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Fight brewing in Kalamazoo over how road dollars are spent


KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- The most important issue to voters this year is fixing the roads and Kalamazoo’s County Road Commission Director says a proposal by the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study emphasizing “Complete Streets” will make that tougher.

Road Commission Director Joanne Johnson says requiring that every road in the county be designed to include sidewalks or bike paths, whether they need them or not will spend money on engineering plans that won’t be used, money that should be spent on pavement.

She says what the county needs first is a master plan that identifies where sidewalks and bike paths are needed and can be linked across jurisdictions.

KATS officials say they are taking comments on the proposal and willing to change it, if the changes are justified.

Complete Streets is a movement to make roads accessible to everyone whether they are driving a car, pedling a bike, steering a motorized wheelchair or driving a delivery van.

But some politicians are also saying at this point in our history, the priority has to be on repaving potholed pavement and fixing crumbling bridges.