Letter to the Editor: Plan to Narrow Maple Road Is 'Ill-Conceived'

'Maple is a road for commerce,' not for bicycling, neighbor says.

This letter was received by Birmingham Patch Editor Laura Houser and comments on , the subject of a Feb. 13 public hearing by the City Commission.

The plan to modify Maple between Eton and Adams is the most ill-conceived idea since the railroad station tunnel.

What possible advantage to anyone would there be in directing automobile traffic off Maple? From where would the bikes come and to where would they be going?

People riding bikes want to be riding through neighborhoods on their bikes. Evidence of that is every Wednesday night through mine. Those people are riding bikes for recreation. From what I understand, most of them don’t live here and don’t buy anything while they’re riding around or after.

Maple is a road for commerce. People are going to work or going to buy things that don’t fit in their bike baskets.

If the purpose is to energize the Rail District, let’s have some promotions specific for the district so that people will drive there. If parking is a problem, address that.

Let’s hope wisdom prevails in this matter. Some of the plans for safety paths were defeated by people recognizing that trees, hundred-year-old gates, and personal safety are more important than getting federal funds -- which are never "free."

I read of this plan and I wonder how an idea like this one ever got into the position of being considered sensible. What’s the payoff?

Pat Olson

Roger Gienapp February 12, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Relax, people. It's only painted stripes on the pavement. No one, not the so-called experts and certainly not any ameteurs, can prdict what will happen if the road is reconfigured. try it for a year and if it doesn't work we can go back to the mess we have today. Who knows....it might even be better. It's only paint so, relax.
Charles Wickins February 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
You are right, Adams is too far from downtown to be relevant and, I reiterate, where will the bypass go, or come from for that matter. I have to agree that, on the face of it, this is the silliest plan I've seen for quite a while.
D. Gluckman February 12, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Narrowing Maple is about the most dim-witted idea I've seen in a long time and I'm offended that taxpayer money was used to even study it. No Mr. Gienapp, it's not just painted stripes. It's real traffic congestion I'll have to face getting in and out of my own neighborhood several times a day. Maple is pretty much at capacity as it is. Since you don't live in the area, it may seem trivial to you, but try barricading your own street for a year or two and see how you like it.
HDSA February 12, 2012 at 07:26 PM
The idea is so absurd that any councilperson who introduced, supported the funding of the study, or is so delusional as to actually vote for the plan, should be instantly recalled. Bike lanes? Please.... that is why we have sidewalks. The bicyclists who are too good for the sidewalks already ride in the road while disobeying all the traffic laws anyway. Any move, even if there was another plausible reason, to restrict trafic flow in and out of our downtown goes against all basic principles of city planning.
Roger Gienapp February 12, 2012 at 08:18 PM
All these nightmare scenarios being suggested are nothing but idle speculation and are not based on facts or specific professional knowledge. All I'm suggesting is that the new scheme should be tried out for a year or so and if the horror stories prove to be true then go back to the way it was. It seems like the biggest fear here is not that it will fail but that it will succeed..
Racer Boy February 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Try it out for a YEAR? Who could possibly think it will take a year to determine the viability of this plan? A month would be too long. BTW: I am an avid cyclist...that short section of Maple has absolutely no level of interest to me as a bike rider. I have Villa that gets me right where I want to go with NO traffic danger. Hopefully, the brighter minds of the Bham CC will see the foolishness of this proposal.
mrobusto February 12, 2012 at 09:21 PM
As a major mile road, Maple is heavily travelled each day as a primary route for those needing to get from either side of Birmingham. Not only is it a natural route for Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Troy and Rochester businesses and residents, it also sees a lot of traffic heading to and from Somerset Mall, the Troy Motor Mall, Target, Walmart, etc. Add to this the fact that Maple is one of the few mile roads that dissects the direct center of a city and you have a road that is at or near capacity on most days. To suggest that the city could merely "try it for a year" is absurd. Not sure if Mr. Gienapp travels by car or Segway, but he clearly hasn't travelled through this area much. I am also a cyclist and I agree with Racer Boy that riding down Maple (any part of Maple or any other mile road for that matter.) is neither enjoyable nor necessary. True cyclists getting a ride in do not ride in heavily populated city centers and those who are commuting via bicycle are too few in number to seriously address at this point.
Roger Gienapp February 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Maple is heavily travelled BECAUSE it is four lanes, not in spite of that fact. Traffic volumes will increase to fill the lanes available to them. Tha's the whole point of narrowing the roadway....traffic volumes will DECREASE as people find it more convenient to use 14 mile or Quarton. Frankly, it doesn't matter if anyone uses the bike lanes, the important thing is that traffic lanes are reduced. Please read Bob Bruner's blog.....the logic is clear.
M.L. Connolly February 13, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I was driving along that very stretch a few years ago with a biker to my right when his bike suddenly tipped and his head just missed being under my car. Bikes on anywhere on Maple Rd. is just plain dumb.


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