$1M sought for bike path connections

Local, county and state leaders are hoping to hit the trail with almost $1 million in federal funds to design a nonmotorized path system that links the Lakeshore with the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.
Marie Havenga
Apr 9, 2014

Spring Lake Township Community Development Director Lukas Hill is heading up a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant application request that will be submitted in the next couple of weeks.

If approved, the T.I.G.E.R. grant would be used for engineering and design of the North Bank Trail extension, Grand River Greenway and Spoonville Trail, a collection of 50 miles of nonmotorized paths through the Grand River valley. The regional trail system, dubbed “the Grand Connection,” is designed to connect the Lakeshore with the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.

To see a map of the system, download the PDF (Related File) below this story.

The 28-mile Grand River Greenway would run on the south side of the Grand River and eventually connect with Allendale trails, which connect to Grand Rapids, according to Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Director John Scholtz.

“It really would be awesome,” Scholtz said. “People could ride from Grand Rapids right out to the Lakeshore. Grand Valley State University students could ride from the Allendale campus to the downtown (Grand Rapids) campus and be going along beautiful parks along the way. All of Ottawa County would benefit from this.”

Scholtz said the county currently has rights to land all the way through Eastmanville, and hopes to have Greenway construction underway in the next five years. He said the T.I.G.E.R. grant, with about $290,000 in Greenway planning funds, could be a huge jumpstart to that.

“It’s kind of a long shot, but it could really give a boost to several trail projects which would be wonderful,” Scholtz said.

The four-mile Spoonville Trail would run across the new M-231 bridge and connect the Grand River Greenway to the North Bank Trail, which currently runs through Spring Lake and Crockery townships.

Spoonville is the name of a former sawmill town in that area that was established in 1856.

County Land Use Planning Specialist Aaron Bodbyl-Mast said the T.I.G.E.R. grant would provide $40,000 for The second phase of the project from Leonard Road to the North Bank Trail.

The North Bank Trail runs from Fruitport Road east into Crockery Township, and currently ends at 130th Avenue. Plans are to connect it to the Musketawa Trail, which feeds into Grand Rapids connector paths.

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



Such strange priorities in difficult economic times. One in five tri-cities residents faces hunger, and $1 million will be spent on bike paths so people can ride into GR? I do not get it.


I commute by bike during the warmer months (and there are MANY others in the area), and it literally saves me several hundred dollars a month on gas. I have always wanted a better route to GR where I will not be run down by inattentive drivers.

Cycling to GR would only take 1.5 hours at the most and you get a great workout in the process and are much healthier because of it (if everyone cycled, healthcare costs would drop quite a bit). With the incredible amount of money you save cycling, you can buy a feast for several families. In some states, companies actually pay people more in the form of bonuses to cycle to work instead of driving since it cuts the cost of healthcare.


How far do you commute?


It is interesting that Google maps says it takes 3 hours to get from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids by bike. Do you think an hour and a half would be cut off the trip with the path?

Also, I love the concept of real concrete savings on health care by biking. Can you point me to any studies that show where that has happened at more than just a single example company? I see a lot of people online saying it, but no one actually citing confirmed examples with real data.

I am NOT opposed to bike paths, but I am struggling with the idea of realistically commuting from GH to GR. Even if it was just an 1.5 to get there, think about the opportunity costs. That is about 2 more hours a day away from your family and social interactions since a commute is not likely to be done as a group (unlike other types of biking activities).

Also, I am curious, if you bike to work and back don't you need some rest time before being your best at the work place. I know exercise can be invigorating and renewing, but can you really hop off of a bike after an 1.5 and start giving your employer all you've got?

Again, I am NOT anti-bike path (I think we should pursue this), I just think the idea of a regular GR commute on a regular basis is a bit of a stretch.

GH Citizen

I agree with jlebrasseur, and myself commute via bicycle to Holland. Sometimes a different view is needed to see past your concerns. There is a great path from Muskegon to Grand Rapids in the Musketawa Trail. But from our area the best route is Leonard via Spring Lake. It's far from the safest path. A simple bike lane is all that is needed and being put in all over in Grand Rapids. Might be a cheaper solution than a full blown path.


