Dec 26, 2012

Is passing on Mercury Drive OK?

Chuck of Grand Haven asked, "Is it legal to use the third lane of the road on Mercury Drive between Gidley Bayou (Grand Haven) and 144th Avenue (Grand Haven Township) as your personal bypass lane to avoid vehicles turning right in front of you? The answer would be no, I presume, except for going around buses who allow traffic to clear after the stop. Probably even this is illegal and maybe the bus drivers should know this!"


Lt. Steve Kempker of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department said Chuck is correct.

"This lane cannot be used for any type of passing," Kempker explained. "It is used as a turn lane only."

So, whether or not the bus drivers wave you by, you should not pass them.

"By state law, you technically cannot pass them using the turn lane," Kempker said. "Some bus drivers are instructed to pull to the far right and allow cars to pass — but, in this case, I believe there are curbs in that area."

However, you will need to go around a stationary vehicle in the roadway, such as the power company tree-trimmers or a rare moving van parked in the street. Slow down and proceed around them cautiously.

"Anytime you go around a stationary vehicle, proceed with caution because people may be out in the roadway area working," Kempker added.

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My personal experience driving the roadways of Grand Haven is that of a Defensive Driver, because other drivers on the roads seem to have their own set of rules for driving. It doesn't matter the time of day or night I'm out driving in the Grand Haven area, I witness drivers Never Stopping Completely for Stop Signs, Close-up and Personal Tailgating, Traveling at whatever speed they see fit - Fast, Faster, and Super Charged Fast, Double-Parking having a conversation with another driver in the regular traveling lane anywhere on any roadway, not Yielding for Pedestrians or Bicycles, and of course, the Mercury Drive Speedway where people drive as fast as they damn well please and to them Double Yellow Center Lines mean Pass at Twice the speed. These are just a few of the Broken-Rules-Of-The-Road that I experience in, our quiet little town.

Amy Gould Prelesnik

I agree with Mr. Williams. People are very careless on Mercury Dr. if they think you are driving too slow they will pass you and scare the living crap out of you on top of tailgating. When are the police going to be in the right place at the right time?


How many police positions are funded by GH TWP?????


i did live on mercury drive and witnessed the same bad behaver by drivers, number of times i called to turn a incident, they said they dont have enough officers and funds to patrol that area,


It appears from the Sheriff's website that the taxpayers of GH Twp are paying for 4 deputies to patrol GH TWP. This does not include a supervisor that has oversight over these four officers. The only thing that the sheriff department is lacking is more county funded road patrol positions which has not occurred for many years. I'm ready to stop paying for my share of GH TWP funded positions. It seems they have some real oversight issues with the traffic problems on Lakeshore Dr. and Mercury Dr.


It is time for you to get off your rear and move out of the Township if you dislike paying your taxes here. Your dislike and misinformation is out of control. There are 4 deputies in the Township. One of these is a School deputy. I would like to see you tell the parents in the township that have a kid in the high school that you would prefer them to not be protected. Your Sgt you speak of also covers 6 other municipalities. That leaves 3 deputies to provide a wonderful service to the residents of Grand Haven Township 24hrs a day. So take your poor attitude and get lost.


People I'm not sure where you get your information, but the GH twp funded cars do not cover 24/7... and the Sgt is a county funded position that is the have oversight over the GH TWP positions. This is an agreement with that position in fact I believe they have a Lt that also has oversight over these positions. The School position is a joint funded position with the schools and GH TWP. so when this deputy is not in the schools he is to be patrolling the TWP during NON school functions. OOps lets not forget the county funded road deputy who does cover many different twps for his district. I really don't think you want to use the last incident in Connecticut. Their are surely other school districts in this county that do not fund positions. So NO I am not planning on moving out of this area. I only want the tax payers to get the service that they are entitled to and for the county to step up to the plate and start funding more deputies instead of us tax payers being double taxed for duplication of services. SO " People" I'm not sure what your smoking or if you have been in the evidence room... but get your facts straight.


newspaperlawyer, In previous articles regarding recent thefts in Grand Haven City at the marina's you were commenting on the poor performance of Grand Haven's Department of Public Safety officers in prevention of these thefts. Which jurisidiction do you live in? Let's clear this up. Do you live in the township or city, or neither? I personally believe you are just someone who likes to complain about public safety officials. You have an awful big chip on your shoulder don't you. For your information and the information of the other readers on hear the facts are this. Grand Haven Twp. contracts with the Sheriffs Office for 3 full time deputies and 1 deputy who works in the high school and yes when he is not in the school he works in the township. 1 of the deputies that Grand Haven Twp. has is assigned to traffic enforcement. If you think that he is not doing an adequate job you are extremely mis-informed. He often is seen doing traffic enforcement on Mercury Drive. This deputy also has some of the highest traffic enforcement stats in the whole county. Please try to be more informed when you post your opinions. You really need to let go of the past and move on with life instead of being a disgruntled ex-public safety official.


