Shelby Township to conduct traffic study ahead of future development

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 30, 2018

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township is getting out in front of anticipated development in the northern part of the township by approving a traffic study in order to have a plan in place to address the township’s infrastructure in the future.

Township Planning Director Glenn Wynn brought the proposed $20,000 study to the Board of Trustees at its July 17 meeting. Earlier this year, the board approved the installation of a new sanitary sewer in the northeast section of the township, which Wynn said would create more development opportunities.

Right now, Wynn said there are three projects in various stages of the approval process that would encompass almost 466 acres and include 831 units. Wynn told the board that the developments would have a big impact on traffic on Schoenherr and 25 Mile roads.

The board unanimously approved the traffic study.

“Rather than go through the normal process of asking each developer to do their own traffic study to determine what the traffic counts would be, we recommend the township take the initiative and have a traffic study prepared for the entire 2-square-mile area,” Wynn said. “This will provide us with a better idea to determine what road projects are needed to support the anticipated new development.”

The study area will be between Jewell and Hayes roads and between 25 Mile and 26 Mile roads. Wynn said each square mile in the township is given a section number, and these two sections are Nos. 1 and 2.

Previously, the 466 acres have been largely uninhabited and abandoned farmland with minimal impact to local traffic. The study will be done by MKSK, a Detroit-based firm, and Wynn said the firm will be able to adapt the plan as new proposals come in.

The study will help the Planning Commission when considering new developments, as well as allow the township to budget now for future road projects. It will also show current residents in that area what to expect with the new developments.

At the end of the study, MKSK is expected to advise the township on potential road-widening projects, intersection improvements and new or upgraded traffic signals. All the suggestions will be to help traffic flow smoother as traffic increases.

“The good thing about this study is it not only includes these three projects, but it encompasses all the vacant land in these 2 square miles,” Wynn said. “The idea is, as new projects come in, the model is prepared and it can be recalibrated with the new projects and give us a better idea of what is needed.

“We can’t afford to deal with this on an incremental, piecemeal basis.”

Wynn said the $20,000 is available in the consulting budget. He said the township should be able to recoup some of the costs from the developers, since the township is doing one study as opposed to each developer doing a separate study.

Supervisor Richard Stathakis said that this study will provide a snapshot of how the new developments will affect the community, as well as make sure that the roads are ready to take on more cars and commuters.

“I applaud the Planning Department in recognizing the fact that we need to figure this out before we build,” Stathakis said. “It could be a very complex problem, so it is good that we get ahead of it instead of being reactive.”

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