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Highway and Road Construction Updates

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Awesome video; that's exactly what I was looking for.

A few comments though:

1. It would have been nice if they'd have made a way for vehicles entering the freeway from southbound 131 to (legally) exit at Ottawa. I guess that would require a whole new exit on the left side though, wouldn't it. Probably unrealistic.

2. I'm a little disappointed with the Coit Ave bridge. Yeah, it's nicer than the typical overpass (at least it's not blue), but the way they've been hyping it up, I was expecting something a little more like the bridges over 96 in Novi with the brick or stones or whatever. Same with all those bland sound barrier walls along the sides. I was hoping for something more of a gateway to downtown. Damn "tough economic times".

3. Also, why don't they extend that extra through lane to Lane Ave? It looks like they've already made room for it, unless the 131 bridge isn't wide enough to accommodate it... or maybe there's just an extremely high demand for lots of shoulder space right there.

Still glad this is finally happening though. I know we're supposed to argue for mass transit on this forum, but hey, I much prefer driving on 3 lane freeways to 2 lane ones. I wish they would do this to all the area freeways, especially 96 between 196 and Alpine. I know it's not at all needed, but that stretch is just too boring for me.

By the way... that truck going westbound shouldn't be in the left lane! That guy behind him looks pissed! :lol:

I'm not a fan at all of those big retaining walls shown in the video. Reminds me too much of 696 through Southfield and Royal Oak. But I guess they have to do it to not encroach further into the residential areas above.

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I'm not a fan at all of those big retaining walls shown in the video. Reminds me too much of 696 through Southfield and Royal Oak. But I guess they have to do it to not encroach further into the residential areas above.

The beauty of those walls = no place for cops to hide. Pedal to the metal baby.

I'll just show myself out.

:scared:

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Why not let someone paint something on the walls for Artprize, at least then they wouldn't be white, but it seems dangerous to paint that close to a highway. In LA some of the retaining walls have space scenes on them.

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Slight segue... Now that the 196 Jenison project is done, Grandville is looking to spruce up its downtown. With all the construction traffic gone and some of the original traffic relocated to the highway, the DDA wants to attrach more people. People to stay and shop that is, not just the drive-thrus. Adding a parking lane on Chicago Drive is the most common solution thrown up but I think it will take MUCH more. It looks like one of those little old towns that died when the highway opened and bypassed it forever. The city meeting the other day really highlighted the lack of imagination and fuddy-duddy-ness that can take place.

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I'm not a fan at all of those big retaining walls shown in the video. Reminds me too much of 696 through Southfield and Royal Oak. But I guess they have to do it to not encroach further into the residential areas above.

Just saw that video. Laff out loud funny! '...here's the old bridge...and here's the new bridge, exactly the same...'

Those MDOT kids, they never disappoint!

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Just saw that video. Laff out loud funny! '...here's the old bridge...and here's the new bridge, exactly the same...'

Those MDOT kids, they never disappoint!

But, Ted, it's MUCH more pedestrian and transit friendly. The video told me so.

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Slight segue... Now that the 196 Jenison project is done, Grandville is looking to spruce up its downtown. With all the construction traffic gone and some of the original traffic relocated to the highway, the DDA wants to attrach more people. People to stay and shop that is, not just the drive-thrus. Adding a parking lane on Chicago Drive is the most common solution thrown up but I think it will take MUCH more. It looks like one of those little old towns that died when the highway opened and bypassed it forever. The city meeting the other day really highlighted the lack of imagination and fuddy-duddy-ness that can take place.

MLive has the latest on this - even some of the businesses are nervous about a simple parking lane project, as if this is the first time a road has ever had to be closed for construction.

I've always felt the old parts of Grandville are among the most picturesque areas of the community - so old-timey Midwest, know what I mean? EGR's renewal of its downtown seems to have done it well; I wonder if similar efforts, drawing on the same lessons from Gaslight Village, and applied to Grandville, would work. They're pretty different communities, after all.

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Just saw that video. Laff out loud funny! '...here's the old bridge...and here's the new bridge, exactly the same...'

