Harrison Township resident wants more signs to slow speeders

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 17, 2018

 Since an allegedly drunken driver crashed into Billie Ann Shuk’s home at the corner of Long and Coleridge streets in April, she has been hoping the county will install more stop signs in the area to deter speeding. The Shuks spray-painted this message to drivers.

Since an allegedly drunken driver crashed into Billie Ann Shuk’s home at the corner of Long and Coleridge streets in April, she has been hoping the county will install more stop signs in the area to deter speeding. The Shuks spray-painted this message to drivers.

Photo by Julie Snyder

 The Shuks boarded up the north end of their home while repairs were made after a speeding truck lost control on Coleridge Street and crashed into their bedroom.

The Shuks boarded up the north end of their home while repairs were made after a speeding truck lost control on Coleridge Street and crashed into their bedroom.

Photo by Julie Snyder

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — With the new school year right around the corner, Harrison Township residents along and around Coleridge Street, west of North Pointe Parkway, may notice an increase in traffic.

With that brings an increase in speeding, according to Billie Ann Shuk, a resident of nearby Long Street, who has experienced more than her share of the outcome of that speeding.

Because her home sits directly at the corner of Coleridge and Long streets, Shuk has seen a speeding Corvette lose control and land in a ditch between Hazel Street and Long Street. She often observes speeders in the morning and afternoon, around the start and end of the school day. In early April, a speeding pickup truck lost control and smashed into the bedroom where she and her husband were sleeping.

“We were knocked out of bed at 2 in the morning,” Shuk said. “He took out the gas meter, so we had to get out of the house when it was 29 degrees.” And Shuk was still recovering from recent surgery.

According to the police report, the driver of the truck had a blood alcohol content of 0.17, more than twice the legal limit. He was taken into custody and later released.

It took the Shuks a long time to complete repairs to their property — two bedrooms were damaged, there was extension damage to the basement foundation, and the fencing around their home had to be replaced. She said repairs were estimated at around $50,000. The couple is still working to get payment from the driver’s insurance company.

“Speeding is a big problem along Coleridge,” Shuk said, adding that last year, a teenage driver crashed into the fence around her yard. “It’s because there are no stop signs.”

Heading west, the first stop sign past North Pointe Parkway is at Hazel Street. The next stop sign is seven streets away at Townhall Street, where it leads to L’Anse Creuse Street and L’Anse Creuse High School.

According to John Abraham, Macomb County Department of Roads director of traffic and operations, stop signs are not meant for speed control; rather, speed signs are erected for that purpose.

“They’re not to reduce speeding, but to assign right of way,” he said.

And they’re installed at intersections where traffic studies indicate higher volumes of traffic flow. Abraham also said stop signs are traditionally on side roads, not along main roads.

“A four-way stop sign is placed in an area that has an almost constant flow of traffic,” he said. Crash data is also applied when considering installation of a sign.

There are 1,700 miles of roads in Macomb County, with 60,000 stop signs and 700 traffic signals.

Abraham doesn’t discourage anyone from contacting the Department of Roads with a request for a stop sign. His department receives more than 1,000 concerns each year from residents. He said officials respond to those concerns as quickly as they are able.

People can also contact the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office to report an area that has regular speeders, something Sheriff Anthony Wickersham encourages. He said with passage of the recent police millage, which puts four more deputies on the streets of Harrison Township, regular patrols in some of those problem areas will be increased.

According to the Department of Roads’ traffic signals information manual, “The county follows established, well-developed, nationally recognized guidelines (and) the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices in conjunction with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials design guide called ‘A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets’ to determine when stop signs become necessary. These guidelines identify specific traffic and pedestrian volume thresholds, accident history, sight distance and any unusual conditions at the intersection. A traffic study is completed before installing a stop sign.”

The study looks at these specifics:

“Where a street enters a through street; or where a clear view of cross street traffic is obstructed due to buildings, trees or shrubs; or where crash history indicates three or more reported crashes in a 12-month period, and the crashes could have been avoided by the use of a stop sign; or where circumstances and crash history indicate that observing the normal right-of-way rule could still be hazardous, resulting in crashes.”

The manual also explains a potential hazard associated with stop signs, including how acceleration and deceleration increase noise and air pollution near the signs, and how the frequency of rear-end collisions is likely to increase at a stop sign.

“Stop signs cause unnecessary delay in light volume conditions (and) create (a) false sense of security for pedestrians. While pedestrians expect vehicles to stop at stop signs, national studies show that compliance to unwarranted stop signs are less than 40 percent,” the manual states.

Regardless, Shuk and some of her neighbors plan to push for a study in the area for more stop signs, or potentially yield signs or signs warning drivers to slow down because children are at play in the neighborhood.

“I’ve seen children walking or on their bikes almost get hit by someone speeding,” Shuk said. “It’s dangerous. Something has to be done.”

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