Hey Mr. TWPRESIDENCE... I own property in four of the seven governmental areas in the Tri-Cities area. NO I'm not some EX disgruntled fireman or police officer. And this is not really a contract with the sheriff department either. This is tax money from a special assessment being used to fund 4 police positions. At any time the TWP wants to cut ties with the sheriff department they can do so. That is why the TWP has placed the GH TWP official markings on these county cars. The TWP pays for the total cost of these people including benefits. So as a tax payer in GH TWP, City of GH, Ferrysburg, and SL Village I do have the right to make sure I am getting the service I pay for... which includes the special assessment that GH TWP places on my taxes for the extra patrol which is normal during the daylight hours. These deputies need to answer to someone and make sure the TWP tax payers are getting what they pay for extra. We already pay a hefty tax to Ottawa County for police services and really are not getting the county officers coverage either (24/7) like you claim. Oh thats right that was not you... that was another misinformed residence. You sound like a TWP employee or maybe one of these public safety officers who does not like the issues being brought up that need to be corrected. We have NO issue with the Ottawa County Sheriff Department with providing police services to the tax payers of Ottawa County. I don't think the tax payers had in mind of writing tickets in GH TWP by the TWP funded deputies to assist with the off setting the costs for those deputies either. Maybe thats the reason that this traffic cop has written so many tickets then any other deputy in Ottawa County. I would like to see those stats.... You way out of your league...


Newspaper lawyer, dont know why you say I am way out of my league? You seem very flustered. Your grammer seemed poor at best and you seemed to be having a stroke by the way you put your words together. Which brings me to my occupation. No sir, I am not a police officer or twp. employee. I work in EMS, which means I do know several of these folks and i have a great deal of respect for them and what they do. I agree that there is nothing wrong with making sure our tax dollar's are being used wisely, however you seemed to just like to pick on these professionals and do your best to discredit the good work they do. You seemed bent on finding fault in them. Where i believe these are some of the finest people and also "taxpayer's" around. You do have some of your facts correct and you have some things incorrect. Just please post responsibly. By the way, now what is your occupation?


Also, in reference to not getting enough road patrol from the Sheriff's Office I believe in Michigan the Sheriff only has to provide a jail by law. Everything else is optional. That is why in Oakland County Sheriff Bouchard does not provide anything else unless the townships and cities in Oakland pay extra for them.


See once again you are putting false facts in the readers minds. The Oakland County Sheriff has been very pro active in the law enforcement community. The Sheriff Department like Ottawa County provides county funded road patrol, special operation units, air operations, forensic services, and many other services like most of the sheriff departments in the State of Michigan. The only fact that is correct is about the sheriff responsibility for jail services. You forgot about civil process serving is also a requirement. The only law enforcement agency required under the state's statue is the State Police. So if you want to start pointing fingers... Their is NO law which states any city or twp needs to have their own police, fire, public safety or street services. So for like GH TWP they don't need to have all the extra services they are providing. They could contract with other providers for these services and probability do it cheaper. Kinda like the schools are doing by sharing services. All GH Twp is doing using the sheriff's department help to start up their own public safety department. So I have no issues with basic services... but when the tax payers say NO to increase services and coming up with some special assessments to pay for those deputies who were hired under a federal grant program. Well I need to take my aspirin so I don't stroke out...


FYI, if you have a stroke due to blowing a blood vessel in your head due to anger (i.e. aneurysm)that aspirin is going to be working against you. It will only help with an embolism.


Just looking out for your health brother.


Maybe ask the mailbag to clear up some of these details with a call to the sheriff and print that next week. And I have always wondered what agencies get what % of the ticket money? I know cops don't have quotas, but do they make money for the county, and if not, who?


Law enforcement services are provided to the residents of Grand Haven Charter Township by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department and the Michigan State Police.  If you need a police officer - DIAL 911.  For other non-emergency related information, DIAL 1-800-249-0911 or, please email the township’s Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) officers.

Home Security Checks

Grand Haven Charter Township, through it's COPS Officers, provides free vacation security checks to it's citizens who will be away from their homes, businesses, or other facilities for a period of time. Deputies will periodically check the exterior of the premises. This service is offered to deter potential burglars and provides additional security while your premise is unoccupied. Please click here to fill out the secure request form.