Those MDOT kids, they never disappoint!

That is what passes for context sensitive design in the world of MDOT. This organization continues to disappoint in almost every aspect of their existence.

This is a $40 million dollar waste of money, and stimulus money to boot. When this project is all done and the new weave lanes, extra travel lanes and pedestrian designed bridges are all complete it will not make one damn bit of difference in regards to whatever esoteric outdated criteria they use to judge this sort of stuff.

With a federal government, state government and city government that are all nearly bankrupt, MDOT continues to hum along as if it was 1965, using the same BS arguments and justifications that they used back then.

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This is a $40 million dollar waste of money, and stimulus money to boot. When this project is all done and the new weave lanes, extra travel lanes and pedestrian designed bridges are all complete it will not make one damn bit of difference in regards to whatever esoteric outdated criteria they use to judge this sort of stuff.

How will it not make one bit of difference relative to the problems currently encountered on that stretch of road? Please explain.

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How will it not make one bit of difference relative to the problems currently encountered on that stretch of road? Please explain.

I am unclear as to what the problems are with that stretch of road.

Is it an access problem which necessitates the "weave lanes"?

Is it a traffic flow (congestion) problem which necessitates making things wider by adding more lanes?

I am not convinced that there are problems that need fixing, and IF there are problems I am certainly not convinced that wasting $40 million dollars of the future generation's money on the current solution is the correct path.

If there are congestion issues, we were all told that the "investment" on M6 would help to alleviate them. Now we are told that widening this road will help alleviate them. Along with last year's widening of the College ramp and the future widening of the Beltline, their only solution is to widen. To build more single-use infrastructure. The problem is that the neanderthals who run MDOT are working within the same set of principles that Robert Moses was operating in the 1940's and 1950's, when his NY highways (built in the 1920's and 30's) experienced significant conjestion....his solution was to widen. And continue to widen. The problem is that widening never worked it just created more conjestion.

This has happened nearly everywhere that DOT's follow this policy - from Long Island to Los Angeles. It is a failed policy. But a policy that they continue, without any regard for what the future holds. And now that they have successfully gone through a money grab by swallowing up much needed stimulus dollars, they can continue chugging along with blinders on.

We have too much auto infrastructure. Parking lots, parking ramps, wide swaths of highways, wide surface streets, clear vision angles at urban intersections, etc, etc. We do not need anymore.

This money should be spent on transit. The T in MDOT is for transportion, which needs to be more than single use infrastructure.

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I am unclear as to what the problems are with that stretch of road.

Is it an access problem which necessitates the "weave lanes"?

Is it a traffic flow (congestion) problem which necessitates making things wider by adding more lanes?

I am not convinced that there are problems that need fixing, and IF there are problems I am certainly not convinced that wasting $40 million dollars of the future generation's money on the current solution is the correct path.

If there are congestion issues, we were all told that the "investment" on M6 would help to alleviate them. Now we are told that widening this road will help alleviate them. Along with last year's widening of the College ramp and the future widening of the Beltline, their only solution is to widen. To build more single-use infrastructure. The problem is that the neanderthals who run MDOT are working within the same set of principles that Robert Moses was operating in the 1940's and 1950's, when his NY highways (built in the 1920's and 30's) experienced significant conjestion....his solution was to widen. And continue to widen. The problem is that widening never worked it just created more conjestion.

This has happened nearly everywhere that DOT's follow this policy - from Long Island to Los Angeles. It is a failed policy. But a policy that they continue, without any regard for what the future holds. And now that they have successfully gone through a money grab by swallowing up much needed stimulus dollars, they can continue chugging along with blinders on.

We have too much auto infrastructure. Parking lots, parking ramps, wide swaths of highways, wide surface streets, clear vision angles at urban intersections, etc, etc. We do not need anymore.

This money should be spent on transit. The T in MDOT is for transportion, which needs to be more than single use infrastructure.

But have you seen that video! It's like you're flying!

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I am unclear as to what the problems are with that stretch of road.

It's falling apart for one. Whether it's widened or not, I'm sure it's going to cost more and more to maintain it in the future.

