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‘Trains not lanes’: Residents urge MDOT to take expanding U.S. 23 off the table

Started by afguy, February 07, 2024, 03:29:32 PM

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KelleyCook

Quote from: Plutonic Panda on February 13, 2024, 11:21:50 PM
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of flex lanes. I don't mind them for short term improvements, but they need to be tied to a longer full rebuild and a permanent expansion. Shoulders are important and taking them away during the busiest hours isn't very wise in my opinion.
I'm ranting now.

They had plenty of room to put permanent new lanes in north of M-14 to 8 mile, they didn't, because this sexy (and operationally expensive for all the electronics) flex lane idea.  It should be noted that they redid every intersection for this improvement, so it wasn't because so they could save money on new bridges.  And despite literally everyone driving on it wondering why the third lane isn't open all the time, they are now pushing the lanes out to I-96.

Much worse they are also now putting a flex lane on I-96 in Oakland County.  And yes they tore up the whole road to do this. The entire sometimes lane is just stupid pandering to the "induced demand" fallacy, IMO.

And after spending a year reconstruction all the bridges, for the next two years (!!), they will be "remilling and resurfacing" I-75 from Clarkston to Grand Blanc and yet not adding a fourth lane at all, despite the road being expanded to four lanes for much of Flint to Bay City.  This section is jammed every weekend in the summer.  Hell they aren't even fixing the dangerous left hand entrances at the two sides of Dixie Highway.

IMO, MDOT has a real problem lately about expanding roads to their needed capacity and instead spends time appeasing traffic-clueless Lansing folks.


JREwing78

Quote from: KelleyCook on February 15, 2024, 11:01:07 AM
I'm ranting now.

They had plenty of room to put permanent new lanes in north of M-14 to 8 mile, they didn't, because this sexy (and operationally expensive for all the electronics) flex lane idea.  It should be noted that they redid every intersection for this improvement, so it wasn't because so they could save money on new bridges.

Slow your roll there. MDOT is underfunded, not incompetent. That lack of funding has an impact in what they are able to accomplish.

MDOT may have laid fresh asphalt and made minor changes at several interchanges, but they most certainly did not replace every bridge or ground-up rebuild the roadbed. A ground-up rebuild would have included rebuilding every overpass wide enough to accommodate at least 5 full lanes of traffic and full 12' shoulders in each direction. It also would've meant a much more massive price tag than the cost of the "Flex Lane" project.

The whole point of the project was a cheap-and-easy widening that would take the edge off the congestion the area exhibits during busy periods. MDOT didn't have to build this "Flex Lane" project to full Interstate-standard because the "Flex Lanes" are only in operation for limited periods of time. That saved time and money they could use to fix other roads, funding which is in limited supply.


Quote from: KelleyCook on February 15, 2024, 11:01:07 AM
IMO, MDOT has a real problem lately about expanding roads to their needed capacity and instead spends time appeasing traffic-clueless Lansing folks.

How many people volunteered to pay an additional 40 cents per gallon in fuel taxes to fix the damn roads? Clearly, the answer is nobody, because the state ended up bonding $3.5 billion to fund the current Rebuilding Michigan program. The state just paid a bunch of residents to ask their opinion about alternative road funding models, because straight-up raising the gas tax is such a non-starter. Politicians would rather give their donors fellacio than deal with the prospect of having to explain to voters why the gas tax went up.

You want MDOT to fix the damn roads? Time to pony up!

afguy

Looks like MDOT won't be widening U.S. 23 after all. IMO, U.S. 23 should be six lanes between Toledo and Flint.

Highway expansion options cut from big U.S. 23 project in Ann Arbor
QuoteA major U.S. 23 overhaul project in the works for Ann Arbor's east side won't include a freeway expansion, an option previously under consideration, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The change comes after a wave of resistance to widening the highway between I-94 and M-14, which included formal opposition from Ann Arbor city leaders and a resident advocate group rallying under the moniker "trains not lanes." More than 1,300 people signed a petition raising concerns about increased carbon emissions with more highway lanes and asking for public transit alternatives. MDOT listened and is narrowing the scope of its U.S. 23 project, transportation planners said. The agency has eliminated three alternatives involving the widening of the highway from an ongoing environmental assessment assessment study.

