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Letter to the Editor: Bike Lanes Proposal for Maple Road Stirs Concern

Resident fears 'significant spillover traffic into our neighborhood' if thoroughfare narrows.

I have read about the possibility of a major restructuring of Maple Road from Eton to Woodward. It would reduce Maple from two lanes in each direction to one each way with a center turn lane in between. Bike paths on each side also are proposed.

Given the reduction in lanes, this could result in significant spillover traffic into our neighborhood during rush hours. Even the company employed to make the design admits this is a real possibility.

The Poppleton-Oakland corridor could really be affected, but all streets leading into our subdivision are vulnerable. Granted, entry supposedly is restricted during rush hours, but enforcement is almost nonexistent.

I sent a letter to Paul O'Meara, the city engineer, and he was supportive. He said that he has some misgivings about the proposal and hoped to get citizen input. He said that it is still "not a done deal."

Ken Ciszewski 

Frederick Acomb February 07, 2012 at 07:18 PM
It's time for us to stop treating Birmingham like some backwater of the Midwest. Cities that people actually want to visit -- San Francisco, Manhattan, Seattle, Paris, London, and on and on -- have been implementing aggressive traffic calming measures like these for years. Instead of putting the focus on "moving metal" these cities, their engineers, and their traffic calming measures put the focus on safe speeds, noise reduction, pedestrians, bike riders, and on folks who actually live and work where the streets are located. Maple between Woodward and Eaton is a blight on the city. It is hideous. Walking on the street is loud and unpleasant experience. There may be some drivers who may be frustrated that narrowing the street makes it harder for them to break the law with excessive speeds, but that is fine with me. A large percentage of them are from out of town in any event. Slowing down a notch or two is a good thing, not a bad one, and if Birmingham wants to be a pleasant place that non-Michiganders actually like to visit, then the city should implement traffic calming whenever they have the opportunity.
Bham Resident February 07, 2012 at 07:43 PM
It would be nice if this part of Maple were more people friendly. I wish those of us who live in the neighborhoods around Maple, would be open to at least hear the city out on why they are implementing this plan before rejecting it. I think making Birmingham a walkable and bike-able community is a good goal for our city and one that would vastly improve the quality of life for Birmingham residents.
Birmingham resident February 07, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I just posted this elsewhere, but perhaps I should post it here as well. A friend of mine recently sent me two links describing the kinds of improvements that other towns are making to their streets: Here's one: http://www.pps.org/articles/livememtraffic/ Here's the other: http://www.completestreets.org/complete-streets-fundamentals/complete-streets-faq/ I'm glad that Birmingham is doing this. I've noticed that the cities that allow excessive speeds tend to be much uglier than the cities that try to make their streets enjoyable for everyone. So much of Michigan is going to the dogs that it is refreshing to see one town that is bucking the trend and actually trying to make improvements.
Charles Wickins February 08, 2012 at 12:56 PM
As much as I love bike lanes, has anyone thought about where the traffic following the bye pass is supposed to flow to?
Birmingham resident February 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Yes. Call the city planner or city manager and they'll give you the results of the studies.

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