Coolidge Highway between 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads has received new lane configurations after a month delay. The restriping reduced the number of lanes from four to two with a new middle left-turn lane.

Coolidge Highway between 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads has received new lane configurations after a month delay. The restriping reduced the number of lanes from four to two with a new middle left-turn lane.

Photo by Mike Koury


Coolidge restriping project complete after month delay

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 21, 2019

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BERKLEY — After a one-month delay, the Coolidge Highway restriping and lane reduction project has been completed.

The project consisted of restriping Coolidge between 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads to reduce the number of lanes from four to two with a new middle left-turn lane, while also adding bike lanes and additional on-street parking.

The restiping and lane reduction originally was announced to begin April 17, but it was delayed by the city of Berkley due to concerns about how the project would be evaluated over the next year.

The City Council discussed the delay at its May 6 meeting, where Mayor Dan Terbrack stated that the council needed additional clarification on the metrics that would be used to determine if the project was bringing about the desired results.

“(The project) started to happen and it was promptly stopped,” he said. “Not because council was not potentially supportive of the project, but because it was starting before we were ready for it to start.”

The council went over its grading matrix for the project at the meeting — specifically, how the new lanes will be rated by the city during the next 12 months.

City Manager Matt Baumgarten said the council specifically was interested in the safety functionality portions of how Coolidge will be evaluated. The end result, he said, took a lot of complexity out of the grading matrix.

“What will change … is traffic volumes, crash rates, uses of side streets,” he said. “That kind of stuff we know will change, and that’s really what were trying to measure here. ... How safe is the street? Are people being delayed? Are they avoiding Coolidge completely in favor of driving through the neighborhoods? Really honing down those portions of it — that’s what council wanted to see.”

The project began May 14, and Baumgarten feels it already has made an improvement, noting that his own commute is easier, as people aren’t having to stop while somebody tries to make a left turn, which also means drivers aren’t driving erratically in and out of lanes to pass a car stopped for a left.

One thing Baumgarten hasn’t gotten a chance to do, though, is park on Coolidge to visit one of the businesses. He wasn’t a fan of how close the on-street parking previously was to the driving lanes on the road, especially when he had to get his kids out of the back seat of his car.

“I’m sitting there hunched up next to my car, trying to undo my kid’s seat belt when I got cars just inches off my back,” he said. “I never liked that at all. Now you’ve got a buffer between the parking and the travel lanes. Not only are the parking areas wider, but the bike (lanes are) in between the travel lanes and the parking lanes. I’m assuming it’s going to be more comfortable but haven’t experienced it firsthand.”

From Berkley Downtown Development Authority Director Vivian Carmody’s observations, she also has been pleased with the results so far.

“Traffic was really flowing beautifully,” she said. “It’s so much better without the lane weaving. It just drives better.”

Carmody also is happy that Berkley was able to increase its parking by approximately 50 spaces.

“The comfort level of parking is so much higher now,” she said. “That will be huge.”

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