Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News About The People Trying To Bring Wireless Internet To Traverse City

The Leader & Kalkaskian reports that the president of Boardman River Communications has "...a record of four prison sentences over the course of 16 years."

See: In the wake of words: Local buzz on broadband grant applicant could create ripple

I made an earlier post about my questions, suspicions, and concerns about TCLP supporting broadband. And as a follow-up to that post Mitten Communications still does not have a web site but Boardman River Communications does: www.brconline.net

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Business That I Hope Succeed

Via the R-E: Two new businesses offer TC adventures

These businesses - a kayak and bike rental business downtown and culinary tourism - are ideas I have hoped someone would attempt. I wish these two enterprises the best of luck as they represent what can happen with a thriving trail system and local food movement.

The web sites for these businesses are:

-The River Traverse City
Come down to Clinch Park and rent a Kayak or a Bike! Come down and check out our base of operations in the Clinch Park along West Grand Traverse Bay. Bike downtown Traverse City and then get in a Kayak and see DownTown Traverse City like never before from the Boardman River.

-Tasty Morsel Tours
What we do:

Tasty Morsels Culinary Excursions provides food and drink-related tours of Traverse City and surrounding areas. Our tours are designed to give you a memorable and fun excursion complete with palate pleasing moments, knowledgeable guides and unique experiences. Whether you have a great interest in the culinary world or just an appreciation for the food you experience, you will find something in these tours to intrigue you. The tours aren’t just about eating and drinking (though, that is the highlight) – they’re about showing you ways in which food is grown, how it’s processed, how it’s transformed into the masterpieces that finally make it to your table. It’s our hope that at the end of the tour, you will have found many new favorites … and at least one thing you can no longer live without.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Traverse City Beaches

AOL calls Traverse City the "Malibu of Michigan" (no thanks) and the #8 Beach Town in America (it is funny how much TC dominates the comments section of this article).

And the TCCVB made a list of the best beaches for different pursuits: Suddenly, it’s Summer! A Beachcomber’s Guide to Traverse City

Since they didn't have a map of the selected beaches I made my own Google Map of Traverse City Beaches.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The City Commissioners may not listen but BATA apparently does.

BATA had a survey recently, the results indicated people wanted fixed routes, and BATA responded.

IPR: BATA Adds New Routes

MyNorth: Riding the BATA Bus In Traverse City Just Got Easier

GV: Bold Visions: Public Transportation in Northwest Michigan

The point I made in the comments section of the BATA survey was that young adults who leave for college or move back with budding families are usually exposed to busing systems on college campuses and these tend to be well-marked, easy to understand fixed routes. And if BATA wanted more riders then it needed something like color-coded fixed routes.

BATA has a PDF of their routes available for download: Cherriot / Traverse Express System Map

This is great news and I commend BATA for these changes. Being able to get to the airport from downtown is the best news of all.

In the future I would like to see BATA consider a fixed route between downtown Traverse City and Interlochen Arts Academy. This route could be used by Traverse City residents who work at IAA or want to attend a cultural event there; students at IAA could get into town on a regular business and spend their money there; and families with students at IAA would have another option for transport to and from school.

And it is worth mentioning that my second city of Steamboat Springs has a color-coded transit system that is free to the user.

Speaking of Steamboat, they're installing some great looking bus shelters.

See the SB Pilot:New bus shelters planned for downtown Steamboat

Affordable Housing

Back in 2007 when the Traverse City Commission voted against the unanimous recommendation of the planning commission for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) they did so at the bidding of a few sour curmudgeons.

At the time a big part of the discussion was affordable housing.

Based on this topic showing up in a couple of recent articles in the Record-Eagle and an email from a business owner to school parents asking if anyone knew of an apartment or efficiency for rent downtown, it seems the issue of affordable housing is being discussed again in Traverse City:

County looks at housing trust: Funds could be used to build affordable housing in GT
A 2009 housing needs assessment from the Northwest Michigan Council of governments predicts Grand Traverse County will need up to 575 affordable rental units...

The Land Bank Authority often pulls one or two buildable lots close to Traverse City from foreclosure sales for use as Habitat for Humanity affordable home projects.

Those close-to-town lots are "truly a blessing," said Nancy Kiogima, family services manager for Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region.

'Depot property' eyed for affordable housing
"We've been trying to do something with that property for a while, it would be nice to get it on the tax rolls,"

My reading of these indicate there is a shortage of housing options in downtown and the city is looking to get more tax revenue from new properties.

Had the City Commissioners allowed ADU's in 2007 they would now have:
- a diverse array of downtown rental options at various price points (and without the city having to develop, lease, or sell anything)
- increased tax revenues for the city via higher property values and ADU related fees that the City could have imposed
- fewer homes in foreclosure and for sale due to the owners having the option of additional income streams
- less traffic into and out of town

And all of the other reasons you'll find under the ADU tag.

This actually reminds me the chicken issue. The Record-Eagle originally editorialized in a belittling manner the idea, then it was found that the City had to allow them in order to comply with state law, and this month the first Coop Loop was an incredibly popular success with over 200 people on the tour.

I believe the ADU issue will evolve in the same way - sometime people will see the value they can add to this city.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In Vancouver They Are Called Laneway Houses

Seattle calls them 'backyard cottages'.

And as I mentioned in that post, in Traverse City we refer to them as ADU's.

Vancouver now allows 'laneway houses' and they look amazing.

See the Globe and Mail: Living small in Vancouver
The city’s first laneway house to be installed on a permanent site attracted a crowd of more than 1,000 to a two-day open house over the weekend.

If it’s an indication of demand for the 500- to 750-square-foot homes, then business may soon be booming for developers in the business of building these prefab constructions.
Via TH: Vancouver's EcoDensity Program Produces an Explosion of Small Green Modern Design

When I saw these designs I immediately thought of the business opportunity this could be for Traverse City's own Cottage In A Day to provide a local pre-fab solution if this type of design were ever permitted.

It has to be simply a matter of time until a critical mass of homeowners in Traverse City realize that allowing detached dwellings makes a lot of sense in many ways.