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Council restricts left turns at Dennison, Stanton streets

September 01, 2010 - Motorists accustomed to making left turns in downtown Oxford are facing some new restrictions.

Last week, the village council voted 4-0 to approve a traffic control order making the intersections of Dennison St./M-24 and Stanton St./M-24 right-turn-only areas Monday through Friday from 3-7 p.m.

"I think it's a positive thing to help cut down on some serious accidents," said village Police Chief Mike Neymanowski, who brought the request to council.

As a result of this decision, drivers are prohibited from making left turns onto M-24 (Washington St.) from either Dennison St. or Stanton St. during the aforementioned times.

Instead, motorists are encouraged to utilize downtown's two traffic signals.

Motorists looking to head north can use the light at Burdick St. and M-24, while drivers wishing to head south can do so via the signal at Broadway St. and M-24.

Using the lights is "certainly a lot better" and "safer" in Neymanowski's opinion.

Right now, the problem is motorists turning left onto M-24 from these two side streets are contributing to a rise in the number of accidents.

Since the beginning of the year, the chief told council he's noticed a "slight increase" in traffic accidents, especially in the area of Washington St. between Burdick and Broadway streets. Most of these are rear-end collisions.

Left turns off Dennison and Stanton streets are particularly hazardous during rush hour.

"What happens is people get rambunctious (and) cut in front of traffic," Neymanowski explained. "I think (these restrictions) will help alleviate that problem there."

Village President Teri Stiles expressed her concern that prohibiting left turns off Dennison St. will increase the amount of traffic at the Hudson St./W. Burdick St. intersection, which can already be quite congested at times.

Stiles indicated she would like traffic at that intersection monitored, so council can revisit the issue in a couple months.

Councilman Dave Bailey expressed his belief that the new traffic restrictions won't have a significant effect on most drivers because he's "very, very rarely" seen a lineup of vehicles waiting to turn left off either Dennison or Stanton.

"It's usually one car. That's all," he said. "I would guess the impact is minimal."

Stiles asked the chief if the Broadway St./M-24 traffic signal, installed last year, has increased the number of rear-end collisions or helped with the flow of traffic.

"To be honest with you, it's increased (the accidents)," Neymanowski said.

"That's what MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) warned us about," Stiles replied.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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