In their stead, officials have put forward a new alternative, dubbed "safely connecting communities," that focuses on rebuilding highway pavement, replacing bridges and making safety improvements with increased options for pedestrians and cyclists.

"We really think that the change demonstrates what we've been saying throughout the environmental assessment process, which is our commitment to listen to the stakeholders and the public," said MDOT Senior University Region Planner Mike Davis Jr. "We're trying to focus on maintaining our existing infrastructure rather than expanding them."
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2024/05/highway-expansion-options-cut-from-big-us-23-project-in-ann-arbor.html

michiganguy123

Quote from: afguy on May 23, 2024, 05:55:59 PMLooks like MDOT won't be widening U.S. 23 after all. IMO, U.S. 23 should be six lanes between Toledo and Flint.

Highway expansion options cut from big U.S. 23 project in Ann Arbor
QuoteA major U.S. 23 overhaul project in the works for Ann Arbor's east side won't include a freeway expansion, an option previously under consideration, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The change comes after a wave of resistance to widening the highway between I-94 and M-14, which included formal opposition from Ann Arbor city leaders and a resident advocate group rallying under the moniker "trains not lanes." More than 1,300 people signed a petition raising concerns about increased carbon emissions with more highway lanes and asking for public transit alternatives. MDOT listened and is narrowing the scope of its U.S. 23 project, transportation planners said. The agency has eliminated three alternatives involving the widening of the highway from an ongoing environmental assessment assessment study.

In their stead, officials have put forward a new alternative, dubbed "safely connecting communities," that focuses on rebuilding highway pavement, replacing bridges and making safety improvements with increased options for pedestrians and cyclists.

"We really think that the change demonstrates what we've been saying throughout the environmental assessment process, which is our commitment to listen to the stakeholders and the public," said MDOT Senior University Region Planner Mike Davis Jr. "We're trying to focus on maintaining our existing infrastructure rather than expanding them."
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2024/05/highway-expansion-options-cut-from-big-us-23-project-in-ann-arbor.html

MDOT will keep the highways 4 lanes even if they get close to 100K vehicles, meanwhile they widen I-75 to 8 lanes with less than 60,000 AADT??

Great Lakes Roads

Quote from: michiganguy123 on May 23, 2024, 09:35:30 PM
Quote from: afguy on May 23, 2024, 05:55:59 PMLooks like MDOT won't be widening U.S. 23 after all. IMO, U.S. 23 should be six lanes between Toledo and Flint.

Highway expansion options cut from big U.S. 23 project in Ann Arbor
QuoteA major U.S. 23 overhaul project in the works for Ann Arbor's east side won't include a freeway expansion, an option previously under consideration, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The change comes after a wave of resistance to widening the highway between I-94 and M-14, which included formal opposition from Ann Arbor city leaders and a resident advocate group rallying under the moniker "trains not lanes." More than 1,300 people signed a petition raising concerns about increased carbon emissions with more highway lanes and asking for public transit alternatives. MDOT listened and is narrowing the scope of its U.S. 23 project, transportation planners said. The agency has eliminated three alternatives involving the widening of the highway from an ongoing environmental assessment assessment study.

In their stead, officials have put forward a new alternative, dubbed "safely connecting communities," that focuses on rebuilding highway pavement, replacing bridges and making safety improvements with increased options for pedestrians and cyclists.

"We really think that the change demonstrates what we've been saying throughout the environmental assessment process, which is our commitment to listen to the stakeholders and the public," said MDOT Senior University Region Planner Mike Davis Jr. "We're trying to focus on maintaining our existing infrastructure rather than expanding them."
https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2024/05/highway-expansion-options-cut-from-big-us-23-project-in-ann-arbor.html

MDOT will keep the highways 4 lanes even if they get close to 100K vehicles, meanwhile they widen I-75 to 8 lanes with less than 60,000 AADT??

