Ottawa County’s Fundraising Effort for Extended Paved Shoulders on Lakeshore Drive is a Success

From miles of bike paths and paved shoulders to sandy beaches, Ottawa County has made outdoor recreation a priority and continues to seek opportunities to expand upon its extensive network of non-motorized transportation facilities. Of the popular cycling routes in Ottawa County, Lakeshore Drive remains at the top for many great reasons, including its scenic views, winding terrain, and regional connection from Grand Haven to Holland.

The effort to construct 4 foot-wide paved shoulders on Lakeshore Drive began in 2002 when the Ottawa County Non-Motorized Pathway Plan was created. This Plan was developed by soliciting input from stakeholders, the public, and local cycling groups to create and expand an interconnected, Countywide non-motorized transportation system.

Since 2002, a collaboration among Ottawa County, the Ottawa County Road Commission, local units of government, cycling groups, and various public and private-sector entities has occurred to fund and add 4 foot-wide paved shoulders along Lakeshore Drive to create a safe separation between motorists and cyclists that ride their bikes along this route. This effort is about enhancing the quality of life for residents, employees, and visitors.

The 4 foot-wide paved shoulders on Lakeshore Drive have been constructed in various stages over the years as a result of a partnership with the Ottawa County Road Commission. In alignment with the County’s Non-Motorized Pathway Plan, the Road Commission has constructed 3 foot-wide shoulders along selected routes in the County with the remaining 1 foot being funded through efforts of the Ottawa County Planning and Performance Improvement Department.  According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), a 4 foot-wide shoulder is the optimum width for user safety. To date, over 13 miles of 4 foot-wide paved shoulders have been constructed along Lakeshore Drive – with a final 5 mile stretch remaining in Park Township, from New Holland to 168th Avenue.

From a successful crowd-funding campaign in 2015 spearheaded by the Planning and Performance Improvement Department, to collaborative efforts with local units of government and businesses, the expanded paved shoulder network along the entirety of Lakeshore Drive is the result of wide community support.

“The widened paved shoulders on Lakeshore Drive will improve cyclist safety in Ottawa County and increase opportunities for environmentally-friendly transportation alternatives in West Michigan,” noted Park Township Supervisor, Jerry Hunsburger. “Park Township will benefit from this project for many reasons and we are very excited that the final stretch of this project is within our jurisdiction.”

The fundraising effort to complete the final 5-mile stretch from New Holland to 168th Avenue is a success because of our valued public and private community partnerships. The project would not be possible if it weren’t for the generous donations from the following organizations:

• Ottawa County
• Ottawa County Parks Commission
• Park Township
• Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
• Haworth
• Shine Foundation
• Rock ‘n’ Road Cycle
• Velo City Cycles

“I’m very pleased to see this long-term project of widening Lakeshore come to completion,” says Tim Meyer, owner of Rock ‘n’ Road Cycle bicycle stores in Holland and Grand Haven. “The 4 foot-wide paved shoulders provide a safe option for cyclists moving too fast for a multi-purpose path. Lakeshore Drive will be safer for all users – and motorists will have an easier time because of the extra room for cyclists to use the road. Cooperation between units of government in Ottawa County has been commendable.”