Construction makes Eastown more environmentally friendly and walkable

Published on November 14, 2018

Image - Lake and Atlas Bucket Pour-WEB.jpg

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The community gathered today to celebrate the environmentally friendly design of a recently completed Eastown neighborhood road project.

The work on Atlas Avenue SE and Lake Drive SE features permeable block pavers that allow stormwater to pass through a gravel base to the soil underneath. The environmentally friendly stretch of Atlas goes from Wealthy Street SE to Lake Drive SE. The Lake Drive section is located between Richard Terrace SE and Atlas Avenue SE. 

To demonstrate Atlas Avenue’s new infiltration capabilities, city officials, Eastown neighbors and business owners celebrated the roads’ official opening by pouring water directly on the Atlas surface.

City engineers, with input from the Eastown neighborhood and business associations, designed and constructed the two roads using many green features. While the City has used pavers in the parking lanes on other streets, this is the first city street that features pavers for the entire surface.

The project included:

  • Planting street trees on Lake Drive
  • Installing a rain garden to process stormwater
  • Narrowing Lake Drive SE by roughly 4 feet to match a section to the southeast – with the lane configuration remaining the same
  • Constructing bulb-outs on Lake Drive to create room for the rain garden, defining parking spaces and reducing pedestrian street crossing distance
  • Installing bike racks near Atlas Avenue and Wealthy Street
  • Replacing the water main and lead service lines on Atlas Avenue
  • Installing an additional storm sewer line under Lake Drive SE


“The neighborhood input was invaluable and made the end results much better,” said Rick DeVries, assistant city engineer. “For example, the driveway approaches added to both sides of Atlas and the narrowing of Atlas near Wealthy came about after neighbors voiced concerns about cut-through and speeding traffic on Atlas. Their input made the street more pedestrian-friendly.” 

The City’s Sewer, Water, Vital Streets and Capital Improvement funds underwrote the $1.1 million project.

Updates on all Grand Rapids Vital Streets projects are available HERE or by calling 311 or 616.456.3000.