That's like OregonDOT's way of thinking!  :rofl:
-Jay Seaburg

Henry

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LilianaUwU

Can't wait for the same people to urge MDOT to expand US 23 in ten to twenty years, and to be met with refusal because isn't that what they wanted?
"Volcano with no fire... Not volcano... Just mountain."
—Mr. Thwomp

My pronouns are she/her. Also, I'm an admin on the AARoads Wiki.

jeffandnicole

So the masses not wanting the highway expansion get their way...except they're not suggesting building a train line, so they're not getting their way.

Yay! Everyone loses!

Max Rockatansky

Quote from: jeffandnicole on May 23, 2024, 11:17:56 PMSo the masses not wanting the highway expansion get their way...except they're not suggesting building a train line, so they're not getting their way.

Yay! Everyone loses!

That's the Michigan I remember.  Good to see it is still alive after all these years.

Plutonic Panda


vdeane

Quote from: LilianaUwU on May 23, 2024, 10:56:36 PMCan't wait for the same people to urge MDOT to expand US 23 in ten to twenty years, and to be met with refusal because isn't that what they wanted?
It wouldn't be the first time a town came to regret making a DOT do less than the originally planned improvements.  They probably won't even admit that it's their fault it wasn't widened in the first place in that scenario.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are people who think they can just take the funding for the widening and put it to a train line, not understanding that government funding doesn't work that way.  There are different "colors of money", and money for one thing can't be spent on something completely different.  People tend to be more likely to think "the government gives money to MDOT to spend in my town" than "the government gives money to MDOT to maintain improve roadways that meet certain criteria anywhere in the state".
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

The Ghostbuster

Well then, they had better not complain about how bad traffic is on US 23 (of course they will). Hypocrites!

KelleyCook

Quote from: The Ghostbuster on May 25, 2024, 02:10:34 PMWell then, they had better not complain about how bad traffic is on US 23 (of course they will). Hypocrites!

They have been complaining about that for decades.

Flint1979

Quote from: The Ghostbuster on May 25, 2024, 02:10:34 PMWell then, they had better not complain about how bad traffic is on US 23 (of course they will). Hypocrites!
I don't live in Washtenaw County so it's not an area I'm in every day however when I have traveled that part of US-23 I have complained about it just about every time. It's mind boggling that they think that a four lane freeway is enough for a county that has a population of almost 400,000. US-23 sees more traffic than I-75 does between Saginaw and Flint and I-75 is eight lanes in that area.

RoadMaster09

US 23 is frequently used as a bypass of Metro Detroit, as it is shorter and also avoids the extreme congestion, so it is easy to see why there is a lot of traffic. In many ways, it acts as an I-x75. Those would have zero use for a commuter train. If there is high commuter demand, maybe widen to 8 lanes with the fourth lane in each direction being a toll/bus lane? However, the AADT of 40,000 to 70,000 clearly warrants 6 lanes.

Ann Arbor should be happy that there is no freeway directly through the center of town...

Ted$8roadFan

It would be great if there was rail service between Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit. That could work. However, I think it would be highly unlikely that service on the US-23 corridor would be effective in relieving traffic. I imagine most people using US-23 in southern Michigan are headed beyond Flint and Saginaw to northern Michigan while avoiding Detroit-area traffic. A rail link that doesnt involve Detroit would be quite expensive and wouldn't attract many riders or relieve traffic on 23/75.

KelleyCook

Quote from: RoadMaster09 on June 15, 2024, 01:06:35 AMUS 23 is frequently used as a bypass of Metro Detroit, as it is shorter and also avoids the extreme congestion, so it is easy to see why there is a lot of traffic. In many ways, it acts as an I-x75. Those would have zero use for a commuter train. If there is high commuter demand, maybe widen to 8 lanes with the fourth lane in each direction being a toll/bus lane? However, the AADT of 40,000 to 70,000 clearly warrants 6 lanes.

Ann Arbor should be happy that there is no freeway directly through the center of town...

M-14 comes pretty close though.



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