Kalamazoo’s Downtown Construction is a Nightmare For Residents and Businesses
I don't know how often most of us drive through downtown Kalamazoo, but right now, it's a nightmare. At the time of writing this, Michigan Avenue is being resurfaced and paved, which typically is fine.
But there's a problem... THEY DID IT ALL AT ONCE!!!! All of it. The entirety of Michigan Avenue through downtown is under construction. So if you want to visit any place south of there... too bad I guess.
For the record, this is an editorial position. But, judging by some of the conversations I've had with other people , and what I've seen on Reddit, I'm not the only one who's frustrated.
Apparently, this is a common thing in Michigan. And yes, 'Tis the Season for construction, I understand that. But, instead of doing construction projects in sections, leaving at least SOME access for drivers, and posting visible detours, it seems to be ALL of it at once with almost no warning.
As a result, you run into situations like this, where every major road crossing through downtown is cut off at times.
There is almost NO WAY to easily access the south side of downtown right now, and it's a tragedy.
Want to attend Beats on Bates, LITERALLY yards from Michigan Avenue? You're gonna have to take a 10 minute detour around downtown to get there. And that's assuming there aren't any trains.
I'm not an engineer, and maybe there's a method to the madness here, but decisions like this, to cut off an entire half of downtown, and block off access to so many downtown restaurants and entertainment spots at once, seems dumb. AND, to do it with no warning.
And from what people on Reddit are saying, it doesn't just seem to be a Kalamazoo thing, it seems to be an "all over Michigan" or at least "West Michigan" thing right now. Commuters who drive out to Battle Creek are currently driving FAR out of their way to avoid the interstate, and other projects. But one redditor also added a little perspective that I think we could all use as well.
I genuinely hope this doesn't last long. We don't need another "Portage Road Exit on I-94" incident, because after just a week of this kind of lack of access will seriously harm a lot of those businesses.
Which brings me to my final point... I know it's inconvenient right now in downtown, and it's a pain... but PLEASE continue to patronize those downtown businesses that fell on the "wrong side" of Michigan Avenue's construction.
LFG Gaming Bar, High Dive, Saugatuck, Green Top, Benny DiCarta's, Stamped Robin, Jungle Bird, Cairo's, and all of those great restaurants on Burdick on the Mall, south of Michigan Avenue... keep going there and supporting them.
And if you're commuting through other major construction projects, I think we just need to take Redditor Gavlzz advice - Plan on a little extra time, and just turn up the good tunes.