Those who work for a living, and today are paying more out of there weekly paycheck for increase immigrant and social entitlements, should be able to enjoy at least some benefits from those income and/or property taxes.
Such as the bike path, our local property taxes are high, but if we choose to live in a great area, such as Ottawa County or West Michigan. With the natural environmental and public benefits, then please let us have some choice on where to spend some of our working dollars, or taxes.
It seems the working class is shrinking, and being required to pay more in taxes every year, for the runaway costs of government and liberal entitlements. Can at least we spend some of our taxes, on something that we enjoy for once? God Bless the Constitution.


Bike paths put financial responsibility on many of those in the U.S.who can't possibly use the bike paths, yet they are being taxed for them. Funds for bike paths are generated by printing presses.


I do believe Quin has a point, except I would throw the hunger stat right out the window. No one in the Tri-Cities, small cities, or big cities in Michigan, for that matter, is facing hunger. However, I would replace hunger with "road repair." A million bucks could be allocated in the dissolving efforts of MDOT and the privatizing of Michigan's road building, repair, and maintenance projects for better efficiency, better cost control, and much better quality of our roads.

The bigger question, is why are they calling them "bike paths?" We all know they will not be used by the bicycle bullies. They will continue to arrogantly use the road ways and give the rest of us the international salute when we ask them to use the bike paths.


Unfortunately, your comment about "bicycle bullies" is true. It is disheartening when we spend dollars money on paths to keep people safer only to have the paths ignored by those who chose to wear those tight bike suits. It is interesting that as I travel up and down the bike paths (I happen to live on one) by foot or by bike I am amazed at how friendly people are. But the people who ignore the paths putting themselves and motorists in danger seem to be rude and anti-social.

I am also amazed at how many of the people who ignore the bike paths also ignore traffic rules. I see so many of these road bikers coasting through stop signs, cutting across lanes without signaling and ignoring traffic lights completely. I have asked several of my "biker" friends about this and they claim it is largely because it is too much work for them to unclip and reclip their fancy shoes from the petals. I admit that I do not have much of an understanding about how that works, but do you think it would fly if I said something like "I do not want to stop at stop signs because it puts too much wear on my brake pads"


I do ride in the road but I follow the rules as well. There are the bad apples though (mainly 'roadies') who disobey the rules of the road, but there are also just as many drivers who don't follow the rules as well; just look at my accident last year when I was run over by an innatentive driver who ran a red.

I too, have to clip in to my pedals, and I can say it is just an excuse by the roadies. It literally takes a fraction of a second to clip in and clip out. It is a matter of twisting your foot slightly to unclip, and simply pressing your foot onto the pedal to clip in (at least for SPD style pedals).

I agree, many of the wannabe pro cyclists are snobs (they always look down on us touring cyclists) and break the rules, but that doesn't mean everybody who cycles on the road instead of the sidewalk is an idiot.


I almost agreed with you until you dropped the word "roadie." Are we adults that can communicate without insults?


Good points. I think you have a reasoned approach and response here.


A perfect example of one of the problems with the "bike paths" are clearly illustrated in the photos that accompany this article. The first: three people taking up the entire path, the second, walking on the wrong side of the path.
I am not sure about all of the paths in this area, but I do know the ones in Grand Haven Township, by ordinance, put the bike riders, riding on the "bike paths", at the absolute bottom of the right of way list, to include below people driving across the path on their driveways. So, no need to look when pulling out of your driveway, because if that biker runs into your car, its the biker's fault!
One reason people may seem rude and anti-social when interactions between cars and bikes go bad is because there is clearly one side of this interaction that has much more to lose than the other. I would also say that it seems to take too much effort for the car driver to lift their big toe off the pedal on the right for two seconds as opposed to roaring around a blind curve on the left side of the double yellow line to get around some of those "biker bullies"!


In the case of the double yellow line situation, shouldn't a biker be compelled to pull off the side of the road just a combine, tractor or other farm implement would if they were holding up general traffic.

I do not mean to sound anti-biker. In fact, my entire family loves biking ... we find it refreshing and fun and are glad paths are available for this past time.

On the other hand, I find so many bikers arrogant in their "stand their ground" attitude when simply pulling off to the side for a moment would make for a much safer environment for both the biker and the car driver.

