Ludington, state discussing reducing Ludington Avenue to 3 lanes

Probably one of the dumbest ideas I've heard in awhile. I don't go downtown that much as it is, do something idiotic like this and I'll probably be even less likely to go downtown. If Ludington wasn't a tourist town it might be a idea worth looking at but when summer comes around, that's when the biggest chunk of money is being made by the local businesses.. making it more difficult for people to get around isn't going to help, people here visiting are simply going to find other things to do. I lived up in Petoskey for a time and I can tell you that unless you knew the back streets, it was a pain to get around town during the summer, don't want to see Ludington fall into that trap.

June 12, 2017

Ludington Avenue looking east from William Street.

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.

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Our Ludington City officials seem to be on a rampage of new and stupid ideas recently. If you ask me, it's a direct and intentional way to distract locals from concentrating on the infrastructure catastrophe that is going to cost us $25 Million or more for repairs long past due and ignored for 20 years. A study by an MDOT engineer and his buddies need to come downtown in late July or August to see how things are now with five lanes, then complete your insane study. Thanks for the heads-up Dave, good find.

Judging by what I see on Facebook regarding this story, it seems that the idea is not popular at all with anyone... don't believe I've seen one person support the idea, everyone was pretty much like me in that they don't like going through downtown as it is and narrowing it down to a single lane is stupid.

Dave, you have to come to Ludington City Council meetings.  Both Councilor Kathy Moonbeam and Planning Commissioner Raymond Madsen speaking as a private citizen listed why it would be great for Ludington.

I actually am not dead set against the idea to send it to the MDOT for a traffic study-- as long as they conduct the traffic study during July and August, the high water mark for traffic on Ludington Avenue.  If they do that, I am confident MDOT will return a result that the idea isn't sound.

As I have noted elsewhere, even if you think a street diet worked on N. Lakeshore, it's an entirely different animal than Ludington Avenue as per traffic volume.

I agree with you Dave. This makes no sense. If Ludington Ave is reduced to three lanes there will be chaos especially during the busy tourist season. This would cause mini traffic jams every time a vehicle uses a parking space because the flow of traffic would have to stop or slow done considerably. As it is now vehicles can bypass the lane feeding the curb parking sites, allowing the  free flow of traffic.


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