"Red Cedar Greenway" project to improve safety, beauty of campus river corridor
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State University campus would gain three miles of improved bicycle and pedestrian paths along the Red Cedar River under a plan discussed today by the university's Board of Trustees.
The goals of the "Red Cedar Greenway Master Plan" include improving safety by separating foot and bicycle traffic, encouraging non-motorized travel and integrating campus paths and trails with the scenic Lansing River Trail on the west and with Meridian Township trails on the east.
"The proposed plan creates a path system that provides a safe, efficient and pleasant transportation option for bikers and pedestrians," said Jeff Kacos, director of Campus Park and Planning.
"The Red Cedar River is really the heart of the MSU campus. It holds a special place in the minds of all Spartans. The river corridor is also a key east-west transportation route for non-vehicular traffic."
Kacos noted that the plan to improve the Red Cedar corridor was prompted by a number of factors, including the popularity of the Lansing River Trail, which currently extends to the western edge of campus; the rethinking of campus transportation approaches and open space patterns that resulted from the university's 2020 Vision process; a renewed commitment by MSU and the City of East Lansing to work together to address community issues; safety concerns raised by accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians; and river water quality and shoreline erosion issues.
The plan, which was prepared for MSU and the City of East Lansing by The Greenway Collaborative Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Bicycles & Inc., of Longmont, Colo., was funded in part by a $39,000 federal grant. Implementation of the $5.26 million project will occur gradually as additional financial resources are identified. Those resources could include the federal Transportation Enhancement Fund, the state Natural Resource Trust Fund and local matching dollars.
In addition to expanding and improving foot and bike paths along the river from Harrison Road in the west to Hagadorn Road in the east, the plan would:
- Establish information kiosks at key junctures.
- Improve road intersections for enhanced non-motorized crossing.
- Use special paving techniques to alert users to intersecting paths.
- Develop secondary north-south paths to link the Red Cedar Greenway with MAC Avenue in East Lansing and to connect Kalamazoo Street with the Abbot entrance to campus.
- Add signed and striped bicycle lanes on selected adjoining streets to complete a campus-wide bike system.
The plan also calls for reconfiguring the intersection of Kalamazoo Street and Chestnut Road to improve safety.
"More than 10,000 cars a day use that intersection," Kacos said. "Multiple turning movements and limited sight distances make travel in that area confusing to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike."
The plan recommends reconfiguring the intersection as a three-way stop with paving that emphasizes bike and pedestrian paths. The Sparty statue would be moved a short distance from its current location on an island in the middle of the intersection to a specially paved plaza at the north end of Demonstration Hall Field that would be suitable for rallies and other special events.
The intersection at the Farm Lane bridge would be reconfigured to reduce vehicle speeds and improve access for bike and foot traffic. A new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the river at Bogue Street would ease congestion and improve safety there.
The master plan will serve as the basis for ongoing campus discussions.