Residents are invited to attend a Berkley Planning Commission work session Tuesday that will study traffic patterns and safety along Coolidge Highway.
Participants during the public forum, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. at , will have the opportunity walk Coolidge with a traffic engineer and share their thoughts.
"Concerns have been expressed regarding safety on Coolidge for pedestrians, vehicles and emergency vehicles," says a notice on the city's website. "A traffic engineer has been hired by the city using federal grant money to determine what changes could be made to Coolidge."
The City Council authorized a traffic study to be conducted by city engineer Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc., in conjunction with LSL Planning, Inc., during its July 16 meeting. In April, the council appropriated $7,946.09 from a Community Development Block Grant to pay for the work.
"I think it's fitting – given all of the discussion about Coolidge Highway and all of the theories about how many lanes and turn lanes and not turn lanes and parking and not parking – that we really have an expert look at this," City Planner Amy Vansen said during the council meeting.
The study, which will use existing data from Oakland County, will take three months and answer the following questions, she said.
- Is there adequate traffic capacity with four lanes?
- What is the estimated traffic volume in 20 years and is there adequate capacity to accommodate it?
- What would happen to traffic if there were only three lanes?
Downtown Development Authority chairman Alan Semonian welcomed the study.
"We've had a lot of interest from our Coolidge business merchants to do some kind of traffic study," he said during the meeting. "There's a lot of interest in reducing the number of lanes by the merchants thinking that people will slow down and be shopping more."
Berkley Environmental Advisory Committee chairman Dave Hurst also expressed enthusiasm for the study, citing safety concerns for pedestrians and bicyclists following a collision last week along Coolidge that left a bicyclist hospitalized.
"Particularly in light of recent events, this discussion will be very important to help the city understand how we as a city would like to see Coolidge look in the future," Hurst wrote Wednesday in an e-mail to Berkley Patch.