MAILBAG: Right turn restriction unnecessary?

Diane of Grand Haven asked, "Why is the intersection of Robbins Road and 172nd Avenue (South Ferry Street) a designated 'no right turn on red on school days from 7 until 4'?"
Mark Brooky
Nov 14, 2012


There aren't that many children that walk to school. And since there is no longer half-day kindergarten, this seems unnecessary."


The Ottawa County Road Commission referred me to the city to answer the question.

Lt. Renee Freeman of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said the signs are there for the safety of all pedestrians, no just kids going to and leaving school.

"This is especially true with the foot traffic often generated by the assisted living home and retirement community that are nearby," she added.

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Back to the Wall

Why are we asking the police about traffic control issues? Traffic signage is the realm of traffic engineering. The police just cite offenders, they don't make the rules.
Why is it so difficult to understand that the police don't have a clue as to why the signs are there? Renee proved that with her (non) answer.
Traffic signage in the city is the responsibility of public works. Enforcement is the job of public safety.

Mark Brooky

I'm afraid you are mistaken, BTTW. Traffic control issues in the city are the responsibility of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, not the DPW.

Back to the Wall

The city has adopted the Michigan UTC which provides for the appointment of a "Traffic Engineer" to review vehicular control devices, signage, posting speed limits, etc. According to the City of Grand Haven's own laws, traffic control is the responsibility of the city's "Traffic Engineer".
Who in the Department of Public Safety is a qualified traffic engineer? Ms. Freeman? No. By default, if the municipality fails to appoint a traffic engineer, the duty fall upon the Chief of Police, hardly a qualified engineer. So, by failing to follow its own rules, the city has once again placed the fox in charge of the henhouse.


Lt. Renee Freeman of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said the signs are there for the safety of all pedestrians, no just kids going to and leaving school.

"This is especially true with the foot traffic often generated by the assisted living home and retirement community that are nearby," she added.

Then we better make all intersections that way. Geez....if we get just get people to pay attention to the walk, don't walk signs, we wouldn't have a problem. Plus have people driving pay attention to the pedestrians (if any at the time), while trying to turn on red. Just makes for traffic back ups, to have no right on red.


There has been an issue that's been really bothering me for along time when it comes to 4 Way Stop intersections in the City of Grand Haven. As a primary real example I'll address the 4 Way Stop at the intersection of Robbins Rd. and Sheldon St./Lakeshore Dr.. It doesn't matter what time of day or night it is, when I am traveling North on Lakeshore Dr. and come to a "real stop" meaning I break my car to a "dead stop" where all wheels have stopped moving and the car is still. I look at the other 3 intersecting street stop locations and 9 out of 10 vehicles approaching those Stop Signs slow down (most of the time) but never really Stop, they let their vehicles keep on rolling and continue through the intersection without ever really stopping. I see vehicles all the time that only slow down enough to make a right turn from Robbins Rd. onto Sheldon St. heading north into the City without even coming close to stopping. Don't get me wrong, they pull that stunt from any direction. Driver's do not obey the law because they do not fully stop thus taking the right of way away from vehicles that had already stopped and proceed to cross through the intersection only having to hit their breaks hard to avoid hitting the vehicle that just plain refuses to stop, and to make matters worse more than 50% of the drivers are driving with their cell phones glued to their ear which causes many of them to not pay attention to the order in which each vehicle approach's the Stop Sign. I really wonder if motorists even read the Michigan Drivers Manual on Rules of the Road, because when pedestrians try to cross in the Cross Walk more so than not, drivers proceed as if the vehicle has the right-of-way and not the pedestrian. Many years ago I took a Defensive Driving Course and because of what I learned and put into practice I have saved my life, and other peoples lives many times over and have also avoided countless accidents. What surprises me is why aren't there aren't more accidents at these 4 Way Stop intersections. I think a Police presence would only temporarily deter drivers while the Police car is present. What I would like to see happen is for people to be cited for failing to Stop at a posted intersection and having to pay a fine for their infraction and hopefully after a few hefty fines they might actually change their bad driving habits. Even though cell phones usage (talking) in vehicles is not yet banned in Michigan, I make it a point to turn my cell phone OFF while I am driving and that way I won't be tempted to answer an incoming call. I was alive before cell phones were invented and I got along just fine not talking on the phone until I reached home, work, or a pay phone and I still experience "almost" the same quietness and focused driving experience I did back then except for the fact that I have to be on the lookout now for other drivers who are distracted because they're talking on their cell phone and worse yet still Tex-ting while driving where I have seen a Tex-ting driver traveling 40 mph on a highway where 70 mph is the speed limit and his vehicle drifted onto the right hand shoulder and then across into the far left lane. When I am coming up behind a vehicle I can usually tell if that driver is on their cell phone or not because of the way their vehicle is traveling on the roadway. There may be people who think I have been over redundant in my comment, but I don't think safety can ever be talked about too much.


Just a thought, but if the no turn on red signs (which I believe are also at Beechtree and Robbins) are for the safety of all pedestrian traffic, why would they specify that it is no turn on school days? It would seem that the most foot traffic would be during the pleasant summer months, not through the winter...

On the topic of confusing signage, how about the right turn only arrow from 2-6pm on 6th coming out from Culvers? Can you only turn right (no straight or left turn), or can you turn left from the left turn lane and only right from the right/straight lane (not going straight)? How about the merge sign coming from Ferrysburg that tells you to merge into the right lane, but most drivers keep two lanes, moving to the left to go into Grand Haven and the right to go into Spring Lake. :)


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