Though I'm sure your next question will be whether we should even bother maintaining it. We could always rip it out and try to restore the damage its construction caused. Actually, I'd like that, but it's probably not realistic.

Remember when they tore out the s-curve? There was no traffic disaster when it closed. It would have been a great opportunity to restore the city, but like so many others, it was an opportunity missed.

I'd be more up-in-arms about the huge waste of money putting those useless traffic signs up. You know, the ones that give such helpful advice about not driving drunk or hitting motorcyclists. What a joke. I recognize the need to pay taxes to fund a number of things, but when I see my tax money being wasted so foolishly I get really annoyed.

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I am not convinced that there are problems that need fixing, and IF there are problems I am certainly not convinced that wasting $40 million dollars of the future generation's money on the current solution is the correct path.

Why isn't KCFFR launching another campaign against wasteful transportation spending?? Unlike in the BRT millage, residents of Cascade are actually paying their share of taxes to fund this project.silly.png

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What we should not be asking ourselves is, "this money could of been better spent on..." When our government is running in red ink at all levels, what we should be asking ourselves is, "Where did this money come from." I guess we must follow Obama's financial policy that he laid out in the state of the union address, freeze wasteful spending in 2011 so that our economy can start growing in the mean time. Or in other words, start budgeting only when you make more money. When your as young as I am, you don't worry so much about the job situation as you do the debt situation. Your putting the next generation into slavery so that you can have some temporary jobs now. Spending money only buys temporary jobs, savings creates lasting jobs.

Edited by crinzema

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Why isn't KCFFR launching another campaign against wasteful transportation spending?? Unlike in the BRT millage, residents of Cascade are actually paying their share of taxes to fund this project.silly.png

It's only funny cause it's true.

What we should not be asking ourselves is, "this money could of been better spent on..." When our government is running in red ink at all levels, what we should be asking ourselves is, "Where did this money come from." I guess we must follow Obama's financial policy that he laid out in the state of the union address, freeze wasteful spending in 2011 so that our economy can start growing in the mean time. Or in other words, start budgeting only when you make more money. When your as young as I am, you don't worry so much about the job situation as you do the debt situation. Your putting the next generation into slavery so that you can have some temporary jobs now. Spending money only buys temporary jobs, savings creates lasting jobs.

Sorry, pal. Spending money on roads was here long before Obama and will be here long after.

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As a transportation planner who works for a major highway agency, but has pushed alternative transportation modes since before some of you were born, I can't think of a better stretch of highway to rebuild and even improve than an aging Interstate freeway passing through the heart of a built-up downtown area that serves 1000s of vehicles daily. Those rebuilt overpasses don't look so bad, either.

And yes, billions of dollars have been spent on building and rebuilding highways long before the current President came into office. You should hear the howls that he's directing too much money and attention to non-highway transportation, and, oh my gosh, sidewalks and bike paths!!!! You mean his administration actually wants people to walk??!!!

Edited by Explorer55

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If you have ever driven that stretch of highway you would probably notice that it is

A) bumpy and overdue for repavement

B) narrow 2 lanes in each direction (the minimum for interstate standards and hardly seen in urban areas) and

C) not very safe considering there are no middle retaining walls in some sections as well as very short merge lanes that cause for slowdowns which leads into backups.

I would say its needed

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As a transportation planner who works for a major highway agency, but has pushed alternative transportation modes since before some of you were born, I can't think of a better stretch of highway to rebuild and even improve than an aging Interstate freeway passing through the heart of a built-up downtown area that serves 1000s of vehicles daily. Those rebuilt overpasses don't look so bad, either.

Sure, the rebuilt overpasses might look better than the broken down ones there now. But they certainly could have tried harder.

Watch the video again and look at the bridge over Lafayette at 1:25, which they claim will "enhance pedestrian and transit access". To me it looks like they are shoving the pedestrians on a 10 ft. concrete slab between a giant wall and motor vehicles. Not what I'd consider pedestrian friendly, although from a Crime Reduction Through Environmental Design, it is an improvement eliminating the dark open space under the bridge.