Like it or not, most roads were built primarily for autos and not for bikes. More than 99% of the traffic on most roads is motorized vehicles. Look at the materials used to build roads, look at the width of the roads ... they are built for motorized vehicles.

I want to be a good partner and share the road with bikers and I hope when it is necessary for me to have my bike on the road that other drivers will do the same for me. On the other hand bikers need to stop their arrogance and start following the rules of the road.

If you need to unclip and reclip (what ever that means) to stop when a sign or signal tells you to do so... then do it. If that is too hard then it is time to use different technology. If bikers would just follow the rules of the road (try signalling for a start), maybe there would be less problems in sharing the road. I teach my kids that they need to follow the rules of the road ... in their cars and on their bikes.


Ahhh, where do I begin? You want me to pull off the road and get out of the way when I am riding my bike, LEGALLY, on the road, but when you want to ride your bike on the road: "I want to be a good partner and share the road with bikers and I hope when it is necessary for me to have my bike on the road that other drivers will do the same for me." You want the drivers to share the road with you!
Come on!
When I am riding on the side of the road lane, which is legal for me to do so, which is usually 10 or more feet wide, I am taking up less than 2 feet of that lane. A car is usually about 6 feet wide, some larger vehicles a bit wider, and leaving a good gap of about three feet, still keeps everything all contained within a lane.
Most combines and tractors hauling any kind of implement are much wider than the lane and that is usually the reason they pull off the side.
No, a biker should not be compelled to pull off the side of the road to make way for some other user! It is the same as anyone else using the road. Unless you are on a limited access highway there is no minimum speed. You are not gaurenteed a specific speed. If I choose to drive 40 in a 55 mph speed limit section of raod, which is a common occurence on Lake Shore Drive, should I be compelled to yeild to drivers that are traveling faster? No! And they don't!
When I am traveling down the road on my bike, in a legal manner, and the car driver goes over the double yellow line to get by me, they are in the wrong not me!
If we all drove and biked pefectly, which we don't, in your scheme, I would still be causing trouble because you think the roads are built for motor vehicles, not bikes!
The target for today is the bikers, but there is a general lack of good design in our transportation system. We have shackled ourselves with a system that works only for one mode of transportation, motor vehicles. f you do not belive this try and take a stroll down the side of 28th street in GR. Laughable!
We all just need to chill out, take it a bit slower and have respect for others on the road ways. It is not a race track!


Going 45 in a 45 mph zone does not constitute treating the road as a race track. It is being used exactly as it is designed.

One more question, if you were in your car, would you really be ok with me driving my car 15 mph in a 45 mph zone in front of your car? Would you simply sit patiently behind me? If so, I say great. Your example of going 40 in a 55 mph zone is MUCH different than someone going 15 in a 55 mph zone.

I think the core issue here is just as you mentioned. We need to have respect for others on the road way and not make up the rules as we go.

I know that as a courtesy, I would always have respect for people that I am holding up and pull over to let others pass. That would be true if I was on a bike or in a car.


I am not driving a car in front of you at 15mph! I am riding a bike. If you can't take the 5 seconds out of your day to be respectful, courteous and safe while making that pass, you have no business driving! That is the deal, you are not the only one on the road and that is a display of arrogance plain and simple!
There are many examples of where you have no chance on a road like Lake Shore to pas safely a vehicle going 40mph. There are very few instances where passing a bike at 15mph would take you more than 100 yards or perhaps a delay of 5 seconds.
Your example is not credible!
I am not "holding up anyone! You are placing others in danger with your unreasonable expectations.
I have people going in the opposite direction honk their horns and in two instances had the Bark & Chips guy in his huge dump truck come across the yellow line while traveling in the opposite direction. So, how am I imposing on them?
I am not! It is irrational anger.
I am at least trying to reduce the traffic, make fewer pollutants and use less resources.
What are you doing besides making demands I get off YOUR road?
If these "bike paths" were designed correctly, they would be used, they are not so they don't get used.


