OUR VIEWS: Keep traffic moving

Jul 21, 2012


Why? Because that stretch of the highway — which runs south all the way to Indianapolis and beyond, and north nearly to the Mackinac Bridge — is a traffic nightmare on summer weekends.

The northbound lane is particularly packed as families in their SUVs — pulling campers, dune buggies and other trailers — clog the 2-mile stretch from Robbins Road to the drawbridge.

Hopefully, an end to this traffic problem is in sight as plans for the new M-231 bypass continue to move forward.

But for now, those of us who want to travel into or out of Grand Haven — or simply cross the highway on our way to and from work — must deal with a snarl of cars and trucks. A little common courtesy, with some common sense mixed in, can make this situation a little less painful to all involved.

First of all, when traveling in heavy traffic on U.S. 31 and you come to an intersection, especially one with a traffic light, make sure you’ve got enough room to get through the entire intersection before creeping forward. Otherwise, when the light turns red and you’re still stuck in the middle of the intersection, the cars trying to cross the highway suddenly have nowhere to go thanks to your impatience.

Secondly, when you’re stopped in traffic and you notice oncoming vehicles waiting to turn left, be polite and let them cross in front of you. It’s not going to delay your arrival time by more than a few seconds, if at all, considering that the vehicles in front of you are most likely at a standstill.

When someone in front of you is trying to switch lanes, let them in. One day, it’s going to be you who realizes you need to get over immediately, and you’ll be thankful when someone else allows you to merge into their lane.

Nobody likes to be stuck in traffic, but that doesn’t mean we have to take it out on those around us.

Be aware, be kind — and when in doubt, find a different route. It’s sure to save you a few headaches.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier, Nick White and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Having moved here from the Grand Rapids area a few years ago, I can tell you 31 is not really busy compared to US131 in Grand Rapids. Grand Haven can be snarly at certain times and sometimes going through muskegon is stop and go a little ways. Traveling on US131 on a friday summer evening is much much slower than our US 31. I feel lucky to not have to deal with that kind of traffic anymore.


One reason the traffic in GH is such a nightmare on US31 is the priority given to turning Left from US31 onto Jackson. This, I can imagine happens, becasue you cannot back those vehicles up on the highway and block the thru traffic. This needs to be resolved.
Another issue is the north bound 7th street merge at this intersection. The layout at this time essentially results in a dedicated Spring Lake exit starting back in Holland. Anyone that has been through GH once knows if you are continuing north past M-104, you do not want to be in the right hand lane well before Jackson. This is especially true for truckers, as this results in a difficult merge in heavy traffic. Why do we need the 7th street merge? Close it off and realign the highway so there is a dedicated exit lane to M-104 starting immediately after Jackson. Then there would not be a one lane squeeze just before Jackson.
I do not understand why some of the traffic cannot be pushed farther into GH and then turn left later. Why is there so much traffic turning left at Jackson?
Also, large sums of money was just spent putting in traffic control cameras and other devices all along the Jackson intersection and the bridge. What does it do? It would appear to do nothing. What did we get for that money? Waiting for a miracle to occur with the completion of M-231 bypass is foolish. This may resolve some but by no means all of the congestion.
The biggest problem is the left turn priority that must be resolved. What is MDOT and GH doing about it? Probably wasting money on MI left turn lanes at streets like Warner south of GH.


This is really dangerous when you encounter like this one. I think the driver is half-asleep at this time that he wasn't able to control his driving anymore. - Mercy Ministries


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