Napier Ave. Pedestrian & Bicycle Plan Asks Public to "Play City Planner"



The Napier Avenue Pedestrian & Bicycle Plan will present four options during a public meeting on May 21, 2018 for the public to choose which should be applied to the corridor to improve walkability, bikeability, and overall safety of the roadway.


The Napier Avenue Pedestrian & Bicycle Plan is moving forward and ready to consider different options for how the roadway can be designed in the future. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC) has been working with local partners including the Berrien County Road Department, St. Joseph Charter Township, Benton Charter Township, and several other local organizations since late 2017 to take a step back and reimagine what Napier Avenue could look like in the future.


A second Public Open House Meeting will be held on Monday, May 21 from 4 pm – 7 pm at Napier Parkview Baptist Church located at 245 W. Napier Ave. to present four different options for Napier Avenue.


“Residents of St. Joseph Charter Township, Benton Charter Township and others who travel Napier Avenue between the St. Joseph river and the I-94 interchange will have a special opportunity to see the initial results of an engineering study for enhancing the Napier Avenue corridor,” stated Jonathan Fisk, St. Joseph Charter Township Planning Commission Chair and Napier Steering Committee member. He continued, “Participants will be able to share their ideas and preferences at this meeting.”


SWMPC, along with assistance from planning consultants AECOM and Williams & Works, has developed the four different options for consideration based upon public input received during the first phase of project. “Each of the four design selections will have a list of costs and benefits to help the local government and the residents understand the pros and cons of each option,” stated Debra Boothby, Benton Charter Township Treasurer and Napier Steering Committee member. She continued, “The steering committee has worked very hard to determine which option will be practicable for the very different sections along the corridor. We are excited to review these possibilities with the public.”


John Egelhaaf, the executive director of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission stated; “We’re asking the public to engage with us on what they would like to see on this

road. There are options for how the many users might be accommodated. That accommodation might be through sidewalks, bike lanes, a multi-use pathway. It might also be that they would prefer the current design should not be changed. Regardless, we want to hear their opinions.”


More information on the project may be found at Members of the public unable to attend the public meeting are encouraged to give their input using the digital survey available from the page under the link titled “Give us your input!” Future open house events will be announced once determined. Anticipated completion of the plan and final recommendations are expected in July of 2018.


About SWMPC. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC) is one of fourteen state recognized regional planning governmental non-profit organizations in Michigan. The organization was enabled by state legislation (the Regional Planning Act, 1945 PA 281) and formally created in 1971 by the three counties it serves, Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren. SWMPC is a regional planning resource staffed with professional regional planners and is designed to be responsive to the planning needs of our region. SWMPC is the USDOT and MDOT recognized Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Twin Cities (Benton Harbor-St. Joseph) and the Niles-Buchanan-Cass County Area Transportation Studies, as well as the rural and small urban transportation Regional Planning Agency for Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties. SWMPC is the state designated area-wide water quality management planning agency under the Clean Water Act, and the SWMPC leads and participates in watershed management planning. SWMPC is the EDA designated Economic Development District for those same three counties.

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