Neighborhood Feature - Oakland Drive-Winchell Neighborhood, A Push for Accessibility0
It’s been a while since we showcased one of Kalamazoo’s neighborhoods. Let’s fix that by diving into the latest edition of our Neighborhood Feature series and see what’s going on in the Oakland Drive-Winchell neighborhood!
Founded in 1973 and known for its natural beauty, the Oakland Drive-Winchell neighborhood is home to Asylum Lake Preserve, Kleinstuck Preserve, Woods Lake, Woods Lake Park, Kensington Park, as well as four undeveloped “mini-parks.”
Among the neighborhood’s residents, there is a desire to maintain accessibility to these areas.
“Our statement of purpose is to preserve and enhance the neighborhood concept,” said Oakland Drive-Winchell Neighborhood Association (ODWNA) President Peter Kushner. “We work to protect the natural beauty and physical well-being of the area, constructively assist the Kalamazoo County and Kalamazoo City Planning Commissions, provide a forum for open discussion concerning neighborhood development, and offer means of communication regarding neighborhood interests.”
A recent example of ODWNA’s purpose manifesting itself can be seen in the neighborhood plan created through neighborhood resident input and approved by the City Commission as part of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 strategic vision.
“The primary areas of concern identified by our neighborhood were traffic calming and making our streets and sidewalks safer for all users,” Kushner revealed. “Through the Safe Route to School grant from the State of Michigan, a sidewalk will be installed on the south side of Winchell Avenue from Oakland Drive to Rambling Road.
“We also advocated for additional pedestrian crossings on Oakland Drive, with one being an enhanced pedestrian crossing for students walking to and from Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts.”
More stop signs and bike lanes have also been added in the neighborhood to help calm traffic.
“Another project we should finish by next year is the WALK (Winchell - Asylum Lake - Kleinstuck) Urban Nature Route stretching from the Asylum Lake Preserve to Kleinstuck Preserve,” he said, “There will be signs along the route that have QR codes so people can learn about the nature they encounter as they walk between the Preserves.”
In addition to these improvements, residents can also look forward to a full slate of events.
“The Winchell Luminary Project occurs every Christmas Eve with a number of our streets lined with candles embedded in bags of sand,” Kushner shared. “It draws admirers from all over the city and provides us with beautiful walks and drives.”
We want to extend a big thank you to Peter Kushner and the ODWNA for sharing the latest news regarding the Oakland Drive-Winchell neighborhood!