Safety or Freight: What's the Top Priority for U.S. 131 Redesign Project in Grand Rapids?

Urban designers are playing the advocate in a Michigan Department of Transportation study that is considering ways to reconfigure U.S. Highway 131 where it curves through Downtown Grand Rapids.

1 minute read

March 2, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Construction work to replace the bridge deck carrying eastbound I-196 over Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.

Construction work to replace the bridge deck of I-196 over Grand River in Downtown Grand Rapids (pictured in April 2021). | Ayman Haykal / Shutterstock

The Michigan Department of Transportation is seeking public feedback on a potential redesign of U.S. Highway 131 in Grand Rapids.

"The state’s fiscal year budget that began Oct. 1 included $10 million to study the reconstruction or reconfiguration of the Wealthy Street interchange that has been referred to as the most dangerous intersection in the state," reports Kate Carlson for MiBiz.  

The route is heavily used for goods movement and freight for large industrial uses, but some local advocates monitoring the US-131 Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study say that safety should be a larger concern in the redesign. The Wealthy Street interchange, for example, is at the southern end of the highway's S-curve through downtown Grand Rapids. 

"The concept of redesigning the area surrounding the S-curve dates back decades, with some supporting a redesign that puts the stretch of US-131 at grade, potentially rerouting freight traffic to I-196," explains Carlson.

Soundbites from Ted Lott, principal with Lott3Metz Architecture LLC, and Tim Mroz, vice president of strategic initiatives at The Right Place Inc., are included in the source article.

Sunday, February 27, 2022 in MiBiz

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.