There has been much in the media lately regarding a proposed bike path stretching all the way from New Buffalo Township to Bridgman along Red Arrow Highway. Recreational bikers are of course thrilled at this prospect but I cannot support a plan that eliminates traffic lanes from the highway.
Considering I am lucky enough to have lived in HC my entire life, I feel I am a fair judge of local highway activity. The following is just my opinion based a lifelong windshield survey.
Reductions to three lanes can be very hazardous on a busy highway. People actually back out on to the road into traffic in some spots (yikes!) and the extra lane is crucial in many "near misses.” In a three lane situation, many use the turning lanes to pass when growing impatient behind a slow driver. The backed up line of cars waiting to turn into a popular spot occupies the only lane in that direction at times. These are just a few of the challenges of three lanes. To individuals who's biggest concern in their day is the route for a leisure walk or bicycle ride, I would ask you to please consider the year round daily use of this corridor. This use includes driving to and from work, to schools, appointments, trucks using for deliveries, emergency vehicles, etc. All this needs to happen in a timely, SAFE manner.
There are many that do not support revamping this long stretch of highway and not everyone at the meetings is a proponent. I was both surprised and mildly insulted at a recent published opinion that Red Arrow "serves vacationers and elderly" almost indicating an exclusive tone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's almost as if some hope if they keep saying that Red Arrow is not a "highway" it will cease being used as one. Not going to happen. Red Arrow is residential, industrial, a major business thoroughfare, an alternate to I-94 and a link to our many wonderful, local shops, restaurants, wineries, breweries and so much more. It is and always has been primarily but not exclusively used by motorized vehicles (and yes, that includes some trucks) with speed limits up to 55 miles per hour in some sections. The fact of the matter is … this is a consistent, year round description of Red Arrow 's usage.
As we attend more meetings on this issue, I would ask those primarily concerned with seasonal recreational options to consider the most import issue which is SAFETY for all.