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Author Topic: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?  (Read 1774 times)

roadgeek

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MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« on: November 23, 2019, 10:47:47 AM »

Road Commission To Take Over M-37 From MDOT; Peninsula Township Leaders Opposed

https://www.traverseticker.com/news/road-commission-to-take-over-m-37-from-mdot-peninsula-township-leaders-opposed/

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing to transfer 17.3 miles of M-37 on Old Mission Peninsula over to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission – a move opposed by Peninsula Township leaders, who question the Road Commission’s track record on township roads and worry the decision will divert funds away from the peninsula to other county projects.

Peninsula Township trustees will vote tonight (Tuesday) on an official resolution of opposition to the M-37 transfer, which has already been approved by MDOT and the Road Commission and is set to take effect May 1. MDOT Traverse City Transportation Service Center Manager Rick Liptak says the transfer has been on the table for several years, noting MDOT’s main focus is on key transportation routes that connect communities, such as US-31, M-72, and I-75, among others. M-37 – which is isolated on Old Mission and dead-ends at the tip of the peninsula – falls into a category of “offshoot” or “spur” roads that are better managed by local agencies, Liptak says.

“As we much as we can, we are turning these roads over to a local jurisdiction,” Liptak says. “It lets local groups have more of a say in what happens to them.” He adds that MDOT is also in conversations with the City of Traverse City to take over the small section of M-37 that stretches from East Front Street to the city limits on Old Mission.

On the county side, the M-37 transfer comes with significant funding attached for the Road Commission. As part of the agreement, MDOT will give the Road Commission just over $2 million in cash the department had budgeted for a planned resurfacing project next year on the southern 10 miles of M-37. Road Commission officials must spend those funds on upgrading M-37, though they can determine the process and timing of the improvements. (Road Commission Manager Brad Kluczynski tells The Ticker he believes a resurfacing project will take place in 2021).

In addition to that one-time cash transfer, the Road Commission will also receive an average annual payment of $420,300 to maintain the 17.3 miles of M-37 – or just over $24,000 per mile – and another $89,200 annually in Act 51 funds. Those funding pools are unrestricted and can be spent anywhere in Grand Traverse County, a fact highlighted by Road Commission staff and board members when discussing the transfer in August.

“The money that (MDOT is) offering us is tremendous compared to what it actually will cost us to own the road,” said Road Commission Manager Brad Kluczynski. “We’re looking at half a million dollars a year to take this stretch of road over…it does not have to be applied to (M-37).” He pointed out the Road Commission is often able to execute local projects at a cheaper rate than MDOT, resulting in a more efficient use of funds and potential leftover monies for other projects. “This is a pretty big deal,” said Board Chair Jason Gillman of the M-37 transfer.

MDOT and the Road Commission are the only legal authorities that can “own” M-37; cities and villages can manage their own streets in Michigan, but responsibility for township roads is generally assigned to county road commissions. Since Peninsula Township taking over M-37 was never a legal option, township officials were not consulted on the decision – a process that nonetheless frustrated community leaders, who say they’ve had a rocky working relationship with the Road Commission and would prefer the road stay under MDOT jurisdiction.

“Our concern is that the roads in the township haven’t been very well-maintained,” says Township Supervisor Rob Manigold. He cites concerns from residents about recent road projects including Island View Road and Bowers Harbor Road that were left an incomplete state this summer while the Road Commission waited for more supplies to arrive. Manigold says township residents were also upset when the Road Commission removed trees along Bluff Road in 2017 over public protests and township board opposition – a move Manigold believes contributed to the current erosion challenges on the road.

Township Treasurer Brad Bickle says he’s also heard from residents worried about the M-37 transfer. “It gives the Road Commission the freedom to make use of those funds for whatever projects it deems necessary in the county, and I think that’s what concerns residents, is pulling away from M-37,” he says. “Their concerns are understandable, based on what’s happened in the past, and because M-37 is a major backbone for the peninsula.”

Bickle also says the Road Commission owes Peninsula Township approximately $165,668 for eight special assessment projects recently completed in the township and has been unresponsive to township requests for payment. A 2016 memo sent by the Road Commission to Manigold outlined the organization’s willingness to contribute to the projects; the Road Commission generally provides funding for non-primary road projects as long as the township puts up a local match. Kluczynski acknowledges the bill hasn’t yet been paid, but says staff turnover since 2016 is the culprit for the delay. “All the people who were dealing with it then are gone…so we’re just trying to figure out what is owed,” he says. “We have every intention of paying what we owe, we just don’t know what it is yet.”

Kluczynski also provides responses to other criticisms levied by the township: For one, he says local road projects often get done faster and cheaper under the Road Commission than MDOT, with local agencies having more flexibility and nimbleness to respond to needs in shorter timeframes. “M-37 is probably going to receive better attention now than it ever did through MDOT,” he says, pointing out the Road Commission has already been contracted by the state for at least 25 years to complete plowing, mowing, striping, and other services on M-37.

