Archive for August, 2009

Speed Limit Concerns

August 26, 2009
Local 4 Traffic Blog by Lauren Podell

Local 4 Traffic Blog by Lauren Podell

Speed limits are a way of life. We all have a relationship with those numbers and battle with them everyday. 30, 35, 40, 55, 75 mph  — what really is a good speed limit? And how can we judge what is appropriate for a certain road? Well one community is asking themselves that very question… a recent speed limit increase on Meadowbrook Road has several homeowners concerned about their safety.

Watch for this story on Local 4 News at 6pm!

Watch for this story on Local 4 News at 6pm!


The change, which happened a couple weeks ago, raised the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 35 mph on Meadowbrook Road between Ten Mile and Eight Mile roads. Now it doesn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal or drastic of a change, but residents in the area are sounding off!

Sandy Mitchell, a resident of her Meadowbrook home for 40 years, said she did not find out about the change until she saw the signs, and feels the increased speed limit will cause drivers to drive even faster. “I’m scared at times to get my mail, let alone back out onto this road,” she said.

Do you want THIS in your neighborhood?

Do you want THIS in your neighborhood?

Another longtime resident, Dick Ornekian, said many residents are calling the road “Meadowbrook Highway,” and Ornekian is thinking about circulating a petition to take to the Novi City Council.

About 50 homes face the road between Ten Mile and Nine Mile roads and Ornekian said the change makes it dangerous for many families, especially those with kids.”I just don’t understand the reasoning to make traffic go faster,” he said. “No one is going 35 mph. Everyone is going 40 mph and that is not right.”

But city officials involved in the decision to raise the speed limit said the change is indicative of the speed cars were already going.

According to the Traffic Improvement Association, speed limits are set based on the number of drive openings or the 85th percentile speed. The 85th percentile speed, which was used to determine the speed limit change on Meadowbrook, is “the speed at, or below which, 85 percent of the traffic is moving.”

Check out *my* story from Local 4 News on effectivness of speed limits …

Do they work? Does speed kill or is slower safer?


Brian Coburn, senior civil engineer for the city of Novi, said the city decided to conduct a study of the speed limit after being contacted by drivers who said the speed limit was “artificially low.” The results from the study showed that drivers were currently traveling 35 mph when the speed limit was 30 mph, thus the increase.

How fast are you going?

How fast are you going?

A follow-up study will be completed by early September to determine if the change was successful. As far as the concern about the increased speed limit making people drive even faster, Coburn said that is not always the case.” People drive the speed they are comfortable at regardless of the posted limit,” he said.


DDOT Bus Service feeling the pinch

August 24, 2009

newsteamToday kicks off the 1st of many meetings regarding changes being made to the Detroit Department of Transportation. A standing room only crowd filled a meeting room at Wayne County Community College East Campus this morning for hearings on proposed cuts to Detroit’s bus service.


Detroit_Bus_and_SytemDuring a reading of the cuts under consideration — which include eliminating more than a dozen routes, ending Saturday bus service by 6 p.m. and all bus service on Sundays by Sept. 26 — audience members heckled the Detroit Department of Transportation staff.

The proposed cuts are part of the city’s efforts to trim a $300 million budget deficit. Some bus drivers are among more than 1,000 city workers expected to be laid off by Mayor Dave Bing.

Interim DDOT Director LaVette Williams said the department’s current budget crisis is the worst she’s seen in 29 years working with DDOT. The cuts would be based on ridership data, Williams said. Williams said 113 drivers would be laid off by Friday. “ As a result of that, we’re going to have to massage and change the schedule,” she said.

The public hearings for consumer input will be held at the following times and locations:

5901 Conner Avenue, Detroit
Monday, August 24, 2009
10 a.m.-12 Noon & 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

360 Michigan Avenue (at Cass), Detroit
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
10 a.m.-12 Noon & 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

7400 W. Vernor, Detroit
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
10 a.m.-12 Noon & 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

18100 Meyers, Detroit
Thursday, August 27, 209
10 a.m.-12 Noon & 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Does this effect you? Sound off at

Watch for more on this story on today Local 4 News and!


Traffic4Cast! What to expect…

August 20, 2009

newsteamSo a lot is happening in the world of construction! The summer is coming to an end (which I can’t believe) and new projects are already getting planned for 2010. Also looming, weekend construction! there are closures ahead, 1st lets update you on whats happening now…

m-14A LOT and I mean a lot of Local 4 viewers (also friends and family) have been asking me about the construction on M-14. Only one lane has been open at Sheldon Rd. in both directions. 1st it was the eastbound side, then the westbound side, then both… it has been exhausting. ANYWAY — I just got word from MDOT that all lanes of M-14 will be opening TONIGHT, when the clock strikes midnight! Just like Cinderella!

cinderella midnight

So…since it’s Thursday, here is a sneak peak for whats ahead on the weekend construction front! We’ve got lane closures, full closures, ramp closures…it all starts tomorrow. Here is the OFFICIAL list released by MDOT just this morning.



