Eliminating blvd. not a good plan

Michigan Department of Transportation officials have a plan in mind to ease Grand Haven traffic congestion by reducing or eliminating the decorative median between Jackson Street and Washington Avenue.
Sep 13, 2013

We feel this idea needs to take a detour.

Many different things define small town, USA. Whether it’s the quaint little shops or beautiful natural resources, many towns offer a special uniqueness that defines their community.

Here in Grand Haven, one thing that sets us apart is the boulevard that separates northbound and southbound U.S. 31. 

Its existence provides a more scenic atmosphere, as well as a safe zone for the many that walk or ride bikes to get around in our community.  Seldom is traffic clear enough in both directions to make it all the way across the highway at one time.

The loss of the median on the north side of town would give our main thoroughfare a look similar to a major highway in nearly any major city.  That’s not the image we want here in Grand Haven. 

We support the efforts of local officials to keep this plan from becoming a reality.

We wonder if transportation officials have given consideration as to how the much-publicized M-231 highway project will affect the traffic congestion? We must assume that was a big part of justifying the cost of that project — and now, before we have even had a chance to experience the impact, another project is being proposed. 

Regardless of the cost, we encourage state officials to table this project until they are able to determine what the real need is. 

Everyone knows that traffic can be slow through Grand Haven on Fridays during the summer. For the most part, locals deal with it by avoiding the congestion, or going around it by using side streets.

Eliminating the scenic median to add more lanes to deal with the occasional traffic problem would be akin to buying a 10,000-square-foot home simply to accommodate a large family gathering each Thanksgiving. It’s not a good plan and it isn’t really necessary year round.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

Cubbie

As a Robinson Township resident who is seeing our quiet, county neighborhood get torn up and forever ruined by a bypass that the City of Grand Haven pushed, pushed, pushed so hard for, I am really sick and tired of hearing city residents crab and complain about losing a little strip of grass!

I sat in more bypass meetings than I can count and listened to both city residents and politicians alike explain that traffic in Grand Haven was absolutely debilitating; the bypass was a MUST! Now when there is talk of removing a little bit of their grass, all we read is, "Everyone knows that traffic can be slow through Grand Haven on Fridays during the summer. For the most part, locals deal with it by avoiding the congestion, or going around it by using side streets."

"The loss of the median on the north side of town would give our main thoroughfare a look similar to a major highway in nearly any major city. That’s not the image we want here in Grand Haven." And you all think an entire highway through the middle of our township is the image we wanted out here in Robinson?

The city of Grand Haven made its bed, now lie in it!

christopher

I actually do like the blvd through Grand Haven. However, YOU have a VERY good point. Instead of dealing with the problem directly, it appears Grand Haven preferred to simply push its problems to its neighbors to the east. Very good point Cubbie.

(Again, I am actually in support of keeping the Blvd ... but we need to be consistent and responsible.)

Frisbee

YES! Well its about time. Bulldozing the median is the best plan! It should have been done years ago! And it needs to go from the bridge all the way out to Robbins road. Just widening it to Washington is a waste of time and money. They will just end up widening it later so do it right the first time!

SignalMaintainer

As someone with experience with the engineering behind this, the simple way to fix the congestion is to simply time the lights correctly or install the newer networked 'smart lights' used in many congested areas. As they currently are, they are out of whack, and sadly they will most likely not be re-timed since some of the powers that be at MDOT (I know one of them) actually use stuff like this to their advantage when pushing to widen roads (which they swear will ease congestion).

The sad fact is, widening roads actually ADDS to the congestion through a phenomenon called Induced Demand ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ind... ). There have been a large number of studies on this, but MDOT will deny it publicly even though they are well aware of it. They simply do what gets them more federal dollars. Someone needs to confront them with the many studies out there.

Here is some reading:
http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/0...

http://www.assmotax.org/Releases...

ghresident

I agree Signal, the timing of the northbound lights suck and it is a simple fix.

16damons

I agree with Cubbie. I myself being a Robinson Township resident am not thrilled with the new bypass out here to divert what... 17% of the traffic flow through Grand Haven? At least that is the last percentage I heard of before the project was hurriedly jump started. 17%... Wow. As for the traffic signals on Beacon Blvd... were they not timed a few years ago to the tune of $200K or so... then had to be retimed for another $50-$100K? And they still didn't get it right... LOL.

ghresident

Southbound is generally good 90% of the time, Northbound from 2pm till 6pm sucks. Once you get to Jackson, all's fine from there on out.

Plain and simple the MDOT hires engineers with degrees for all this crap, they could screw up making a burger at McDonalds with the common sense they have....

Uh huh ok, add another lane, so what happens to the East and West turns from Jackson to Robbins?

rukidding

Obviously anyone who thinks we have traffic issues in Grand Haven, or any area of the tri-cities, has never lived where there is real traffic. Leave the town alone, it is wonderful just the way it is.

christopher

Very true. We do not have a traffic problem. We have a patience problem.

Wingmaster

I'm with everyone else, fix the stupid lights already. I will offer my services for free. I just need some people to stand at each light as I drive the speed limit thru town and have them set the cycle.

ddv

I also agree! Fix/time the lights! That's the true problem and its been the problem. Grand Haven residents need to push for this, don't let MDOT convince us otherwise. I've even driven out of towners through town and they asked me why the lights aren't timed. It's that obvious!

christopher

The grassy median is unique to the city limits of Grand Haven? What?

There is a grassy median all of the way from Grand Haven to Holland and most of the way from Holland to the Indiana border. Nothing unique there. #sarcasm

LessThanAmused

LOL! Great point!

ilovegh

The median needs to stay. Can you imagine six lanes of traffic bumper to bumper, semi-trucks, all going 40 mph with no median of any kind? What a nightmare. I've waited twenty-five years for the other bridge to happen and 17-20% of the traffic (especially truck traffic) will make a difference. Special request for local law-enforcement to do the job of slowing the trucks down! That could happen in the next two years before the bridge is done. If you love 28th street or Alpine in Grand Rapids....then move there.

PeopleAreAmazing

With the bypass only managing 17% of the traffic from Beacon Blvd - how about we consider having the Holiday Light Show right there on the ole new bypass? Problem solved!

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