BIRMINGHAM — It’s too chilly for a block party, so the chatter about the traffic signal started online: on the Nextdoor app, actually.  Neighbors were expressing concerns about the timing of the light at the intersection of Maple Road and Eton Street, which runs underneath a train trestle. The complaints largely centered on the traffic congestion at the light, particularly since the new Whole Foods Market opened there last year.

BIRMINGHAM — It’s too chilly for a block party, so the chatter about the traffic signal started online: on the Nextdoor app, actually. Neighbors were expressing concerns about the timing of the light at the intersection of Maple Road and Eton Street, which runs underneath a train trestle. The complaints largely centered on the traffic congestion at the light, particularly since the new Whole Foods Market opened there last year.

Photo by Tiffany Esshaki


Police, Road Commission advise patience at Maple and Eton

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 11, 2018

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BIRMINGHAM — It’s too chilly for a block party, so the chatter about the traffic signal started online: on the Nextdoor app, actually.

Neighbors were expressing concerns about the timing of the light at the intersection of Maple Road and Eton Street, which runs underneath a train trestle. The complaints largely centered on the traffic congestion at the light, particularly since the new Whole Foods Market opened there last year.

Birmingham Police Chief Mark Clemence said neighbors speculated that the signal’s timing had been changed — and more than once — by the Road Commission for Oakland County.

But that’s just not true, according to the chief.

“Both the city’s Engineering Department and the Police Department have contacted the RCOC to see if any timing changes have occurred,” Clemence said in a prepared statement. “According to the RCOC, no timing changes have been made on Maple Road and Eton in any direction that would adversely affect signal operations.”

The chief said Birmingham city officials asked the Road Commission to confirm that the light was operating according to engineered specifications, and Road Commission spokesperson Craig Bryson said that’s just what they did.

“We did look at the timing, and everything was correct,” he said. “There’s just an unusually high amount of traffic on that road.”

And it’s not the signal’s doing, Bryson said. The Road Commission has a few ideas as to why there’s so much congestion at the intersection, and like so many other headaches metro Detroit suffered during 2018, the cause is construction.

“Because of the closures on Coolidge and elsewhere, more drivers have diverted to Maple and Eton who might’ve gone to other roads,” Bryson explained.

Near that particular intersection, there have been four ongoing road projects, including Adams Road between Woodward Avenue and Maple Road, Woodward Avenue at 14 Mile Road, Coolidge Highway at 14 Mile Road, and Interstate 75 between Adams at 13 Mile roads.

“In addition to these lane closures, there was a vehicle crash Nov. 27 in the intersection of 14 Mile and Coolidge that shut the entire intersection down for two days,” Clemence added in his statement.

So, what’s a neighborhood to do? Bryson said people should take a deep breath, and while they’re at it, take a few extra minutes to get where they need to be.

That’s easier said than done for drivers like Racheal Hrydziuszko, of Beverly Hills, who has been fighting the traffic for some time.

“I’m glad it’s not just me who noticed the crazy traffic there. It has been insane. This week was a bit better, but last week was a disaster,” she said in an online chat. “Wednesday nights, we drive from Troy Gymnastics to Beverly Hills. This section is awful. Two weeks ago, it took more than an hour to get home.”

“It’s always fairly congested in that area, but it’s worse now than usual. It will get better,” Bryson said. “You can choose another route or give yourself some extra time. It’s frustrating for us too. We drive through there as well. If there was something we could do to magically fix it, we would.”

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