Law Enforcement in Grand Haven Township

Increasing crime rates and adequate law enforcement continue to be major concerns of the Grand Haven Township Board.

As many residents are painfully aware, although the Township of Grand Haven is a relatively safe place to live and play, the crime rate has significantly increased over the past ten years. To help keep our community safe, the township contracts for three additional COPS officers through the Ottawa County Sheriff’s department.  A traffic enforcement officer was added in the summer of 2006 with the addition of a Township-wide SAD for police services with a yearly budget of about $323,500. 

Contracting for COPS officers is only one in a series of steps that the Township Board has taken to respond to increasing crime within the Township.

For example, to bring law enforcement closer to our community, GHT has made office space available for both sheriff deputies and a detective. (Prior to this change, these officers were housed in the City.) The result is that these officers are more familiar with Township and are better informed of problems occurring within GHT.

In addition, to make ordinance enforcement easier, GHT changed many of its ordinance infractions from criminal misdemeanors to civil infractions. Civil infractions only require that the Township show guilt with a preponderance of evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, those found guilty of ordinance violations will not have a criminal record.

Like other large townships in Ottawa County (e.g., Holland, Park, Georgetown and Allendale), increasing population and crime will eventually force Grand Haven Township to supplement the limited coverage that can be provided by the Sheriff's Department. (Currently, it is not unusual for one sheriff's officer to cover 100 square miles of territory, with only 29 square miles being GHT.) However, for the immediate future, the additional COPS officers from the COPS grant, who will only work in GHT, will make an important difference.

Crime Statistics

During 2006, GHT collected ordinance violation fines in the amount of $6,050. This is a 30% increase over 2005. Further, GHT collected penal fines in the amount of $12,760. These mostly represent traffic violations and indicate an increase of about 248% over 2005.

If a ticket is issued under state law then the State of Michigan has a schedule how the money is dispersed to the courts and state and local agencies and how that money can be used.


Many times, I would love to be able to pass people on Mercury. The speed limit sign says 45, and many are driving 35 or less during sunny and clear weather, especially midday.


Exactly....Mercury should have never been laid out the way it is. There are too many people out for a "Sunday" drive like they are the only ones on the road. They are a menace to other people on the road.

Walking Alive

A speed limit is actually the FASTEST you are allowed to go on a roadway. It does not mean you HAVE to go that fast, not if you don't want to, and not if road conditions are bad. Any speed below that is legal, as there is no minimum speed limit on that road. Maybe you should both leave earlier to get where you are going on time? I watch all kinds of Jokers pass on Mercury in all kinds of weather. I have seen terrible accidents on this road created by bad drivers. Even in this icy crap we have right now, I can look out the window of my house and watch people drive like fools down Mercury Dr. Everyone is in such a hurry, and I dare say women under 35 seem to be the biggest offenders (my group btw). Slow down, really, what's your hurry?


I am very conscious of speed limits and make an attempt to observe them especially on Mercury Dr going toward GH, and for sure, after passing over the Gidley Bayou Bridge. However, if I am going in the other direction up to speed after crossing the bridge and see that you are tailgating me; you may find that you will be going 35 or less. We will be going at that speed together until you wake up and back off.

Walking Alive

lol. 'Like' & so true WW.
To the webmaster: Can we get 'Like & dislike' buttons in the comments section? How hard would that be? I know many will agree or disagree with a comment and would use such a tool instead of commenting. Just like your polls.


I dont necessarily agree with your comment about the age group & being women. Im 25 & also a woman & I dont drive like an idiot. I get sick of seeing people passing on mercury all the time. its illegal no matter if you get caught or not but people dont seem to understand that. & it also doesnt always have to do with people not leaving a few minutes early. I leave with plenty of time to get to work & I get sick of being stuck behind people who wont drive the speedlimit, you can also get pulled over for going too slow.
& here we go again with the, maybe we should be required to take drivers ed again every so many years so people would know the rules of the road! But I do think they should have a cop sitting out there more than what they do. hes always sitting at the same house, switch it up a bit so people dont know where you are

Walking Alive

I really didn't expect anyone (especially someone fitting my profiling) to respect that comment, although it is entirely true (who passes you the most on the highway when you are doing 75 mph??- women about 35 and under). And, no, I don't agree with your comment that you'll EVER get pulled over for going too slow on Mercury Dr. - just won't happen. I do agree they don't patrol this road enough. The traffic officer may use my driveway to catch people speeding/passing any day, and they have when I have called them about it. I have found they are very responsive to any complaints on this road.

See how well a like or dislike button would work?


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