Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the Editor
Councilman explains traffic process

November 02, 2011

Dear Editor,

Chris Walker's letter about the speed limit on Main Street in downtown Clarkston ("Slow down in downtown," Oct. 26) highlights what many others have said: People are driving too fast.

I would like to take him up on the suggestion to reduce the 30 mph limit. Unfortunately, that's probably not going to happen. The city has had discussions with the Michigan Department of Transportation Main Street is a state road.

The city can ask to reduce the speed limit, but that requires a traffic study. State law then requires that the speed limit be set at the 85th percentile speed—the speed at or below which 85 percent of the traffic is moving. What this means is that the speeds that people are currently driving set the speed limit.

We also looked into using electronic "Your Speed Is" signs, which show the speed of approaching cars and give a flashing warning when the car exceeds the speed limit. That, too, would require a traffic study.

Given motorists' speed, a traffic study may result in increasing rather than decreasing the posted speed limit. The city has repeatedly brought speed problems to the Oakland County Sheriff and asked for more intensive enforcement. However, they can't be there all the time.

The mayor appointed a committee to look at street safety and speeds. I hope it can make recommendations such as adding bike lanes, striping the outside of the street to visually narrow the width of the street, and enhanced crosswalk markings. I hope these and other recommendations from the street committee can be implemented and will slow the traffic on Main Street.

Richard Bisio