This video From Calgary, Alberta shows a better option on a larger scale project. It effectively separates the pedestrians from the traffic, making it more comfortable to pass under the large road. They obviously don't have the vertical clearance at Lafayette to attempt something of this scale, but the plan shown in the video is not pedestrian friendly in my opinion. It is cramped looking and not inviting.

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Yes, it would be nice if every major (and maybe minor) transportation project could incorporate creative aesthetics and lots of other "bells and whistles". But these days, it often comes down to money, or actually the lack of money. That's true across the country for highway and transit projects, but I have to believe in Michigan, lack of public transportation funds is probably even more of an issue.

Some asethetic and other design embellishments can be inexpensive and/or easy to include in many projects, but that really requires an entire shift of perspective and priority on the part of the DOT and the engineers/designers. Public involvement at the earliest stages of planning and project development may help that, but it will take a concertend effort to keep pushing for a culture change or paradigm shift at a State DOT or even a local government public works department. But there are opportunities to do that if you look (e.g., attend public meetings, open houses, check the websites for information and updates, get on email lists, etc.). Remember, these are mostly engineers you are dealing with.... blush.gif

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Yes, it would be nice if every major (and maybe minor) transportation project could incorporate creative aesthetics and lots of other "bells and whistles". But these days, it often comes down to money, or actually the lack of money. That's true across the country for highway and transit projects, but I have to believe in Michigan, lack of public transportation funds is probably even more of an issue.

Some asethetic and other design embellishments can be inexpensive and/or easy to include in many projects, but that really requires an entire shift of perspective and priority on the part of the DOT and the engineers/designers. Public involvement at the earliest stages of planning and project development may help that, but it will take a concertend effort to keep pushing for a culture change or paradigm shift at a State DOT or even a local government public works department. But there are opportunities to do that if you look (e.g., attend public meetings, open houses, check the websites for information and updates, get on email lists, etc.). Remember, these are mostly engineers you are dealing with.... blush.gif

I believe the Belknap Hill residents spent a considerable amount of time meeting with MDOT about this project. I however don't know how much of the proposal will end up in the final plans. Some of the things I have noticed in the new bridge construction is wider sidewalks and more decorative fencing instead of that ugly barbed wire stuff, as well as more decorative pier details. Not much, but it does look better than it did.

Also, I think I read that this project is 100% ARRA funded. Right, wrong or indifferent, I don't think it's coming out of MDOT's transpo budget. I could have read it wrong though.

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So the justification seems that since we have already misinvested in this sort of thing for the last 50 years, then inertia just should continue it. After all, how can we let the billions of dollars already spent go to waste? At some point we need to collectively re-access and ultimately come up with a different solution, because someone will be having this same discussion in 30 years when these improvements are too bumpy and too narrow and obsolete...and not just here, but on M6 too. And I will bet that we will be a poorer nation then, than we are right now.

All the arguments are sound from a certain point of view. Sure it is crumbling. But that alone does not justify not changing the way we are thinking about this.

Instead of further creating an autocentric chasm, plans should be to turn this into a multifunctional thoroughfare...at the very least. Highway standards are not calibrated to context, despite whatever smoke MDOT wants to blow up our asses and using the same design parameters and solutions that are used for the rural and suburban highway for the urban highway just plain does not work.

These gashes into the urban fabric have done nothing but damn the city and its residents.

"Though I'm sure your next question will be whether we should even bother maintaining it. We could always rip it out and try to restore the damage its construction caused. Actually, I'd like that, but it's probably not realistic."

And yes, I would propose to let it rot...if this is the only solution (and I suspect it is, from MDOT's point of view). We could indeed rip it out and at least make it more contextual. And why precisely would that not be realistic? We are already throwing substantial gobs of money at this and closing it for a substantial amount of time. The short answer is that doing this would not meet their one size fits all design solution.

As far as becoming part of the process, let's get real. That only works when all parties are willing to collaborate and they are not willing. I have been there, done that, and it doesn't work with MDOT and it doesn't even work with the city traffic machine.

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