Ok here it goes, now most of this is just a way of blowing off some steam. But it is food for thought, I am today applying for a patent on a device that goes on the front of any automobile. It will be removable and easily transferable to your other vehicles, designed like the old Cow Catchers on the front of steam trains. Except these will be especially designed for those rude, and obnoxious bikers who own the roads and you know who they are.
Get the picture, now I am sure that some of you will laugh, and some of you will be totally angry, but maybe that is because you are the ones who are being obnoxious. Remember this is just a way of refocusing, or shining some light on an issue that must be solved?


Tight bike suits? What does that have to do with anything? Do you watch football or baseball? What are they wearing?


Actually the paths being proposed are used by the roadies. They are quite different from the sidewalk-type paths you are thinking of (and I agree are useless).

The paths like the one being proposed do not cross driveways every few feet; instead there are long stretches of uninterrupted path between road crossings which actually make it an efficient way to get around. Muskegon to GR takes about 1.5 hours on the Musketawa.

The current alternative for GH to GR is riding along Leonard, and doing that is honestly a death wish.

As for the other commenter, I ride between 30-50 miles a day with a day off from riding each week. I also do extensive bike touring. Last summer I rode to TC for a week, camped, toured Leelanau; something that would cost the average person hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to do by conventional means (hotel/cabin rental, driving, etc...). I did that entire week long trip on less than $50, felt great while doing it, breathed fresh air the entire way, and got a much more intimate look at what makes Michigan great; you miss so much of this state when you are zipping by in a car, sealed off from the world around you.

I'll look up the studies on healthcare. They are out there.


I use bike paths and am also ride on the road. Older bike paths, such as the one on Lakeshore, are not designed well for cycling because of the frequent driveways, turns, bumps, etc. The new paths in Spring Lake are much more rider friendly, similar to the "Rails to Trails" systems. Yes, there are some riders that don't obey the rules but drivers are far worse. I state this from experience. I pay the same taxes you do and am entitled to use a portion of the road.


I pay insurance, tax and title. I expect roads.
Peddlers pay what exactly? Why would I be charged for there path? This is not a priority. Fund schools, roads, safety, health care, homeless and others before this. Insanity.


I rode the path last night. There were a lot of kids using it. I guess they should walk down the road instead, or better yet, sit inside and play on the computer.


There is a need for alternative transportation! Do we just continue to build more roads with no other alternative available or do we "progressively" see that there are alternatives to cars?
It amazes me how quickly the discussion degraded into name calling. "Bike Bullies"? Really, how about SUV right hook bully, or semitruck running the red light at Hayes and US31 bully? And that is just what happened today on my short ride to work! We all see everyday, the lack of attentiveness to the rules of the road. Especially, during bad weather, stop signs just seem to be simple suggestions!
This "bike path" actually seems to be something that will provide a means of getting from one place to another. Most of what has been built in this area are sidewalks and make riding on them a real pain, literally, in the butt to actually get anywhere on them. The stop signs at each road crossing, placing them on the wrong side of the road for the actual direction of travel, lack of respect at crossings by auto traffic, (try crossing US31 at Ferris on the "bike path" even with crossing signals) curb cuts at every driveway, lack of timely mantenance, and the list goes on! for example, if I am riding on the path, and have to turn at a four way stop, I will have to stop twice, for each road crossing, instead on once if I rode throught the intersection in the road! Where would you ride?
The problem with this subject is that bikes and bike riders are seen merely for the recreational aspect of their use. That is why there is all the sqwacking about people in their Lycra outfits. They are merely taking up space on the road having their "fun" with no real intention of getting anywhere! In that light, how do you know that person in the car in front of you is actually going somewhere to be productive and not for "fun"? Its not just the "biker bullies" that don't follow the road rules. When was the last time you saw someone roll through a stop sign, sit in the left lane on the highway, fail to use a turn signal, run that red light, text, or speed? Ahhh, everyday, every drive! There are few if any that can say they never speed. Most demand the speed limit and beyond as their god given right, not as the top limit that stretch of road is designed to safely sustain.
A very interesting blog by Elly Blue, author of "Bikenomics, covers many of these issues with many studies and data. http://takingthelane.com/bikenom...
One of the issues that are pretty clear with the winter we had here, is that almost all riders in this area, also have cars. I know I do! So, yes, I pay those fees and taxes, but my bike does not cause the damage or cogestion that putting more cars on those roads does.
Some of the gang of riders also commenting on this site are prodigious commuters, doing 20-30 miles each way is alot. Most of those commutes are not really within the means of most. What is within the means of most are those with rides of 2-5 miles! 10-20 minutes is very doable. Mine is about 4 miles and takes me 20 minutes when I keep telling myself to chill and slow down. I have done longer and find it great! When I arrive at work I am alive and alert, No I don't need a rest! People recognize when I ride and when I don't, it really affects my spirit!
With the national health issues we have in this country, ripping on bikers because they are not shackeld to their car for their commute is just plain mean spirited.
Please design these new "bike paths" as that and not sidewalks, then perhaps peple will use them to ride on to get somewhere!


