School traffic sparks outcry from some on Boyd Street

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 28, 2011


The Troy School District and Troy police took steps to lessen the impact of traffic on Boyd Street after a handful of residents objected to a new bus route this fall.

Rodger Walters, a longtime resident on Boyd Street, north of Big Beaver and east of Rochester Road, said he and other residents objected to blocked driveways, a damaged mailbox, buses driving over turf to negotiate a tight turn, speeding and increased traffic.

This fall, Troy School District officials altered the bus routes to the International Academy East and Baker Middle School to accommodate earlier start times in a move to save the district about $400,000. Also, the IA added a class and now serves students in grades nine through 12, which caused an increase of traffic to the school.

“No accommodations were made,” Walters said. He said there are no sidewalks on Boyd Street, and the added traffic raised safety concerns for students walking down the street. No parking is allowed on the north side of the street, which is wide enough for to two vehicles to pass.

Walters said that residents have started a petition drive to close a portion of Boyd Street off to all through traffic.

Last year, buses got to the schools from Rochester Road, down Torpey, rather than Boyd Street. After residents complained this month, district officials altered the bus routes back to Torpey from Boyd Street, and police worked with the Road Commission for Oakland County and changed the timing of the traffic signal on Rochester Road at Torpey to allow more time for the buses to turn onto the side street.

“There is a significant amount of vehicular traffic (on Boyd to the schools),” Troy Police Capt. Gerry Scherlinck said.

He noted that the bus schedule is very tight in the mornings, and the school district and police are working with residents to try to address the issue.

Scherlinck said that officers have not seen a lot of evidence of property damage resulting from traffic on Boyd Street, but noted that at least one mailbox had been damaged and buses had driven over turf because of a tight turn.

Scherlinck said the district looked at altering start times for the IA, but that was not feasible because of video classes in which students from three sites participate, which could not be changed. He noted that next year, start times at the schools will likely be changed to alleviate the traffic. He explained that in the past, an officer would be assigned every school day to the area to monitor traffic, but due to budget cutbacks in the department, that’s no longer possible.

“We don’t have the resources anymore,” he said. “We will be in there the best we can to enforce traffic.”

At this time, city officials plan to cut an additional 34 positions from the Police Department by 2014.

He added that it is not unlawful to drive on a public street; a police investigation revealed that the buses were maintaining speeds of 22 mph in a 25 mph zone on Boyd Street, and motorists and bus drivers were obeying traffic signs and signals, he noted.

Kerry Birmingham, director of media and community relations for the Troy School District, said the district will work with parents to devise a pedestrian walkway on the side of a portion of Boyd Street, and most of the residents in that area have been “very cooperative.”

She said school buses drive down many public streets within the city without incident every day; the duration of the school traffic on Boyd Street lasts about 10 minutes in the morning; and traffic is not as busy during the afternoon dismissal times because of athletics and other student activities.