"Pocket Walls"

By: Dan Ponce
By: Dan Ponce

For weeks traffic was down to one lane on Cedar Street for some construction on the side of the road.

You may have noticed the finished product, 'pocket walls' with benches.

Even though MDOT paid for them, Lansing is footing the maintenance bill, and the city council isn't sure it's a good deal.

"Give us some time, the long range plan is to have that as an accessible area" said MDOT spokesperson Janet Foran. "It's one of the first steps toward making Lansing more pedestrian friendly."

But Foran acknowledged that right now, these so called 'pocket walls' are not exactly friendly to pedestrians. They're somewhat isolated, and they're right along a busy section of Cedar.

But in the future, Foran said these seating areas will become part of a larger pedestrian network.

"These future pedestrians walkways could be connected to the river trail as well," she said.

But some city council members are concerned about two main things, maintaining the landscaping and safety.

"If [the pocket walls] are not taken care of properly, it looks bad for the city," said Carol Wood, city council member at large.

In addition to safety concerns, Wood said she is concerned about the cost of picking up trash, as well as watering and taking care of the plants and flowers. She said the city is already under a tight budget for keeping up with basic landscape detail, let alone the extra care these isolated seating areas will require.

A little more than $1 million of state money was set aside for enhancement projects like the ones along Cedar. They're part of the "capitol loop project," which is supposed to be finished by the end of the summer.


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