In March 2012, project partners received funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health Division of Environmental Health to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of alternative development scenarios in the Michigan Street Corridor. The project is part of a larger effort funded by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Program. The funding for this HIA comes from a grant awarded to the Michigan Climate & Health Adaptation Program from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative.
The proposed changes to the Michigan Street Corridor aim to advance housing, economic and community development, transportation, and environmental outcomes to ensure a sustainable future for Grand Rapids and the West Michigan region. The HIA looked at health issues including asthma and air quality, personal injury, obesity, and socioeconomic inequity.
The HIA made several recommendations for the project that would likely have the greatest positive impact on health. The HIA recommended that the redesigned street accommodate all modes of transportation, and enhance mobility for individuals with disabilities. The HIA also recommended that mid-block crossings for pedestrians be provided as neighborhoods become less dense and that affordable housing along the corridor be prioritized, especially for those that work in the corridor.