Traffic Calming Project in Northside Kalamazoo

Exhibition driving, or fast, noisy driving that disturbs public peace, has been a constant source of frustration for Northside residents. Additionally, the problem is only increased when this dangerous driving takes place adjacent to LaCrone Park. The City has a potential solution to calm traffic and meets with Northside residents to discuss and preview.

Northside residents voice skepticism at the city’s solution to exhibition driving

The City of Kalamazoo installed semi-permanent street chicanes, bump-outs designed to yield traffic, on William Street, in response to Northside residents complaints of exhibition driving. A demonstration was held on Thursday, July 30 to demonstrate the effectiveness of the chicanes, and to allow city officials to hear resident feedback.

Exhibition driving, or fast, noisy driving that disturbs public peace, has been a constant source of frustration for Northside residents. Additionally, the problem is only increased when this dangerous driving takes place adjacent to LaCrone Park, a public space frequented by young children.

After analyzing traffic patterns, city officials have identified chicanes as a possible solution to dangerous driving. The project, estimated to cost $30,000, includes chicanes placed at 24 other Northside locations. However, residents are skeptical that the chicanes provide an effective solution to the problem. Residents wonder if speed bumps, which are less cost-effective, would be more effective than the chicanes. A driver sped through the chicanes during the city officials’ presentation, further illustrating their point.

It is unclear if city officials will continue with their original plan to install more chicanes in 2020. Kalamazoo County Commissioner Stephanie Moore, however, is more concerned with the narrative that is told about the Northside. Her concern is that the media portrays Northside residents as the perpetrators of this reckless driving, when really the culprits do not live in the neighborhood, Moore said.

“Change the narrative, don’t make it just be about us,” Moore said. “We have to hold the people responsible that are sitting downtown that are making decisions.”