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Public Forum to Address Coolidge Highway Traffic, Safety

Residents are invited to attend a Berkley Planning Commission work session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall; take our poll to tell us what changes you'd like to see!

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.

Patrick September 14, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I drive it daily and think about it quite a bit (more than I should, probably): 1. Restripe Coolidge to meet MDOT standards for the turn lanes. The transition from no lane to the turn lane at the intersections is too sharp, causing cars to swerve. Provide curbs to define parallel parking areas, not just paint stripes. It works on 12 Mile. 2. Don’t have parking spaces so close to the turn lane transition – it’s amazing more cars have not been hit when parked in the first or last spot. 3. While parallel parking is important on Coolidge, we could use to lose a few spaces in favor of wider sidewalks from time to time. 4. Keep 4 lanes. There's just too much traffic for 3 (although the study will be the final answer).
Kevin Moser September 14, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I do not like the idea of eliminating lanes or parking as it will create congestion and Coolidge has a lot of ambulance traffic which could cause delays and more likely an accident. I would like to see a 25 MPH speed limit and more painted crosswalks. I would put one by Library, half way between Wiltshire and Catalpa and another down by Tatsee Freeze. Slower speed also gives motorists time to look around and see what is in the area, corsswalks makes it easier for shoppers to cross back and fortth. Area needs more foot traffic, you have that and you have more businesses that may take vacant space.
Joe September 14, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Reducing the number of lanes could very well hurt businesses instead of help. A lot of people (including myself) just wouldn't use Coolidge as much, because the traffic would be significantly worse than alternate routes. I think that's a terrible idea. On the other hand, Patrick Calhoun you have a great idea with the parallel parking along Coolidge, at some spots people have to drive inches from the parked cars just to stay in their lane. That would be a great change.
Maureen Popkin September 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM
The businesses of the Coolidge Collection have requested this study primarily to determine how to slow traffic down. 3 or 4 lanes doesn't really matter but the speeds in which people travel are unsafe period. We are considered a downtown and want our visitors from near and far to be safe crossing the street while the patron Berkley.
Scott Hammer September 14, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I think lowering the speed limit and adding pedestrian crossings like in downtown Royal Oak would be the best bet. Make it safer for pedestrians and get people to slow down and take a look rather than use Coolidge strictly as a shortcut.
Scott Hammer September 14, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Agreed! Just left a similar comment.
Ken Trepanier September 14, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I believe parrallel parking on Coolidge is dangerous. People pull in front of traffic. People get out of their cars without looking to see if a car is coming plus you are very close to the park cars when traveling there. This is a bad idea for public safety. The person getting out of their car can be mamined or killed plus the driver has to live with that accident for the rest of their lives. We should worry about peoples lives instead of more parking spots. Ken
Kristin Sanders September 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I would like to see public safety officers monitor speeders on Coolidge. From 10 mile to 12 it seems to be way to fast for a school zone and a business district. How fast do you need to go between Catalpa and Wiltshire? Perhaps if there were only 3 lanes, there would be more room for parking and pedestrians.
Kevin Moser September 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM
People getting out of their cars ought to be paying attention to what they are doing. 12 Mile is very similar and I have yet to hear of an incident since they changed it manay years ago. Slowing traffic will improve safety. It also allows people time to take in and absorb whats available on Cooldge in the way of shops and services.
Dr. Jeff Allyn September 18, 2012 at 10:22 PM
There's a great study that came out of Michigan State's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. While its primary objective seemed to be that of analyzing safety with regards to "crashes" , it does discuss this notion of "Road Diets" .... e.g. 4 lane to 3 lane conversions, with regards to other factors. It suggests that more and more cities are examining this type of transition because community needs are changing. They refer to this as "context design". Coolidge is part of the Berkley Downtown, however, it does not take on that 'downtown feel'. The amount of traffic, the speeds, lack of crosswalks, no possibility for bicycle lanes and the tight parallel parking configuration do not lend itself to a pedestrian friendly environment. Those of us with businesses on Coolidge did not come here for 'traffic volume'. We came here to be part of a downtown and we would like to see traffic calmed, patrons and students able to cross the streets safety, less side view mirrors being knocked off and a diminished sense of fear when exiting/entering parked vehicles.
Dr. Jeff Allyn September 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM
This would be one solution, Scott. But, in talking with emergency vehicle operators.. they LIKE the center lane idea!!

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