8th Street, an important cross-town connector in Traverse City, was a wide street, promoting speeding traffic though nodes of walkable development, mixed with strip centers and parking lots. The area was also confusing to cyclists looking for connections to nearby off-road trails. In contrast to the City’s adjacent successful pedestrian-friendly downtown, 8th Street had become a street with no identity.

In late 2014, the City took action, implementing a road diet that shrunk the street from four lanes to three, with added on-street bike lanes. Community opinion splintered immediately. Those in favor enjoyed slowed traffic and less noise, and those against were upset with perceived new congestion and the addition of confusing bike lanes. 

Farr Associates was hired in 2016 to lead a week-long charrette process to help unpack the controversial road diet and lead the community through a visioning process for the corridor. The charrette delivered a consensus-based plan for a new street section along the corridor to be implemented in 2018. It keeps three traffic lanes coupled with an extremely popular off-street cycle track– a first for Traverse City. The process also solidifies the community's desire for the area to become more walkable.

The final master plan document also includes a master plan for the land uses surrounding the corridor and updated zoning regulations. 

Client: City of Traverse City

Location: Traverse City, MI

Year: 2016


A week-long charrette built consensus for a controversial road diet and a new vision for a workhorse commercial and traffic corridor, and led to a design innovation– the region’s first off-street cycle track.