Ypsilanti officials to explore traffic calming measures on four main roads in the city
Staff from the town of Ypsilanti and partners in the region will test design concepts this summer to calm traffic and improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on four stretches of road.
The city collaborates with the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) and Saint Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor study possible traffic calming measures on Second Avenue between Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street; Cross Street between Prospect Road and River Street; Prospect Road from Cross at the northern end of the city limits; and North Mansfield Street from Washtenaw Avenue to Congress Street.
These areas have been targeted due to recurring complaints of speeding and other dangerous driver behavior, and repeated requests to improve safety along these routes.
Bonnie Wessler, project manager for Ypsilanti’s utilities department, says that all of these areas are âhigher capacity streets that carry a relatively large volume of traffic and are major routes in and out of town or areas. neighborhoods of the community â.
âVehicle speed definitely has an impact on how safe people feel to be able to walk or cycle somewhere,â she says. “And the speed of vehicles absolutely contributes to the level of injury in an accident. We want all legal users of the road to feel safe.”
The effort was modeled on a similar project carried out by WATS in Chelsea.
âThey did low cost tactical interventions in several streets over there and partnered up with St. Joe Chelsea,â says Wessler. “It was such a success that we wanted to replicate it here.”
It made sense for the local health care system to partner with the project given that many hospital workers live or travel in Ypsilanti, she said.
Wessler said city staff will send out flyers to solicit the opinions of residents in target areas on proposed solutions. As the list of treatments is reduced to the best for each zone, the districts will receive a second mailing.
âWe don’t want to put something on the street for someone they don’t want or that doesn’t work, or maybe they’ve seen somewhere else and don’t believe it will work here,â Wessler says. “A lot of these treatments we’re testing are relatively new to road safety, maybe around ten years old.”
She says when the roundabouts were first built in the area, they looked new and unfamiliar, and some of the new traffic calming treatments may look new as well.
For example, a âwalkwayâ treatment already in use in the city uses pedestrian signage on either side of the roadway and thin plastic âdrop postsâ attached to the ground that bounce even after being hit once or twice.
âThis visually makes the roadway narrower, even if the traffic lanes are perfectly sufficient for vehicular traffic,â says Wessler. “But because it visually narrows the road, it draws the driver’s attention to the crosswalk where pedestrians can legally cross and helps the driver drive slowly and navigate carefully.”
Project updates will be available on miwats.org/route-ypsilanti.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti township and project manager for On the Ypsilanti field. She joined Focus as a news editor in early 2017 and occasionally contributes to other Broadcast media group publications. You can reach her at [email protected].
Photo courtesy of the city of Ypsilanti.