Sustainable, Energy, Transportation, Wicked, City Government, Bicycle, Traverse City, Trails, Recreation, Community


Liberal Studies


Today in the United States, a significant portion of energy use is devoted to transportation needs. To address sustainable energy use in transportation, Team Wicked Awesome formed in the class LIB 322: “Wicked Problems in Sustainability” at Grand Valley State University in the winter of 2015. Looking to wicked problem solving methods, we examined Traverse City’s need for alternative options for transportation (other than single occupant vehicles). As an alternative mode of transportation, we looked into a number of ways to promote bicycle ridership and came to discover there was a tentative plan to complete a portion of the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail (T.A.R.T) that would give an entire side of the Boardman Lake more access to downtown and other neighborhoods via bicycle. We discovered that there was a lack of communication between local cycle groups, other community stakeholders and city officials in addressing the completion of the Boardman Lake Trail. We will hold a summit in order to open a dialogue with the community members and other stakeholders to discuss the state of the trail by integrating stakeholders and experts in a discussion panel. As part of the Wicked Problems model of problem solving we hope to bridge gaps that currently exist between these interested parties. We do not intend to create a new effort, but instead we will increase community involvement in the current effort and encourage city officials to place higher priority on the project. This summit will provide the public with information that will educate them not only on the prospects of the trail's completion, but what obstacles exist, and what the community at large can do to help complete the trail. We hope this event will encourage citizens of the community to engage in collaborative effort and to take ownership and responsibility for the future of their city.