Bike path millage extension sought

It appears the Spring Lake Township Board wants bike path construction to keep rolling along.
Marie Havenga
Jan 30, 2014

Board members have expressed interest in asking township voters to renew a 10-year bike path millage in the November election. An amount for the levy has not been set.

The current 0.5-mill tax expires this year.

While Township Manager Gordon Gallagher suggested seeking a 0.3- or 0.4-mill levy, several board members said they would rather ask for the half-mill again, and roll back the rate if they find they don’t need the full amount.

A 0.5-mill tax would cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $50 a year. That millage generates about $300,000 each year for the township.

“If we intend to build more bike paths, which we do, why not?” Township Clerk Carolyn Boersma said of a possible millage request.

If the measure does make the ballot, don’t expect to be reading about nonmotorized paths. The board wants to call them bike paths.

“Nonmotorized paths just confuse the issue,” Township Supervisor John Nash explained.

Nash said he’s on board with a request for 10 years, but isn’t certain a 0.5-mill request is fair to voters, especially in light of a Spring Lake Public Schools bond issue that is headed for the ballot in May.

“If you look at the poor voters, they’re getting it from every side,” Nash said. “... With a half-mill (from the most recent 10-year millage), we built 25 miles of bike paths. Do we need 25 more miles?”

The first construction priority is a half-mile stretch on the south side of M-104 from Fruitport Road to Krueger Street, according to Township Community Development Director Lukas Hill. That path could be constructed this fall at a cost of about $180,000.

Hill said he's uncertain if the path could still be built without a successful millage vote.

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

Comments

Former Grandhavenite

The whole area really has a great network of bike paths and I'm all in favor of expanding it. In terms of recreation, exercise, and actual transportation they're really an asset. I've lived all over the place, and the west Michigan area probably has the best and most extensive collection of bike paths I've seen apart from the more traditionally 'outdoorsy' areas like Colorado. Where I live now I'd have to load my bike onto a carrier, attach it to my car, and drive about 45 minutes to get to a nice long path. I'm particularly a fan of the rail trails like the Musketawa, White Pine, Hart-Montague, etc. Check them out if you have any interest in biking at all.

The rail trails are also nice for XC skiing this time of year. The only downside is having to pull your skis off at every road crossing, but in some of the more remote parts of the Musketawa the roads are miles apart.

watchingyou

I would be all for it if they would at some point continue the Taft path across the highway and link it in with the West Spring Lake Rd. path. Right now it ends at the shops and isn't even kept clear except for the little bridge just east of 174th. Continue it down 174th to Hickory and on Hickory to connect the loop. Just a thought.

jlebrasseur

I would also like a much safer crossing at third and pine in Ferrysburg. Other than 31/Jackson, that is the second most dangerous intersection for cyclists IMO. I have to cross there to get onto the rest of the network, and I cannot count how many times I have nearly been hit by drivers not paying attention.

Another area of great concern is at the end of hickory down by Holiday Hills. This is part of US Bike Route 35. The second you hit Norton Shores, the road has a nice bike lane/shoulder, but in Spring Lake you are forced to ride in the road around curves as there is no shoulder at all. They need to at least build a wide paved shoulder for bikes or a MUP. This is a major, federally designated cycling route; why is it so crappy in Spring Lake?

Lanivan

OK - I'm just going to come out and say it. Bikers in this area are careless, self-absorbed, fool-hardy, and way too trusting. I live in an area where there is a constant presence of bikers (during the season), as well as having miles of beautiful bike/walking paths, in the country where people drive at least 50+ mph, on roads with many twists, turns, and corners. Generally, bikers ride on the road, usually well off the berm into the lane. I rarely see a biker use any kind of signal when turning, or even slow down and make eye contact when approaching an intersection. They expect the driver to see them, slow down or stop, and veer around them even when this puts the driver in danger. It is a miracle there are not more accidents.

I am appalled at the posters who are incensed by drivers yelling, giving the finger, etc at them. You've got to be kidding me! If they have experienced the constant refusal to follow the rules on the part of bikers as I have, of course their patience is gone. JLB - I believe you when you say you are a careful biker, but you are absolutely in the minority.

Barry Soetoro

Ahhhh, so you live in one of those big houses on Lakeshore Drive?

Lanivan

I couldn't reside further away from Lakeshore Drive and still have a Tri-Cities address, but I do have good friends that live along that stretch, and when we take a walk when I visit, they remark on the very same problems in their neck of the woods. Although, to be honest, it seems much worse where I live.

bigdeal

Lakeshore Dr can be pretty bad, with the spandex cowboys riding five wide in the road. At least on Mercury Dr they are scared enough to ride single file!

openears

Do you refer to all athletes that where spandex as spandex cowboys? I agree that riding 5 abreast is stupid and against the law, however, I find your insult immature and creates further animosity between drivers and cyclists. Cyclists drive too and get just as annoyed and those thank make the rest of us look bad.

bigdeal

I really don't care what you think is insulting. I call it like it is, if the spandex fits, wear it cowboy.

