With more than 100 miles of non-motorized transportation infrastructure and a fixed-route bus system with more than 20 routes connecting the greater metro area, the Kalamazoo region is poised to be a great place to walk, bike, and ride transit. Pedestrian activity, bicycling, and public transit each present vital components to the region's overall transportation network. In fact, most trips involve multiple modes of transportation including those made by automobile and transit. A safe, robust, and interconnected non-motorized transportation network that connects with existing transit systems gives residents adequate and viable alternative transportation choices, provides recreational and economic development opportunities, and decreases fuel consumption.
The Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (KATS) is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for all communities located in Kalamazoo County and four townships and three villages in Van Buren County. A map of the KATS planning area can be found here. In this role, KATS must maintain a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to facilitate collaboration between local jurisdictions and determine investment priorities for federal transportation funds.
Bicycle and non-motorized facilities have been expanding in the Kalamazoo region, and there is a desire for more as evidenced by local community planning and KATS’ 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. The thought of these new facilities begs the question: how and where will existing transportation networks be improved and how will they be integrated with future non-motorized infrastructure improvements? This question is being explored and answered through this #KATSmoves planning process. A primary goal of the Pedestrian, Greenway, and Transit Plan is to identify connections between new and existing non-motorized facilities and the Kalamazoo Metro Transit (KMetro) network.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is KATS?
The Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (KATS as it is commonly referred to) is the Kalamazoo urbanized area’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). MPOs are federally required to assure coordinated multi-modal transportation planning (roads, bridges, transit, inter-city rail, non-motorized, and pedestrian). The MPO, the planning process, and its products are required to allow local agencies to receive federal transportation funds projects and public transportation. KATS is a cooperative effort of local jurisdictions, transportation agencies, and other local organizations connected to the transportation system.
For more information, please go to https://katsmpo.org/about/
What area is covered by KATS?
KATS covers all communities located in Kalamazoo County and a select few communities eastern Van Buren County. A map of the KATS study area can be found here.
The full name of the plan is the KATS Pedestrian, Greenway, and Transit Plan -- what exactly are these?
Pedestrian is any person traveling by foot and any mobility impaired person using a wheelchair. Every trip we take, we are all pedestrians at some stage of the journey whether you drive and park your car then walk into the store or when you walk to the bus stop to get to the park.
Greenways are paths incorporated into linear natural areas such as parks or conservation areas, along stream or river corridors, along waterfronts including beaches and shorelines, or along flood control levees, etc. A greenway's primary goal is to encourage the preservation and conservation of a specific location along with supplementing non-motorized transportation options typically through the use of off-street shared use pathways.
Transit includes any passenger transportation services, usually local in scope, that is available to any person who pays a prescribed fare. It operates on established schedules along designated routes or lines with specific stops and is designed to move relatively large numbers of people at one time.
What is the purpose of this plan?
This plan seeks to accomplish a number of things, including:
- Foster greater transit accessibility by planning for an integrated area-wide greenway system which allows increased pedestrian and non-motorized access to the existing transit system.
- Identify greenway corridors that can best protect natural resources while providing linear access and connectivity to transportation options.
- Provide extensive citizen and community outreach and participation opportunities.
- Develop project descriptions, priorities, and financial feasibility.
What is the difference between a bike trail and a shared use path?
The Kalamazoo metro area has several different types of bicycle facilities, and it's important to understand the wide variety of facility types. We provide an explanation of each type of bike facility and explain the distinctions between shared use paths, bike lanes, shoulders, and others in our Facility Types page.
How can I provide feedback?
Great question. All members of the public are invited to Events where we will solicit input and present concept alternatives. Additionally, you can provide your input electronically by filling out our public survey, participating in our interactive mapping feature, or email us with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.