 I will have updates all afternoon Friday on Local 4 News starting at Noon, 4pm, 5pm, 11pm & on Saturday’s morning show!




70px-M-53_svgLast but not least in Macomb County, a public hearing is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. today on plans to widen a stretch of Van Dyke Avenue in in Shelby Township. Road Commission of Macomb County staff is to attend the hearing at the boardroom of the Shelby Township municipal offices, 52700 Van Dyke.

We’ve seen a lot of lengthy construction M-53 for months now. Anywhere from 18 Mile to 27 Mile. And the road commissions big plans continue! They are going to rebuild and widen Van Dyke between 23 Mile and 26 Mile roads to 5 lanes from 2! Construction would occur 2010-13, once the commission has purchased land for the project.

The commission said maps, renderings and other information are to be available. The environmental impact of the project is to be discussed at the meeting.


A “HAWK” watching over you!

August 19, 2009



This is completely NEW, completely INNOVATIVE, and the ONLY one in Michigan. It’s called the HAWK!



Watch tonight for my story on Local 4 News at 6pm


 The Road Commission for Oakland County today announced that next week it will begin a one-year test of High-intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) pedestrian crosswalk beacons at the pedestrian crossings at the Maple/Drake roundabout in West Bloomfield Township.

The HAWK is a new form of pedestrian crosswalk beacon that is lit only when it is activated by a pedestrian pushing the crosswalk button. It has a different configuration than traditional traffic signals, with two red lights next to each other above one yellow light.

Here is video of a HAWK beacon in Portland, Oregon.


The Maple/Drake roundabout test is one of the first test applications of the HAWK beacon at a roundabout in the country. The test is intended to determine whether or not the HAWK beacon is beneficial in helping pedestrians cross the approaches to a roundabout.

“Safety is the top priority of the Road Commission for Oakland County, and we are continually striving to find ways to enhance safety for both motorists and pedestrians,” explained RCOC Managing Director Brent Bair. “This test will help us learn whether the HAWK is a way to enhance pedestrian safety at roundabouts.


The Maple/Drake roundabout HAWK beacons are expected to be fully functional by the end of next week. At that time, Drake Road will also be re-opened at the Maple/Drake roundabout. It has been closed at both the north and south sides of the roundabout since early July so that the roundabout and adjacent crosswalks could be modified to accommodate the HAWK, and so the HAWK beacons could be installed.

HAWK #2RCOC has hired Western Michigan University and North Carolina State University to conduct a study of the HAWK beacons at the roundabout, and, in particular, their impact on blind pedestrians.

“We are firmly convinced that roundabouts in general are one of the greatest safety enhancing tools available to us,” Bair stated. “We are interested, though, in the possibility that devices such as the HAWK could even further enhance safety.”

Bair cited studies by both the Federal Highway Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that have documented substantial safety benefits from converting previously signalized intersections to roundabouts. For example, the FHWA documented a 90 percent reduction in traffic fatalities at intersections converted from traffic signals to roundabouts, while the IIHS documented a 37 percent reduction in total crashes at intersections converted from traffic signals to roundabouts, in addition to reduced fatalities and injuries.

“There is virtually nothing else that we, as an agency, can do that will result in a 90 percent reduction in fatalities,” Bair said. “We feel strongly that roundabouts are a huge safety enhancement for motorists and pedestrians in Oakland County. However, if there is any way to even further improve safety, we will always take a look.”


Weekend Work: Prepare yourself 4 A LOT!

August 6, 2009

newsteamThe list of weekend construction this time around just goes on and on and on and on and on ((you get the picture)). Now if you’ve paid close attention to our Local 4casters…this weekend calls for rain. So there a few of these projects that are weather dependent. So sit back, relax, maybe grab a snack…and if you plan on leaving the house, get ready for detours…where ever you live!

Watch for updates on Local 4 News at Noon, 4pm, 5pm and 11pm Friday!



In Detroit:

  • Eastbound and westbound I-96 will be closed between Grand River Ave (east of Davison) to Livernois for bridge demolition. The full closure will begin at 11 p.m. on Friday and end by 5 a.m. on Monday. The posted detour for each direction is the service drive.

In Oakland County:

  • Beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. each day on Thursday and Friday, crews will close the northbound Milford Road entrance ramp to eastbound I-96 for pavement repair. During the ramp closure, a detour will be posted.


