Cars line up on Tienken Road as students drive to, or are dropped off at, Adams High School in the morning.

Cars line up on Tienken Road as students drive to, or are dropped off at, Adams High School in the morning.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Speed limit lowered on Tienken Road, near Adams High School

RCS, city officials hope move will improve motorist, pedestrian safety

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 23, 2019

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Officials have lowered the speed limit near Adams High School following an increase in car crashes in the area.

Tienken Road, near the Adams High School drop-off loop, was originally 40 mph, but as of Jan. 7, the speed limit was changed to 25 mph, from 7 to 7:30 a.m. and from 2:25 to 3 p.m. on school days only.

Over the summer, as part of the RCS bond improvements, the district reduced the number of entrances into Adams High School off of Tienken from four to three in an effort to improve flow in and out of campus. Officials also extended a passing lane on Tienken Road from just west of the high school up to Adams Road in an effort to improve traffic.

In November and December, there were four automobile accidents on Tienken Road in front of Adams High School. Each of the accidents, according to RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner, was a result of driver error on the part of students or parents, and in each case, he said citations were issued and no one was injured.

Anytime there is a new traffic pattern around the schools, Shaner said it creates a learning curve.

“I think we certainly have that here,” he said. “It also brought to our attention some unintended consequences of some changes that we made, and also brought to light some things that maybe weren’t as consequential in the past, that now they are — (like) the speed limit on Tienken Road.”

Seeing a trend, RCS officials engaged the city of Rochester Hills — which owns the stretch of Tienken Road in front of the school — to see how they could work together to improve the safety of the road.

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett stressed that lowering the speed limit on Tienken is just the first step in a multifaceted approach — with coordination between multiple agencies — to determine the best solution, or solutions, to the problem.

“Anytime you have a change in a traffic pattern, you don’t want to immediately react,” he said. “It takes a while for people to learn new patterns and for motorists to understand the new way to navigate something. Generally, we will take a long-game approach to try to feel, and understand, what is the safest way to move people.”

In December, the district engaged a strategic adviser from an independent consulting firm to conduct an updated traffic assessment of the area, and Shaner said the traffic recommendations should be presented to the district within the next few weeks.

“I know many people think that there are simple solutions to this, but it really is a complex situation that requires the advice of experts and the assessment of experts,” he said. “Between the city and the school district, we have been able to bring those experts together in a very timely fashion.”

Barnett said the city has also engaged the Road Commission for Oakland County, the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and DTE Energy for their feedback.

“We are working with DTE to get some solutions about getting some additional lighting out there at the intersection as well,” he said. “This really is a multifaceted approach to try to provide some solutions. The speed limit isn’t going to solve everything, lighting isn’t going to solve everything, but those things will help, as well as more communication and more discussion about the changes out there, so that the motoring public — especially those folks that use Adams High School — will understand some of the changes and how best to navigate those in the safest way possible. Safety remains our singular and No. 1 priority.”

In the meantime, Shaner asked for motorists to slow down in the area and exercise their patience in getting to the drop-off loop while the district and the city work to find a solution.

“Our absolute No. 1 priority here is providing the safest environment we can for dropping kids off at school, as well as making sure the roadway is safe,” he said. “We will take everything into consideration, if there is a recommendation. I don’t think any option is off the table; we are just waiting to find out what the options are.”

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