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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The new Business 127

Building huge stores and parking lots isn't all that's necessary for the giant Union Commons retail development. Without better roads, it will make today's Bluegrass/Mission gridlock seem like child's play.

Michigan Department of Transportation consultants say like the developer's idea to open up an additional access from Business 127.

The most radical idea, at least for mid-Michigan, is the proposal to add a roundabout to Bluegrass and Mission.

Roundabouts work, cutting accidents, injuries and deaths. This also would be the cheapest fix for the Bluegrass/Mission mess. Computer modeling indicates it would work well even with twice today's traffic.

Expect strong local opposition.

(Update, 6:33 p.m., Aug. 31-- Woody Woodruff, the Union Township planning guy, had comments similar to these eaten by Blogger:

Mark's Story on the south end MDOT plans was great, too bad the nice graphics on the Insider didn't make print. I thank Jim C for his support of the roundabout.

There is a cool web cam site for one on VanDyke and 18 mile see I have shown that site on our projection set up at meetings so our people could have some experience of them.

Locally, I think it needs to be stressed that these are not anything like the old traffic circle in Midland. The modern roundabouts have traffic entering the circle on a tangent so they never stop, the midland circle had traffic entering perpendicular to the circle, and stopping- it did not work well. If we are to engender acceptance of the roundabout here, that is the objection to over come.

At the meetings I have attended with MDOT, DLZ consultants were very high on the roundabout, and I am convinced that one at Bluegrass and Mission would be great. I have used them and don't buy the worst case scenario offered of Grammy and grandpappa caught in one. I commend CMU for the new indirect lefts on Broomfield, they are working great and bode well for what is planned for Old Mission and Biz 127. The backups on West Campus Drive for north bounders turning West on Broomfield are gone.

The graphics in question, those attached to this post, were difficult for me to read when I placed them on the page, so I opted to do without them.--E.B.)


Anonymous Jim C. said...

Sounds like a great plan, but you're probably correct about there being opposition to a roundabout... there always is.

I lived in Okemos at the time they decided to introduce a roundabout at Marsh & Hamilton roads. There was plenty of concern that people would get confused, and it would only cause more problems. A few actually used "we don't live in England" as an excuse. However, it turned out that it did alleviate many of the traffic snarls, and no one seemed the slightest confused. If anything, the constant motion of the roundabout caused drivers to focus more intently on what they're doing; never a bad thing for a driver to do. It was successful enough that Okemos later added another roundabout at Bennett & Hulett Roads.

Of course, there's also bound to be some that will say that it'll be too risky with such a high percentage of younger drivers (CMU students) that will have to pass through that area. Tell that to the students down at MSU that have three of them smack in the middle of campus on major thoroughfares, and have been successfully using those for years.

If the plan to propose a roundabout comes into the public eye, I hope that our residents take the time to see how successful it's been in Okemos and East Lansing. It's a sound choice for improving the traffic in our ever-growing community.

1:34 AM 

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