In Oakland County:

  • Eastbound and westbound I-696 will have the two left lanes closed between I-75 and I-275 for ongoing bridge and pavement repair. The lane restrictions are scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. on Friday and end by 5 a.m. on Monday.
  • Beginning at 5 a.m. on Friday, the ramp from Lahser Road to eastbound I-696 will close.  The ramp is expected to open at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 10. During the closure, ramp traffic will be directed east on the service drive to the Evergreen entrance ramp.

In Macomb County:

  • Eastbound and westbound I-696 will be reduced to two-lanes in each direction between Dequindre and Van Dyke for ongoing bridge work. The double lane closures are expected to begin by 9 p.m. on Friday and end at 5 a.m. on Monday.



In Oakland County:

  • Beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. on Friday:  right lane on southbound I-75 will be closed from 14 Mile to 13 Mile roads.
  • Beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. on Saturday:  right lane on southbound I-75 will be closed from M-59 to Auburn Road.
  • Beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. on Saturday:  right lane on southbound I-75 will be closed from Big Beaver to Livernois.


At the Oakland/Wayne county border:

  • Crews have closed the ramp from eastbound 8 Mile to southbound I-275. The ramp is expected to remain closed until late August. A detour is posted.

M-102 (Eight Mile Rd)

At the Detroit/Southfield border:

Northbound and southbound Greenfield Road will be closed under the M-102 through-traffic bridge for demolition. The full closure of Greenfield begins at 10 p.m. on Friday and will be open by 6 a.m. on Sunday. Detours for each direction of Greenfield will be posted.


In Oakland County:

Single lane will be closed on each direction of M-59 between Crooks and Ryan roads, beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday and ending at 5 a.m. on Monday.

M-53 (Van Dyke Ave and Freeway)

In Macomb County:

Right turn lane of southbound M-53 at 14 Mile Road in Sterling Heights will be closed for pavement repairs beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday and ending at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 10th.

The following construction is all WEATHER DEPENDENT!


In Wayne and Oakland counties:

Northbound M-39 will be closed for pavement repair and other maintenance related items from McNichols in Detroit to M-10 in Southfield. The full closure is scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. on Friday and end by 5 a.m. on Monday. Traffic will be routed up the service drive to eastbound 8 Mile Road to Northland Drive to access either northbound M-10 or northbound Southfield Road

Crews will close two lanes on northbound I-75 from Maple to Rochester roads for pavement repair. The repair work will begin at 9 p.m. on Friday and end at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Double lane closure westbound I-96 from US-24 (Telegraph Road) to Newburg Road. The work is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. on Friday and end by 5 a.m. on Monday.

In Detroit:

ramp resurfacing will result in the following closures and times: The northbound I-75 exit and entrance ramps to and from Mack Ave will be closed beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The southbound I-75 exit and entrance ramps to and from Warren Ave will be closed beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

In Macomb County:

Right lane of northbound M-53 from 35 Mile Road to Ebling Road in Bruce Township will be closed for pavement repair work from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 8th.


No License Plate is Safe!

August 4, 2009

newsteamSo I stumbled upon this story in my local newspaper, The Source. So this blog is dedicated to all of you Shelby Twper’s, Sterling Heighter’s, and just for anyone living in Macomb County…especially if you’re a criminal…JUST KIDDING! But, in all seriousness hiding from the law may not be so easy anymore traveling through Utica. We all know police can radar our speed instantly and now with new technology, infrared cameras are being installed on the city’s police vehicles that will allow 3,000 license plates to be scanned!


According to Police Chief Michael Reaves, the department applied for and received an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that allows for funding to prevent and control crime. Reaves said Utica were granted $200,000 – which will be used to install an Automated License Plate Recognition system on squad cars. Reaves said no local tax dollars went into the project

“It’s a high-speed system that allows us to process license plates through different databases and find information quickly,” Reaves said. “It’s a phenomenal technology.”


The ALPR system involves installing three special infrared cameras on the exterior of police vehicles and a corresponding program on the computers inside the cars. Typically, they could only type in and get info on just 50-60 plates per shift, but that has all changed now. With the ALPR system, that number has risen to approximately 3,000 to 4,000 license plates. Once equipped, the system makes entering license plates from vehicles an instantaneous process instead of undergoing the usual lengthier manual method.

“It will make my officers as efficient as possible and as productive as possible with the database access,” Reaves said.


The cameras scan license plates automatically, simultaneously taking a picture of the vehicle in question, and collaborating with several local and federal law enforcement databases to search for criminal and questionable activity.

Instead of stopping and manually typing in a license plate, an officer can drive through a parking lot or down a road at a normal speed and the ALPR system will scan every license plate the officer drives past – instantly and without typing in anything.

“I think it will make a huge difference,” Detective Sgt. David Faber said. “It will be a great aid for officers to identify suspects.”

 Only one other community in the state uses the ALPRpolice vehicles within a few months. Reaves said he is looking into ALPR vendors and putting the program together in the department, and then the installation and officer training would follow.