Again, I love bikers ... I am a biker. I just do not like the arrogance. By the way, Bikenomics is not a true "study" it is not peer reviewed. It is a special interest document designed to promote a specific lobbying group.

By the way, I believe there is a problem with idiots in sports cars (or any vehicle) just like there is a problem with idiots in biker suits. It just seems like the people with the best bike outfit and fanciest equipment are the biggest bullies. On the other hand there are a LOT of great bikers out there. Just slow down a bit and enjoy the fellowship on our local bike paths. It is worth your time. Not all bikers are jerks ... any more than all drivers are jerks. But that fact does NOT eliminate the fact that poor behavior on the part of some bikers put both the bikers and drivers at risk.


I not sure if Ms. Blue would agree with the distinction of her being a lobbying group. I think she is just trying to advance an alternative to the unsustainable costs associated with motor vehicle use when there is a viable alternative.
I will heartily agree with you as to the existence of jerks out there. I have seen varieties of all, motor bikers on I-96 doing wheelies at more than the speed limit, dorks in Chicago on a BMX bike cutting across an intersetion, semis on a regular basis running the red ligts on US-31, and bicyclists ignoring traffic signals. In fact I have had other bikers rear end me when I stop at the stop signs (Sheldon, Pennoyer, 5th Street Intersection). Idiots!
The poor behavior is across the board, and is not isolated in the people that ride bicycles. Everyone thinks they are better than average. What training do we provide for anyone once you get that license in your hand? Unless you are absolutely terible, none. Even in cases where people are obviously doing stupid stuff, driving over a 100mph on Mercury Drive and drunk, it is seen as the fault of the road they were driving on, never the responsibility of the person behind the wheel!


What happens if a biker causes an accident? Are they responsible for all cost? Shouldn't they need to carry insurance to be on the road as well?


Covered under Michigan's No-Fault.


I want a path to use my horse and buggy....


If a biker is riding in the road and following traffic laws, maintaining the legal minimum speed on roads that have it, riding in the bike lane not the middle of the road I have no problem with them in the road. If they are riding on a road with a 55 mph speed then they need to be like all other slow moving vehicles like farm equipment and have a slow moving vehicle sign and be required to pull over for traffic to pass them safely. If bikers want to ride in the road with no bike lane fine but ride as far to the side as reasonably possible and get out of the flow of traffic when you are blocking everyone and creating a serious hazard when everyone has to swing around them to avoid hitting them. Don't ride with music blasting on you ipod (or whatever) so you can't hear the traffic coming behind you. Wear reflective gear when you ride at night so cars can see you. Really though for everyones safety ride your bike on the bike path and be safe. When a 4,000+ pound vehicle hits you no matter who had right of way you are more likely dead than not so why chance it? We have beautiful well maintained (for the most part) bike paths that except for prime times are not busy at all use them and prevent an accident that can alter lives. I can not tell you how many times I have had bike come flying through an intersection with out ever even stopping or looking for cars. If I hit you in my 7500 lb truck you will be dead I will not be able to live with the guilt and two lives are ruined. Just this past week we were riding past the beach and there was a person riding in the road not along the edge but middle of the lane at a very leisurely pace (not close to the 25mph speed limit) blocking traffic. Cars and trucks are swerving to avoid hitting this person and they simply flipped everyone off who honked or yelled at them to get off the road and onto the clear safe sidewalks. If the person had been hit many hear would be yelling that the cars were at fault ..........


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