Kluczynski adds that having a general pool of funding for county road projects – which will be boosted by taking on M-37’s mileage – is no different than MDOT having a generalized pool of funding for its roads. Liptak confirms that’s true, saying the department gets a set funding amount per mile it oversees and figures out how to distribute those monies among all its roads. There's not a direct dollar-to-mileage allocation that stipulates all of the funding generated by M-37's mileage must actually be spent on M-37 each year, he says. Despite disagreements about funding allocations – as well as past road bumps between the township and Road Commission, which Kluczynski acknowledges – he thinks the two groups can have a “good working relationship” and is open to hearing concerns from township officials.

For Manigold’s part, even though the M-37 transfer appears to be a done deal, he’s hoping MDOT and the Road Commission will at least listen to the township’s concerns before signing the final agreement. “We weren’t even asked about turning it over, and that’s not the the right way for government to operate,” he says. “We’ll see where it goes, but we’re definitely going to make our presence known.”
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renegade

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2019, 12:35:20 PM »

That is how they're going to "fix the damn roads." :banghead:
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 07:46:41 PM »

My god, it’s not like M-22 is being transferred...granted that’s not the same county mostly.  That segment of M-37 has been up for debate for a really long time, I’m surprised it took this long to happen.  This is the problem with having all these Township Governments.  They aren’t “really” incorporated places like Cities and don’t usually have the capacity to handle infrastructure like a County can.  What they only seem to be good for is complaining, or that’s what it always felt like to me. 
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 10:08:50 PM »

My god, it’s not like M-22 is being transferred...granted that’s not the same county mostly.  That segment of M-37 has been up for debate for a really long time, I’m surprised it took this long to happen.  This is the problem with having all these Township Governments.  They aren’t “really” incorporated places like Cities and don’t usually have the capacity to handle infrastructure like a County can.  What they only seem to be good for is complaining, or that’s what it always felt like to me. 

The thing to me is, M-37 is a local road. It should be transferred to non-state control; whether that's the county or township doesn't matter beyond who has the better capability to maintain it.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2019, 10:29:02 PM »

My god, it’s not like M-22 is being transferred...granted that’s not the same county mostly.  That segment of M-37 has been up for debate for a really long time, I’m surprised it took this long to happen.  This is the problem with having all these Township Governments.  They aren’t “really” incorporated places like Cities and don’t usually have the capacity to handle infrastructure like a County can.  What they only seem to be good for is complaining, or that’s what it always felt like to me. 

The thing to me is, M-37 is a local road. It should be transferred to non-state control; whether that's the county or township doesn't matter beyond who has the better capability to maintain it.

I agree, M-37 north of Traverse City doesn't serve the overall State Trunkline network at all.  From my own experience Grand Traverse County seems to handle winter road maintenance at a "somewhat" acceptable level, or at least the same as what I was seeing in around Lansing and Detroit.  I've spent a good number of winters up at the family cabin north of Traverse City, I don't see what the issue is with turning over a section of M-37 to the county.  More so, Old Mission Point Light is not part of the State Park System and doesn't appear on any directory the state maintains:

http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/#list

Conversely M-201 doesn't extend all the way to Leelanau State Park and is county maintained north of Northport.  So Leelanau County can maintain a peninsular road to an actual State Park but Grand Traverse County can't to a local park?
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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2019, 08:02:16 PM »

If this goes through, M-37 will be shortened by ~25 miles (as I assume it will be truncated to Chums Corner, where US-31 heads to the west)
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jzn110

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2019, 12:23:00 AM »

If this goes through, M-37 will be shortened by ~25 miles (as I assume it will be truncated to Chums Corner, where US-31 heads to the west)

That seems like the most logical assessment, as there really wouldn't be any reason to continue the duplex along 31.
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ftballfan

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2019, 09:24:25 PM »

If this goes through, M-37 will be shortened by ~25 miles (as I assume it will be truncated to Chums Corner, where US-31 heads to the west)

That seems like the most logical assessment, as there really wouldn't be any reason to continue the duplex along 31.

MDOT already has a useless concurrency in TC (M-22 extends concurrent with M-72 to US-31, where M-22 ends but M-72 continues).

Going into Fictional Highways territory, but Garfield between US-31 and Kingsley as well as South Airport/Three Mile make more sense as state trunklines than the hanging end of M-37 on the Old Mission Peninsula.
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andy3175

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2021, 05:18:55 PM »

As an update, MDOT plans to retain M-37 for the time being.

https://www.traverseticker.com/news/road-project-updates-m-37peninsula-drive-transfer-4-milehammond-roundabout-us-131-construction-more/

Quote
After initially seeking to turn over 17.3 miles of M-37/Peninsula Drive to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and .74 miles to the City of Traverse City, MDOT has reversed course, recently notifying local leaders the state will retain control over the corridor.

MDOT Traverse City Transportation Service Center Manager Dan Wagner told Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold by email that MDOT no longer plans to transfer M-37 “primarily due to the downstream implications given its designation as a Pure Michigan Byway.” Peninsula Township trustees had strenuously opposed the transfer, citing fears the road would not get the same level of attention from the GT County Road Commission as the state. Traverse City officials, however, supported the transfer and hoped to be able to redesign Peninsula Drive between Garfield and East Front (pictured) to city street instead of state highway standards. City Commissioner Brian McGillivary Monday said it was a “great disappointment” that MDOT wouldn’t transfer the stretch of road to the city.

