Letter to the Editor: Reducing Maple Road Lanes 'Would Create a Nightmare'

'The commute is bad enough already,' says resident who also cites downtown retail impact.

This letter was received by Birmingham Patch Editor Laura Houser and discusses a proposal to . This letter was originally emailed to several neighbors by a Birmingham resident and small business owner. It is posted with the writer's permission.

The proposed traffic reduction on Maple would create a nightmare for daily commuters and certainly cannot possibly support businesses in downtown Birmingham.

I question if this concept is applicable to that area of Birmingham. I am not against he concept, merely the location. For instance:

  1. Eton and Maple is already messy with that very old railroad bridge.
  2. Westbound drivers at Coolidge and Maple would have to make a decision at that intersection about avoiding congestion ahead. That would force more traffic onto Big Beaver or 14 Mile, heading westbound.
  3. On Big Beaver, the railroad bridge just west of Adams already causes traffic backups. Assuming you can get past that issue, which is pretty big, it's better than 14 Mile from then on and traffic can get back to Maple from Lahser.
  4. On 14 Mile, it is hard to imagine  any more of a mess at 14 Mile and Coolidge going westbound because of the railroad bridge at that location. Assuming traffic gets past that area, going westbound on 14 Mile to get back to Maple would require using Southfield Road. I can't imagine we want to add to northbound traffic there.

As you can see in all cases, the railroad is our problem and therefore goes back to raising the question: Is this concept applicable for that area of Birmingham? Would bike lanes be better elsewhere in Birmingham?  You would have to figure out how to rework the railroad bridge areas first before even thinking of making changes to Maple between Eton and Woodward.

If you add to this the possible revenue loss to downtown merchants, I'm not sure this is a good idea for this location. It would force commuters around Birmingham and not through it.

The commute is bad enough already without having to create a hindrance.

Melih Oztalay

The viewpoints in this letter are those of the writers, and Patch is not responsible for any ideas portrayed as facts. For questions and clarifications, please leave a comment below or contact editor Laura Houser at laura.houser@patch.com or 248-534-9780.

Carolyn J. Butcher January 24, 2012 at 06:33 PM
As a resident of the Maple and Coolidge area, using Maple Road several times a day, to work, shop, dinner, church, etc., I would submit that even the two lanes that exist today, are quite overcrowded, and backed up during the rush hour traffic. As an alternative, wouldn't the extra lane on Lincoln serve better as a bike lane, and be less accident prone with the slower traffic? Oak, and Derby would also be a better alternative, with less traffic. Carolyn Butcher
rolfsy January 24, 2012 at 08:12 PM
How is the railroad bridge causing back-ups on 16?
Frederick Acomb January 25, 2012 at 04:54 PM
It's time for us to stop acting like we're from some backwater of the Midwest. Cities people want to visit -- San Francisco, Manhattan, Seattle, Paris, London, and on and on -- have implemented aggressive traffic calming measures. Instead of putting the focus on "moving metal" these cities and their traffic calming measures put the focus on pedestrians, 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 like to visit, then the city should implement traffic calming whenever they have the opportunity.
ClassAct4 January 25, 2012 at 05:26 PM
As I drive at 30 MPH down Maple between Adams and Coolidge to my home in the Pembrook Park area, many people speed past me beeping their horns or extending the international hand gesture. I think it is worth the experiment to reduce traffic to three lanes. Look at 14 Mile Road, traffic moves well between Southfield Road and Woodward on 3 lanes. The current state of Maple is that the curb lanes in each direction are virtually impassable anyways. Birmingham is about it's neighborhoods, and supporting the homes that front that stretch of Maple is a commendable goal.


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