A troubling intersection

Amy of Grand Haven asked, “What is the reason for the corner on Washington and Seventh being redesigned as it was? You can see that the lanes are not straight on Seventh any longer and a few cars seem to have run through the newly planted grass because of it.”
Mark Brooky
Jul 21, 2014

Laura of Grand Haven asked a related question: “Why does the new curb at Washington and Seventh stick so far out in the road? When driving south on Seventh, you actually have to drive out around the curb. You can already see tire marks on it. What is the logic?”

ANSWER:

This was part of the $1 million reconstruction of Washington Avenue and the intersection with Seventh Street in the Centertown district.

“Now that it is constructed, the city is taking another look at this corner from both pedestrian and vehicular traffic perspectives,” said Julie Beaton, the city’s project manager who oversaw the work. “The internal question at the city is if there is an option to modify the corner to widen the driving lane without compromising pedestrian safety. We are looking primarily at the space where the decorative feature was eliminated. The evaluation isn’t complete, so I don’t have further information to share at this time.”

But Beaton did share an aerial photo that shows the Seventh and Washington intersection prior to it being redone. The little yellow arrow points to the southwest corner, which is the one readers referenced in their Mailbag inquiries.

Beaton also shared the following reasons the curb and driving lanes have changed:

(1) Bringing the street crossing up to current MDOT standards for a landing, ramps and the minimum distances between detectable plates (tactile plates) and a RR rail. Attached are MDOT drawings (download the Related Files PDF below) that show how landings, ramps and detectable plates are to be constructed. If you scroll through, you’ll see examples of various types of crossings, including adjacent to RR tracks. Replacing older-style raised curbs with ramps is often referred to making the crossings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or making them “barrier free.” The city also updates the crossings during projects that are more straight-forward, such as road resurfacing projects.

(2) Accommodating the new traffic light bases, poles, arms and light signals plus countdown pedestrian crossing signals. If you take a walk, you can see where the new equipment will be installed as the bases are covered with construction barrels and the concrete has not been poured in the surrounding squares. The old equipment will be removed, but the new items (obstructions) must be accounted for in the corner “real estate.”

(3) Accommodating a design feature that was eliminated from the project scope when cost-redoing measures had to be implemented.

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Comments

Boycotter

look at the curbs at the intersection of grant and beechtree they put in a year ago, they jut out so far there an obstruction

jlebrasseur

Hate to bring it back to bikes, but that corner is freaking scary when you are on bicycle, and are suddenly squeezed into impatient cars. MDOT might say it is how they like it, but they are often wrong on what works best.

GOLDEN

If you are headed South on 7th street and cross the intersection with Washington, driving straight ahead you will run into the new curb and sidewalk which juts out into the street. Everyone I have talked with about it agrees whoever designed this had some bad pizza the night before. This is a ridiculous nightmare and will eventually be the cause of accidents, possibly serious injuries. This idiocy should be torn out and put back the way it was AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

happycamper

Its not about traffic, its the fancy design to match downtown, looks alright, but worthless, i can hear the winter plow truck drivers now, lol

Harry Kovaire

If you are driving down Washington and keep going straight you will go right into the river. It just juts right out there.

Something about this place makes people incapable of adapting to change. Just drive on the street and everything will be okay.

happycamper

So, harry is not happy about the idea !!!

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