In an Unlikely Place, Talk of Rethinking Roads

Little old East Grand Rapids, a predominately white, wealthy, and Republican suburb of Grand Rapids, MI with a population under 11,000, is the latest Great Lakes community to consider the radical idea of relocating a roadway to open up a waterfront so more people can use it.

With the region in the midst of a full blow waterfront revolution, a time when countless communities are discovering that steel mills, highways, and cement plants are perhaps not the highest and best use of increasingly valuable shoreline and riverbank property, East Grand Rapids joins the likes of Cleveland, Toronto, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids who have dared to speak the idea of reconfiguring a man made roadway to better leverage their waterfront assets.

It remains to be seen whether the city's residents have the courage to dramatically rethink the roadway that squeezes Reeds Lake, fire up the bulldozers, and join the ranks of San Francisco, New York, and Portland - all of whom have deconstructed highways to improve quality of life.