It's amazing how much controversy a sidewalk can generate.
As part of a planned overhaul of Waverly Road, Lansing, Lansing Township and Ingham County are teaming up to build a pedestrian/bicycle path running from Mt. Hope and Pleasant Grove all the way up to Grand River Park on the north side of Grand River via Waverly Road.
The project runs up Waverly between Moores River and Old Lansing, creating a sidewalk on the east side of a narrow road where only a grass-beaten path exists right now.
The controversy comes from a few specific problems. One is the price tag, an estimated $1.3 million for the entire project. The other is from residents along Waverly Road, whose property lines currently extend past where the sidewalk is planned for.
That caused a debate at a community meeting Thursday night with some area residents saying that this was a bad economic time to be undertaking such an expensive project and that nobody walks through that area anyway.
Residents on the other side argued that there's never a "perfect" time to be funding projects like these, that money needed to be invested in the community and that it would better connect South Lansing to a YMCA on Old Lansing as well as Grand River Park.
A member of the Lansing's Public Service Department told WILX that there is no set starting date for the project, but that when it got underway it would likely close down one of Waverly's northbound lanes for no longer than a month.
But that's one small part of a larger Waverly overhaul that will have an effect on the roadway from I-96 all the way up to Grand River.
Between I-96 and Jolly on Waverly, the Ingham County Road Commission will be expanding Waverly from 2 lanes to 3 starting in July. Between Jolly and Cooley, the city of Lansing is adding a non-motorized pathway. Between Old Lansing and Grand River, Ingham County is making road repairs that should last 4-6 weeks starting in early April.
There are major changes planned for Moores River Drive and Mt. Hope between Pleasant Grove and Waverly as well. There's a plan to close two lanes of Moores River Drive and add a pedestrian and bicycle path. On Mt. Hope, the plan is to turn the 4 lane road into a 3 lane road with space for bicycles on the shoulders.
These two changes, however, are rolled in with the sidewalk project, which hasn't secured funding yet.