City Manager Marty Colburn said the city is still working with MDOT on a number of possible safety improvements to the corridor. Wagner also alluded to potential “geometric changes as well as some pedestrian enhancements” in the city stretch of Peninsula Drive in his email to Manigold. Wagner said MDOT also plans to undertake an estimated $2 million resurfacing project of M-37 starting at the north city limit and ending near the Mapleton area in 2022.



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JREwing78

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2021, 09:01:43 PM »

This isn't the first time changes desired by a city have conflicted with MDOT standards. The reason no designated state highways actually enter downtown Kalamazoo anymore is that Kalamazoo wanted to get rid of their one-way streets and the associated high-speed traffic that went along with them. In particular, Michigan Ave was a pedestrian nightmare with 4 or 5 one-way lanes to cross to beat traffic moving well above the posted 30 mph speed limit. Taking jurisdiction of the roadways back from MDOT has allowed Kalamazoo to implement their desired changes.

Certainly, there's financial benefit to the city to not have to foot the bill for roadway maintenance, but I assume Kalamazoo is betting a more vibrant downtown will offset any loss in roadway maintenance funding they incur for taking responsibility for former MDOT-maintained streets.
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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2021, 06:38:19 PM »

If M-37 north of Traverse City were removed from the state highway system, I wouldn't give it another designation (state or county). I would include signage saying "To Mission Point Lighthouse" at the Front St./Garfield Ave. intersection.
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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2021, 07:15:24 PM »

If M-37 north of Traverse City were removed from the state highway system, I wouldn't give it another designation (state or county). I would include signage saying "To Mission Point Lighthouse" at the Front St./Garfield Ave. intersection.
That probably won't go over well with the wineries and other vacation destinations on the peninsula. I know Michigan isn't much on highways below the state highway tier. But tourists like easy to follow numbers and designations. They may not bother to visit if the "How to get here" includes things like "Turn left on Peninsula Drive and drive four miles after it becomes Center Road." Even in the era of GPS, vacationers will only drive so far off the main road, especially if it involves more than one or two roads. I would still give it a local auxiliary number.
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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2021, 07:25:45 PM »

Why does the "Pure Michigan Byway" designation factor in? Minnesota has plenty of designated scenic routes on county roads.
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Flint1979

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2021, 09:32:50 PM »

Why does the "Pure Michigan Byway" designation factor in? Minnesota has plenty of designated scenic routes on county roads.
Because a Pure Michigan Byway has to be on a state trunkline highway.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2021, 09:36:04 PM »

Why does the "Pure Michigan Byway" designation factor in? Minnesota has plenty of designated scenic routes on county roads.
Because a Pure Michigan Byway has to be on a state trunkline highway.

That settles that then. It sounds like MDOT is stuck with it then unless they carve out an exception, or remove the designation.
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Flint1979

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2021, 10:30:15 PM »

I wish Michigan would come up with a new marketing thing other than this Pure Michigan crap. It was started by Jennifer Granholm so consider the source. It's basically either a scenic, recreational or historic route that represents the cultural of Michigan. It's actually difficult to become a Pure Michigan Byway as I think there are only 20 routes listed as of right now. Most of them I believe follow multiple highways I've never really followed one but I've been on several.
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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2021, 11:32:37 PM »

It was started by Jennifer Granholm so consider the source.
???

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2021, 11:02:08 AM »

If M-37 north of Traverse City were removed from the state highway system, I wouldn't give it another designation (state or county). I would include signage saying "To Mission Point Lighthouse" at the Front St./Garfield Ave. intersection.
That probably won't go over well with the wineries and other vacation destinations on the peninsula. I know Michigan isn't much on highways below the state highway tier. But tourists like easy to follow numbers and designations. They may not bother to visit if the "How to get here" includes things like "Turn left on Peninsula Drive and drive four miles after it becomes Center Road." Even in the era of GPS, vacationers will only drive so far off the main road, especially if it involves more than one or two roads. I would still give it a local auxiliary number.

If it were to have been transferred, I'd probably want it numbered CR-37 for consistency purposes.

Also, I actually support the road remaining under MDOT control. Just because it goes up a peninsula doesn't mean it doesn't have merit. Another example would be WI-42 across the lake. Or M-183 in the UP.
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Flint1979

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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2021, 02:20:42 PM »

M-183 serves a state park though while M-37 doesn't. I think M-37 should be kept as is though.
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Re: MDOT Transferring M-37 to Grand Traverse County Road Commission?
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2021, 02:47:21 PM »

It was started by Jennifer Granholm so consider the source.
???

There are some great LMFAO "Pure Michigan" parodies online, that use the same music as the Pure Michigan ads, to describe what life in Michigan is really like. Anyone who lives in Michigan, or grew up there, will love them. Warning: NSFW language.

Most people on this forum can relate to the "Winter Driving" video:


Here's a master list:

https://www.notsopuremichigan.com/pure-michigan-spoofs
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