City Council amended the traffic control ordinance to place a no-left-turn sign at this intersection near Jefferson Middle School.

City Council amended the traffic control ordinance to place a no-left-turn sign at this intersection near Jefferson Middle School.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

Left turn prohibition should ease traffic flow near Jefferson Middle School

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 16, 2018

ST. CLAIR SHORES — “The flow of traffic, especially in the morning, when I get the people turning left, it totally bottlenecks. I can’t get anybody out.”

That’s why Jefferson Middle School crossing guard Michele Niklas said she’s excited about a decision to install a no-left-turn sign at the intersection of Rockwood Street and 11 Mile Road. 

She helps to direct traffic in and out of the parking lot south of Jefferson Middle School, on Rockwood Street, and said that at times vehicles couldn’t turn onto the street from 11 Mile Road because someone was trying to turn left off the street onto 11 Mile Road and no vehicles could move.

“It’s a complete standstill,” she said Jan. 10.

Niklas wasn’t the only one who noticed the bottlenecks. 

“The city and Police Department, for about the last year, have received numerous complaints from administration and parents of Jefferson Middle School regarding this intersection,” said Traffic Lt. Joe Heythaler at the Jan. 8 City Council meeting. 

The backup of the flow of traffic makes it difficult to get in and out of the street when drivers are trying to turn east on 11 Mile Road, he said. The city ordered a traffic safety study from Hubbell, Roth and Clark, which recommended the prohibition of left turns during drop-off and pickup times on school days. 

The traffic control ordinance passed by City Council Jan. 8 prohibits left-hand turns from the intersection 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 2:20-3:20 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on school days. 

The signs were due to be completed and installed by Jan. 11.

“The school has been advised to give the parents notice that this sign is going up,” Heythaler said. 

Police Chief Todd Woodcox said that the times were selected to coincide with the beginning and dismissal times of school.

He said that there will be “aggressive enforcement” with police officers issuing reminders for violators when the signs are first installed. 

“It’s in that first 20 minutes that it’s a problem,” Mayor Kip Walby said. Lakeview Public Schools administration “will work hard to try to alert everyone” to the change, he added.

Woodcox said that officers will be appraised of when school is in session so that the prohibition will only be enforced on those days.

“It will definitely help,” Niklas said. “It gets to the point where nobody can go anywhere.”