LessThanAmused

Preach it Rev! PREACH IT! :-/

Former Grandhavenite

One time I was stuck behind a guy riding a bike down a narrow two lane road without any passing opportunity, and he was riding right down the middle of the lane which is allowed on a lot of roads. I was frustrated about the delay but I told myself, "Hey, he has as much right to be out here as I do, and he's following the rules of the road." At the next intersection he just completely blew through a stoplight when he saw that it was clear without even slowing down. It was infuriating after I'd been stuck behind him going 25 mph for several minutes and trying very hard to be patient and respectful by not passing which would have squeezed him over to the shoulder which had a bit of a drop off. So, I can see both sides of the issue. What I can't stand though are bikers who demand equality with other traffic when it's to their benefit, but then completely ignore the law and the social conventions of the road whenever it would slow them down.

To keep things in perspective the vast majority of bikers and drivers seem to treat each other reasonably well. I've noticed that out west where biking culture is more established bikers tend to make an effort to not slow down car traffic any more than necessary, and will often pull over to allow cars to pass.

I learned my lesson though. Nowadays whenever I see a biker I just shoot their tires out with a pellet gun because you see, I have places to go and stuff to do unlike everyone else out on the road (not really.)

Edit: Very good point about bikers being too trusting. I agree 100%, especially when I see them riding along the shoulder of a 55 mph rural road unable to see the traffic coming up behind them. No way would I trust every single driver passing me with my life, which is what they're essentially agreeing to. Of all the vehicles out there, the chance that at least one is distracted, drunk, having brake problems, or just is a terrible driver is pretty close to 100%.

Lanivan

Exactly. I used to be very patient and compassionate, but can't justify it any longer. I have seen too many instances of just plain careless biking. They have no regard for the safety of the driver or other passengers in the car, nor for themselves, apparently.

Highlander

Re-read your post and take a breath. So you cannot justify driving safely any longer because....?

Your opinion is based on your bias and ignorance.

Lanivan

Oh, I always drive safely, no matter what. It's my attitude that's changed, and this is based on years of experience of driving amidst many, many cyclists. I stand by my comment 100%. I no longer give bikers the benefit of the doubt. Almost without exception (and that would be the families out on bikes who use the bike paths, closely follow the rules of the road, and bike defensively), the cyclists in my area totally disregard the cars tooling by them at 50 mph, and could care less if a driver is forced to go into the opposing lane around a curve to swerve around them. They will not budge.

As to that bias and ignorance part of your comment, I've been a lifelong biker, and over the years, when applicable, rode my bike extensively everywhere, including work.

Highlander

It's your responsibility to pass safely. Hit a cyclist and you are responsible. BTW, the motorist is not "forced into the opposing lane". That is a choice. And when a motorist choses to do so, s/he better do so safely. Breathe, be patient, and everyone stays safe. The cyclist has a right to the edge, whether its a straight away or a curve. As a motorist, the law states that the vehicle (bicycle) ahead and the the right has the right-of-way until passed safely.

Sorry dude, you're off.

Lanivan

You seem defensive and aggressive about your cycling. I hope you consider my remarks with an open mind and that they offer some insight into how many drivers out there feel about cyclists, and I wish you many years of safe cycling enjoyment.

Highlander

nope. open minded by nature. just trying to make people realize that they need to be careful & share the road. you seem agitated in your posts.

Lanivan

"Agitated"? That's an interesting choice of words, and not one I hear often. Let's leave it as this: Let's hope those drivers going by you have open minds, are careful, and are willing to share the road with you, and are not fed up with (other) cyclists who hog the road and ignore the traffic around them.

Barry Soetoro

Yeah, dude. You've got a lot of anger in your heart.

Lanivan

LOL....that's "Agitator Dude", to you. How I love this forum - it just keeps getting better and better......

jlebrasseur

Here is some videos showing just how scary it can be when drivers don't pay attention and drive recklessly around cyclists.

I agree with both you, and Lani. There are groups of roadies around here who do in fact totally disregard stop signs, traffic lights, and ride five-wide in the roadways during their group rides.

That being said, there are also just as many horrid drivers out there, and the majority of normal cyclists (the commuters, tourers, and just average riders) DO follow the rules of the road.

The fact remains that cyclists are vulnerable, and inattentive or unsafe drivers are driving 2-ton killing machines. There needs to be better education and enforcement on BOTH sides.

Now to the videos...

This first one is of a city bus cutting into a marked bike lane at a high rate of speed, hitting the cyclist, and never stopping.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W...

This bad driver turns left directly into a cyclist who had the right of way.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1...

Double whammy in this one...
Car turns directly into cyclist who had the right of way, then a second car that was stopped at the stop sign accelerates right into him as he's on the ground in plain view. When he yells, the driver accelerates again.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6...

