Neighborhood Investments

Connected to Fresh Food

The Kalamazoo Farmers Market will reopen to the public at its Bank Street location during the 2022 season with its first ever connection to bike and walking trails.

“This Kalamazoo River Valley Trail section brings us one step closer to having a full network,” said City Parks and Recreation Director Sean Fletcher.

Connectivity matters: the Farmers Market is a resource for all Kalamazooans. Research conducted by the People’s Food Coop showed that, in 2018, about 4,600 customers attend weekend market days on average. These customers contribute over $1.6 million to estimated sales. For every $100 spent, $68 stays in the community. Acceptance of SNAP benefits helps ensure everyone regardless of income has access to the Farmers Market’s offerings with nearly $90,000 of redeemed food assistance from 1,700 transactions.

The community’s vision for the Market is documented in the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 plan and the Edison Neighborhood Plan, which seeks “increased access to nutritious food.” To achieve these goals, Kalamazoo’s Parks and Recreation department is finalizing the first significant improvements in decades. These include a 40-percent increase in vendor space, updated activity spaces, a play area, more restrooms, and 350 paved parking spaces. The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail will also link to the site to nearby neighborhoods and downtown.

New crosswalks are painted in the Northside neighborhoodWestnedge and Park

Traffic calming and focused intersection improvements for pedestrian mobility are taking place on Westnedge and Park between Dunkley Street and Crosstown Parkway, supported by the Foundation for Excellence. The goals of this project are to reduce speeds on Westnedge and Park, better serve users traveling on foot or bicycle, and align Westnedge and Park with the adjacent Northside and Vine neighborhoods. Changes were designed following extensive input from six public events and on-line input to include narrowing the travel lanes and using the extra space for a bicycle lane and expansion of on-street parking. Twelve intersections will also be improved for non-motorized users using signs and other means.

Kalamazoo Avenue KRVT Extension

This project tests improved bicycle mobility through downtown by creating a bike lane along Kalamazoo Avenue that connects existing KRVT trail at Edwards Street in the east to Westnedge Avenue in the west. This aligns with Downtown Street Design engagement, bike survey results, and Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 goals. The incorporation of public opinion has been important and highlighted sensitivities that City staff are taking into account in the project’s design. The project is expected to open in the summer of 2022 followed by studies of the number of users during the larger project to convert Kalamazoo Avenue and other one-way streets downtown to two-way streets.

“The importance of this project on a street where two-way conversion is planned cannot be overstated,” said City Planner Christina Anderson. “The future of mobility in Kalamazoo will look and feel so much safer, easier, and friendlier five years from now.”

Street Tree Inventory and Tree PlantingTree surveyor records information in the Westnedge Hill neighborhood

Kalamazoo has tens of thousands of trees lining its streets to provide shade and beauty for residents, and habitat for wildlife. Trees help make Kalamazoo an inviting place to live, which is why the Foundation for Excellence continues to invest in tree maintenance and planting each year. Beginning in 2018, the City was able to expand trimming and begin planting trees for the first time in many years. The next step forward is to complete the City’s first comprehensive tree inventory. This establishes a baseline of what the City has and what it needs and will need in the future. The inventory will help with asset management and support data-driven decisions related to trees in the future. Trees will be trimmed throughout the city each summer, and up to 300 trees of varied species will be planted each autumn.