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John E

Monroe Ave. Roundabouts and Bicycle Track

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That is so completely awesome sauce. I've envisioned that stretch of Monroe turned into a boulevard with a paved path along it for about 10 years now. More roundabouts, yes! I absolutely hate stopping and sitting at lights and stop signs. Who's got that kind of time? ;)

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So glad they're repaving that stretch of Monroe.  You need the Lunar Rover to negotiate the craters on that surface.  The improved road/cycle track will do a lot for Riverside Park.

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I would rather they focus further south redoing the Ottawa intersection up to Ann st. Not that the other portion doesn't need work but it would be nice to finally have some sort of real bike access connecting the White Pine with the Riverside bike trail a bit south of the Ottawa interchange. This has been a big bike block for years concerning the enjoyment from downtown to Riverside on a bike. A roundabout would be nice at the Ottawa intersection. Something is better than nothing though.  

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I agree, Monroe / Ottawa would make a really nice location for a roundabout.  But as for bike connection, weren't they planning to connect the riverside trail further north?  Something about the old abandoned rail ROW along the river there.  That'd bring it up at least to Richmond.

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I agree, Monroe / Ottawa would make a really nice location for a roundabout.  But as for bike connection, weren't they planning to connect the riverside trail further north?  Something about the old abandoned rail ROW along the river there.  That'd bring it up at least to Richmond.

 

Yes.

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The comments section is priceless!

 

 I like that one person complained that she had to "think ahead" about going through them. lol

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Rest easy good citizens.  WOOD TV is on the case, quoting the facts while sensationalizing the misconceptions.  The comments section is priceless!

 

http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/grand_rapids/roundabouts-planned-for-monroe-avenue

 

I actually watched that last night! My wife joked that WOODTV said "Experts say that roundabouts are safer, but we're WOODTV and we know better than people who study traffic engineering."

 

I think I figured out people's issue with roundabouts: at a traditional four-way stop, you look to the right because you're taught that the person to the right goes first. In roundabouts, you look to the left because the car coming from the left in the circle has the right of way.

 

An easy education campaign would be "Look left!" and/or "Once you're in the circle, you're in the groove (you have the right of way)"

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One point that was very valid was the fact that there are many roads (like Godfrey) that have been needing an overhaul for so many years but yet are left untouched while side streets endure roundabouts making it almost impossible for fire trucks to get through. Monroe ave really seems fine with the current setup. Maybe a yield sign for the veterans home or something but I just do not see any true issues with the street the way it is now.

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One point that was very valid was the fact that there are many roads (like Godfrey) that have been needing an overhaul for so many years but yet are left untouched while side streets endure roundabouts making it almost impossible for fire trucks to get through. Monroe ave really seems fine with the current setup. Maybe a yield sign for the veterans home or something but I just do not see any true issues with the street the way it is now.

 

Have you ever tried to make a left turn from 3 Mile onto Monroe? It can be pretty scary at times.

 

Over 60% of the city streets are in poor condition, and getting worse. They can't do them all at once. You should attend one of the Sustainable Streets public forums and find out what can be done about funding for city streets. I also believe a lot of this Monroe Avenue rebuild is from an MDOT grant, completely separate from streets funding.

 

The "roundabouts" on side streets that you are talking about are something entirely different. Those were requested by the individual neighborhoods to specifically slow traffic down (traffic calming islands they're called).

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You have some valid points GR dad. The money source is likely, at least in part, coming from a different source than the general fund. I don't really have an issue with it, just concern with the best way to use the tax payers money. Yes, I have made that left turn often. It can be tricky, but by far not near as bad is most other places. However, it is busy enough to warrant some sort of traffic control.

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I like the concept, but doesn't 4 seem excessive in such a short span?

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I like the concept, but doesn't 4 seem excessive in such a short span?

 

4 in 2 miles?

 

In looking at the map on Mlive, they'll be placed at the two entrances to the park (and 3 Mile and North Park), which will actually make it feel like the park is part of the area more, IMO.

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4 in 2 miles?

 

In looking at the map on Mlive, they'll be placed at the two entrances to the park (and 3 Mile and North Park), which will actually make it feel like the park is part of the area more, IMO.