Then there are the psychos who purposely try to hit cyclists... Here are many in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C...

Car hits cyclist riding legally, takes off, and bus stops him
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b...

There are thousands more out there.

I now have two cameras on my new bike, facing front and rear, and I will be submitting the video, along with license plates to the police department of anyone that nearly hits me or harasses me.

After the whole ordeal of me getting run over by a bad driver last fall, I'm done just brushing off the bad drivers. I follow the law; why cant they?

Highlander

Motorists have never been careless (multi-tasking, speeding, running reds and stops signs etc), self-absorbed (aggressive, entitled driving,texting, cell-phoning, etc), fool-hardy (see careless).

Generally, bikers (children, leisure riders -5-10 mph) ride on the "multiple use path" and cyclists (fitness, athletes, etc) ride on the road to the right (15-30mph+) as far to the right as practicable according to vehicular law. As a cyclist, I see cyclists use hand signals all the time. Yes, as a cyclist, I expect you to see me. As a motorist, I expect you to see me, slow down and pass safely, when appropriate.

Rules of the road? All should follow them, cyclist and motorists included.

bigdeal

you don't get to make up definitions if 'others' can't make up words!

Wiki: Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or for sport. Persons engaged in cycling are referred to as "cyclists", "bikers", or less commonly, as "bicyclists". No references to bike paths or speed.

LessThanAmused

Hey, if he's got a definition to go with his word, then I say he's good to go!

LOL!

Don't be a bully now just cuz you can't fit your Big Deal on a bicycle seat!

Seriously, it's always a good idea to be an ambassador for whatever you're doing out in the public eye so that you can keep the negativity to a manageable level.

As hard as it may be to believe I almost always abided by the rules. Stayed on the far right, signaled,(when there was someone around to signal for)....stopped at lights and I still can't count the number of times morons behind steering wheels have thrown throw cans and bottles, cut across lanes to try and run me in the ditch, it happens frequently.

There are a LOT of idiots out there and no matter how good you are at following the rules some people just don't like bicyclists, just like some hate bikers and their loud bikes. I've gotten grief for that too, but hey, two wheels is the way to go, motorized, pedal, whatever. Just be an ambassador and represent your group well so you at least don't add more fuel to their fires.

bigdeal

Don't worry, I have no intentions of taking your spot as ranking bully nor as ranking preacher on this forum.

LessThanAmused

Oh, I don't know about that....you seem to do OK in both areas from time to time. Besides, I may be moving on soon and someone will need to fill the vacuum.

Lanivan

??!

tetrahydra

.

GH55

I ride a lot! I ride for fitness and transportation. I ride with the Rock&Road Thursday ride. I rarely, if ever, ride on the "bike paths", as they are provided in this area. They are not "bike paths"! They are sidewalks! As an example, if you had to stop your car at every road crossing and yeild right of way to everyone else on the road, would you use that road for actually getting somewhere? Or would you use the road right next to the avenue that allows you to travel at the speed you are capable and not stop when the regular traffic does not have to stop and actually have some right of way responsibility? I think you would choose tha latter! Such are the "bike paths" in this area. Stop signs at every crossing, and ordinances in place that require you to give right of way to the cars crossing the path! That is not a "bike path"!
On the other hand, I have a legal right to ride my bike on the road. I also have responsibilities to stay toward the right, when it is safe, obey traffic signals, and to signal my intentions. I try to do that! I am also one of the "lycra cowboys", as some have called that type of rider.
I do not believe the people stating they have to wait behind packs of riders, 5 wide, blocking the way! I have seen where we have been in a good size group, riding two abreast, which is legal in this state, and had large dump trucks, traveling in the opposite direction, comw way across a double yellow line to blast his horn at us. I thought I was going to die! Fortunatley, this particular driver displays his business name and phone number on the side of the truck, facilitating his talk with the Ottawa County Sherrif Department deputy!
I have seen, many bikers blow through stop signs, and fail to signal! Just like I have seen many drivers do the exact same thing. I cross US-31 at Hayes many mornings, it is a rare day someone does not blast through that light when it changes.
I will tell other bikers though, you blow through a stop sign when it is my turn to go, and you may find yourself on my hood!
That is unacceptable bahavior on everyone's part. There are rules out there and they need to be followed! The "bike paths" that are being built in this area are not bike paths, they are sidewalks, and do not expect anyone trying to get somewhere, regardless of the fact that they are either trying to get to work or out for a fitness ride, to use them. And don't tell me "fitness riders" are in your way when you are driving your car. We have just as much right to the road as everyone else. If we are following the rules. That applies to everyone. And yes, I think tickets need to be written! Not just for the bikers, but for all. There just seems to be rampant disregard for traffic laws that is getitng worse not better.

LessThanAmused

Excellent! Well said. (from a previously serious rider, who can't do it like he used to, but still wishes he could.....)

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