Ludington, state discussing reducing Ludington Avenue to 3 lanes.
By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
LUDINGTON — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the City of Ludington are discussing reducing Ludington Avenue from four/five lanes to three lanes. The conversation comes in advance of MDOT’s plan to resurface Ludington Avenue between Jackson Road and Rowe Street in 2018. That project will include replacing some of the curb and gutter, making minor repairs to the storm sewer system, milling and resurfacing the pavement, and re-striping the road.
MDOT has jurisdiction over Ludington Avenue because it is a state highway (US 10 west to James Street and M-116 west to Lakeshore Drive). In a memorandum to Mayor Kaye Holman and the City Council, City Manager John Shay said the MDOT proposal would reduce the current four- and five-lane configurations of Ludington Avenue to William Street rather than Rowe Street because “it was felt that it would be difficult to deal with transition issues at Rowe Street where Ludington Avenue expands to five lanes.”
Shay said some factors in the consideration include:
- Currently, the travel lanes are narrow (about 10 feet wide). By reducing the number of lanes, the individual travel lanes would be wider, 11 or 12 feet wide.
- It may be possible to add a paved shoulder and/or bike lane on one or both sides of Ludington Avenue.
- The downtown parallel parking spaces could be made wider to allow more of a buffer between parked vehicles and moving vehicles.
- There is a possibility that traffic backups could occur during peak times, especially during the summer months.
- How would the existing lane configurations at Jackson Road and at Williams Street be transitioned to three lanes between these intersections?
- If the trail is implemented to re-stripe the road, what time of year would it make the most sense to implement the trial? Would it be in the fall when the public would have about nine months to get used to it before the busy summer travel season or in the spring, so that the impact of this trial can be determined more quickly?
- While the idea of a trial moves only paint and not permanent structures, such as concrete curbs, what would the cost be to the city, if any, to re-stripe Ludington Avenue as a three lane road?
Shay said he is requesting the city formally request MDOT “simply to study this issue. Once MDOT has collected the data and completed any traffic modeling, the city can review this information and come back at a later date with a consensus on whether or not to proceed with this trial of reducing the number of travel lanes. As part of studying this issue, it will be imperative to obtain from the general public, downtown businesses, and other interested stakeholders.”
City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 400 S. Harrison St.