Upcoming water main work along Portage Street, from the south side of Stockbridge Ave. to the north side of Walnut St., will allow the City of Kalamazoo to update its water service and replace lead service lines. This project creates an opportunity to update the road and reimagine its design.

During Imagine Kalamazoo community meetings, a need for pedestrian infrastructure along Portage Street was identified as well as the desire to calm traffic. Dating back to 2005, Portage Street has been considered for such improvements. These discussions include the continuation of the bicycle route that currently is located on Portage Street north of Washington Square. This street design work along Portage Street will take place between Downtown and Cork Street and will continue the one travel lane in each direction with the addition of a continuous center turn lane and bike lanes. Through this work, the lane shifts that occur at Walnut and north of Reed Streets will no longer be necessary. Construction work will also include sidewalk repair. Traffic signal timing will be improved along Portage Street with the use of new smart signals that will better manage vehicular traffic flow.

The goal of this street redesign is to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety while offering a balance of travel options, specifically:

  • Three lane roads are easier for pedestrians to cross than four lane roads.

  • Broken sidewalk will be repaired and curb ramps updated to comply with American Disability Acts (ADA) standards to improve pedestrian movements.

  • The continuous center turn lane prevents vehicular backups as drivers make a left turn.

  • Striped and signed bicycle lane provides an improved route for bicyclists.

  • Smart traffic signals will positively impact vehicular flow.

This project is in alignment with the 2025 Master Plan, 2014 Mobility and Placemaking Project (joint project between the City and the Michigan Municipal League), and several Edison Neighborhood planning efforts. Project design for Portage Street is estimated to begin in 2018/2019 and project construction is estimated for 2020. The City will reach out to Edison and Milwood Neighborhoods before construction to give additional updates and information, such as estimated start and end dates, detours, and impact on such services as garbage and recycling pick up.

A second phase of the road diet on Portage St. from Stockbridge south will take place at a later date that is to be determined.

Portage Street Background

Portage Street Project Overview

Road Diet Infographic

Washington Square

Street Projects FAQ


James Baker, Director of Public Services


  • Achieving complete streets

  • Expanding bicycle network

  • Improving pedestrian and vehicular safety


  • Project Design: 2018/2019 (estimated)

  • Informational Meeting

    • Tuesday, July 23 2019

    • 6pm - 7pm

    • Edison Neighborhood Association, 816 Washington Ave.

  • Construction: 2020 (estimated)


Michigan Department of Transportation, Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study


Public Services Engineering Staff, Community Planning & Economic Development: Planning Division Staff


For design and construction


2025 Master Plan, Strategic Vision, 2045 Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study Metropolitan Plan, 2014 MML work


Achieving complete streets, expanding bicycle network, improving pedestrian and vehicular safety


Connected City, Great Neighborhoods, Inviting Public Places, and Safe Community


Each Complete Streets Project will have measurable evaluation attached. Additional bicycle route added, improved sidewalk around priority areas per 2025 Master Plan


TBD through design phase


Partial federal funding & streets Capital Improvement Plan