


I agree that bike paths are needed heading out North Shore Drive, however, I question the need on 168th. There are few homes along that stretch and there is no path at Van Wagoner or beyond to connect to. The bikes riding on the roadway (as depicted by the "share" sign) would probably not begin using the path as they already do not use bike paths because of the stopping and starting required (they feel safer in the roadway).

My opinion - build a path to the beach and call it good for now. Use the "extra" money to start saving up to widen the bike path across Smith's Bayou bridge instead.

M. Louis Wolf

I agree about 168th and North Shore Drive. I don't see a cost-effective way to solve the Smith's B. Bridge issue however.

I don't see the 168th spur being of much value for the costs. If it is supposed to be servicing the people out toward Taft. Spring Lake Township should be looking at improve Taft access to the trails which run out toward Holiday Hills or Spring Lake Rd.. There are other work-arounds there. There are only about 6-8 homes which cannot avoid riding on 168th. The rest can sling around on the side streets to get to Spring Lake Rd if neccessay.

The North Shore spur would benefit the whole community, both beach and pier access for families in town, and allow a safe diversion for beach residents who want to ride to Miss Lisa's or Grand Haven. This would be a great community asset.


Isn't it amazing that someone would know that Mr. Sjoberg doesn't want bikes on the road just by virute of the fact that he objects to more taxes in this economy? And talk about law suites. The City is liable for injuries sustained on bike paths. There have been several suits involving those injuries.
The question is not if bike paths are good or bad. The question revolves around the wisdom of asking taxpayers to shell out more money each year - for ten years - when we have over 8% unemployment in our state.
And why not ask the residents on North Shore if they want a bike path six feet from their front doors?


I live on North Shore and I would say thanks but no thanks , I pick-up enough litter from the cars,to now have a steady stream of bicycles in the front yard can only mean trouble


What would be a better use of any millage would be to make what is already there more usable. There is a paved shoulder on North Shore Drive for almost the entire length from the Fire Barn to North Pier. What is a problem is the changing and degraded condition of the shoulder. In the dune section there are storm drains that are dangerous to try and ride across and curbs on some of the sections that requires either staying out in the road or jumping up and down these sections.
There is no need for a completely separate "bike path", which would not ba a bike path anyway.
Expending tax dollars on a "bike path", really a multi-use path (sidewalk), on 168th, with the current barely adequate condition of that road for cars, narrow, bad pavement, would be ridiculous.
There really needs to be some thought put into these "paths". The way they are constructed in this area, they are really sidewalks. Outside the city limits, the residential buildup has been substantial. There comes a time when the roads and the pedestrain facilities need to be upgraded. Building "bike paths", and then expecting people riding bikes that are trying to get somewhere, to ride at 10mph and yeild right of way to all others, including those in their drive ways is not reasonable. Riding up and down all the curb cuts(I have alwasy wondered why those have to be such a sharp angle), bouncing across every drive way and tree root bulge is neither enjoyable nor conducive to encouraging people to use these "bike paths".
And finally, OMG, rajaju, talk about NIMBYism! A steady stream of bicyclists, litter and trouble! That is just simple exclusionism. You prefer the stead stream of cars, trucks, SUV's and loud motorcycles, over some bicycles? I can understand that, I know the people I ride with or when I am on my way to work, I am just pitching litter everywhere and making all kinds of noise, with my playing cards clipped in my wheel spokes!
Bicycles are a mode of transportation that is legally allowed to use any and all roads except most limited access highways. The speed limit on North Shore Drive is 25mph! As gas gets more expensive, there will be more people seeking alternatives to cars!


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