Greenville Downtown Development Authority seeks more info on median


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:52 am on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A look at what Lafayette Street in downtown Greenville might look like with a median.

GREENVILLE — The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) wants to hear what the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has to say before recommending a test run of the median to the Greenville City Council.

The DDA began talking about the possibility of a median on Lafayette Street during its May meeting when a downtown Greenville building owner, Thomas Mall, brought the idea to the board.

However, official discussion and research did not start until the DDA’s June meeting, when the board decided to research the possibility of the median, the cost and how it would effect both public safety and public service workers.

City Manager George Bosanic attended June’s meeting along with Tuesday morning’s meeting to help explain what happened when the idea was brought up 10 years ago during the Streetscape project and to answer any questions from DDA members.

“At least someone has an idea,” Bosanic said about Mall bringing the idea to the DDA.
Bosanic said that is what the group is there for. If something doesn’t work, some one voices how to make it better.

“It’s huge,” he said of the situation.

Traffic Delineators

The DDA brainstormed the idea to construct an outline of the median using traffic delineators to represent where and how the median would be place on Lafayette street.

This will show not only the residents but the DDA how traffic flow will be affected.

Bosanic said the cost for the traffic delineators will be between $3,000 and $4,000, plus another $1,000 to take them out after the test is done.

DDA Vice Chairman David Ralph said it would be a good idea to talk with MDOT before making a decision on whether to do the test.

The understanding is that MDOT, 10 years ago, was not thrilled with the idea of test, however they were not completely against it.

The DDA will contact MDOT before putting if traffic delineators and also to find out an estimated total cost of what the actual median would be.

Concerns

The DDA discussed some of the concerns they received from residents over the last month.

The first one was parking along Lafayette Street.

“We won’t lose spaces but will affect (the spaces currently there),” said Deb Huch, co-owner of Huch’s Fine Jewelry.

The median would run in the mid-section of Lafayette street between Cass and Grove Streets only taking space in the center lane, which turns into turn lanes. However, even with the median in place, the turn lanes will still be available for use.

Bosanic said the nine parking spaces on each side of the street — like there currently is — will still be there with the median.

The only way they will be effected is if someone tries to parallel park. Drivers will no longer be able to use the center lane to go around them, possibly causing traffic to be stopped briefly.
Huch expressed her concern for the upkeep of the median.

“That’s a big concern for me,” she said and added over the past 10 years, the planter beds have not received the upkeep they need.

Lastly, Bosanic said he spoke with the Director of the Greenville Department of Public Safety Mike Pousak about the concerns the department has with the median.

Bosanic said his response was if there is a fire, the department will make it happen to put out the fire. He gave the example of the recent construction on M-57. A fire broke out and there was not enough room for the truck to get down the road with the construction barrels so the fire trucks hit barrels as they continued on their way.

Although they can make it happen, Pousak told Bosanic any impediments makes it a challenge and obstructions will take away some time.

Bosanic was unable to meet with the public services department to receive their opinion on how the median will effect them.

“They are a key part of the decision,” Ralph said. “I would hate to invest the money into the test to find out public services said no.”

Overall

Mall said, as a business owner, he would be more willing to spend more money on a building were a nice beautification project, such as a median, than on a cheaper building were such a project has not taken place.

“I am just one opinion,” Mall said. “I would like to see a test, but its for (the DDA) to decide.”

The DDA also plans to find a city where they have a major trunk line with a median. Bosanic said he might know of a city and will try to contact them to see.

Once all the information is gathered, the DDA will make a decision on whether or not they want to move forward. If they choose to move forward with the traffic delineators, they will have to make a recommendation to the Greenville City Council.

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