 

More like 1.7 but who's counting?  :P

 

If the fire dept is dispatched from the Leonard/Monroe station for a fire toward the north end of the park I'm wondering if they can navigate around the 2 or 3 they'll confront or whether they'll have to detour?  No doubt the residents in Riverside Gardens will be asking the same question when this comes up for public comment.

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To me it seems redundant to have bike lanes when there is a wide park road now converted to non - motorized use. As for the "grant" money, I'm guessing its coming the FHWA via the MPO (GVMC) and could be used on any eligible city street. I will like to see the traffic counts on Coit and Turner after the roundy's are installed. I will predict right now that volumes will increase on Coit. IMHO, Monroe is the street suitable for higher volumes, not Coit.

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People figure out roundabouts pretty quickly.  frankly, I don't even think this is worth discussing other than the fact that it will be nice to get some bike lanes and general road upgrades.  At MSU there are several roundabouts on the most heavily traveled roads and it has not caused any problems. people didn't try and avoid them, at least not in great numbers.

 

In my opinion, it is an under utilized way to manage traffic. the problem is people are not used to them and most people are scared of change.

Edited by jas49503

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MSU is in the process of removing all their roundy's. The only way you can handle the handicapped is install traffic signals on the legs. Kinda counter productive.

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To me it seems redundant to have bike [lanes] when there is a wide park road now converted to non - motorized use....

Support.

 

A two-way cycle track on the west (park) side seems like a recreational use, and it will be located a long ball toss from another one. The riverside pavement is much more scenic and interesting than the proposed new ROW along Monroe. It would be more practical to keep (repave, then restripe) what exists. Also, maintenance. Going to plow it for utility riders in March? Didn't think so.

 

Also, maintenance issues.

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Two things: 

 

I much prefer a button activated cross-walk to allow handicapped accessibility when the need arises than a four way stop that causes cars to sit and idle at a timed light while no traffic crosses in front of them.

 

The single most frustrating thing for me regarding bike paths is that in spite of their existence, multitudes of fat weekend warriors insist on instead donning their ill-fitting spandex and riding on the street instead. 

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MSU is in the process of removing all their roundy's. The only way you can handle the handicapped is install traffic signals on the legs. Kinda counter productive.

 

MSU has 100x the pedestrian traffic than the average city neighborhood. I've actually seen cars stopped in those roundabouts waiting for the sea of students to get out of the intersection. I think it's apples to oranges.

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Two things: 

 

I much prefer a button activated cross-walk to allow handicapped accessibility when the need arises than a four way stop that causes cars to sit and idle at a timed light while no traffic crosses in front of them.

 

The single most frustrating thing for me regarding bike paths is that in spite of their existence, multitudes of fat weekend warriors insist on instead donning their ill-fitting spandex and riding on the street instead. 

 

Despite the urban myth, the multi-purpose paths you see along the roads are not really meant for cyclists. Perhaps a parent and a child with training wheels, but not much more. Too many blind drives, blind curves, and too much of a mix of dog walkers, roller bladers, etc to make cycling safe.

 

Which is worse, 70% of automobile drivers being grossly obese or a cyclist in spandex getting a workout?

 

But I do agree, for handicapped people, a signaled intersection is probably safer.

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MSU has 100x the pedestrian traffic than the average city neighborhood. I've actually seen cars stopped in those roundabouts waiting for the sea of students to get out of the intersection. I think it's apples to oranges.

 

My daughter did 2 independent studies on mon-motorized facilities with the MSU Campus Traffic Engineer for her masters in Civil Engineering. He was an early advocate of roundy's but has since changed his view. Yes the campus has 100 times the normal number of peds but the same issue is there. The visually impaired get their cues from the traffic sounds. In a roundy, the sound never stops. A county over on the east side of the state was sued over this issue and the settlement was to install traffic signals on all the legs of their roundabouts

 

Two things: 

 

I much prefer a button activated cross-walk to allow handicapped accessibility when the need arises than a four way stop that causes cars to sit and idle at a timed light while no traffic crosses in front of them.

 

The single most frustrating thing for me regarding bike paths is that in spite of their existence, multitudes of fat weekend warriors insist on instead donning their ill-fitting spandex and riding on the street instead. 

 

Traffic signals can be "traffic demand" actuated so the high volume road stays green until a vehicle approaches on the side street.

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