Just a few meetings after the issue of whether the City of Scottville should maintain its own police department and whether they actually enforce speeding laws in the city, the Scottville City Commission tonight will take up the topic of whether to raise the speed limits near the outskirts of town.
At issue is the limit at South Main Street between the PM River and the top of the river hill, ending just before First Street, and the limits on First Street headed west out of town starting at Reinberg.
The Michigan State Police has recommended that the speeds be adjusted upwards at both locations, splitting both routes in two. This recommendation comes after doing field research and learning what speed 85 percent of the vehicles that use the road go under.
These traffic studies may often find that the posted speed limits are too restrictive, as well as determine whether stop signs are needed at intersections. Oddly enough, sometimes removing unwarranted stop signs or setting realistic speed limits is the safest way to approach traffic problems.
As the last link noted, federal and state studies have consistently shown that the drivers most likely to get into accidents in traffic are those traveling significantly below the average speed. According to research, those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are more likely to be involved in an accident. The vast majority of drivers will not go faster than what they feel is comfortable and safe regardless of the speed limit. Numerous studies have come to the same conclusions that when the speed limits are raised, the speeds actually driven are not significantly affected.
Yet, even when such facts are provided, good people (especially those serving as public officials) still worry about raising the limits, even when such studies warrant it. In the City of Ludington Daily News (COLDNews)article provided below this analysis, the city manager of Scottville (who is married to a Scottville police officer) offers her own analysis, which according to traffic studies, is dead wrong. But let's look more closely at each proposed change.
Perhaps least controversial is the First Street stretch, where the move to 35 mph on the Reinberg to the curve section is just sensible since there is really no residential units or foot traffic along the road. Without the curve at the west end, traffic would conceivably be going much faster on this stretch both ways. Similarly, the stretch going north-south on First Street between the curves has one farm house positioned along its length, and traffic goes the rate noted strictly because of the curves at either end forcing them to slow down.
Traffic is very light on this section of road, and the main traffic issue would be people navigating the low-visibility northern curve too fast from either side and getting out of their lane, which could become dangerous if a motorist on the other side is doing the same. It seems more logical for the speed limit to be the same for each stretch due to the minor difference in 85 percentile speeds, plus it will cut down on signage, so why not have 35 mph be the benchmark?
For South Main Street, I offer my authority as someone who lived three houses up from the river hill for a good twenty years of my life, frequently walking down to the River Park area and back, and/or crossing Main Street at Fifth Street. The person who asked for this study lives three houses further up, and likely believes that the current rates are unrealistic.
Scottville City Manager Williams thinks that the First Street study is reasonable but believes that on South Main Street "raising the limit will only increase the issue (of going faster than the limit)". As noted, raising speed limits has no effect on what speeds drivers will drive over a stretch of road.
As for what she considers a safety issue, she is once again being an alarmist. During my time in Scottville, and since that time, this stretch of street to my knowledge has not experienced any accident where speed was a contributing factor. It has even became much safer in recent years due to the addition of the walkway from Fifth Street down to the river, and is thus not such a hazard for pedestrians who had to walk on a steep bank just off the road. Crossing at Fifth Street is easy whether the cars are going 35 mph or 55 mph, as you can see down the hill, there is no visibility issue.
Furthermore, the hill acts as a natural decelerator for traffic coming into Scottville and there is no residential homes in the stretch, so 45 mph does not only seem reasonable to me, it also seems reasonable to 85 percent of other drivers, many who probably are like me and need the little extra speed just to get up that hill with their older cars. What would be safe is that the current limit, which is 15 mph below the 85 percentile speed be raised so the few that actually go slower because of irrationally signed speeds, are less likely to cause future accidents
Beyond the hill, the study shows that the existing limit 30 mph is the standard between First and Fifth Street, which mayhaps shows that the current speed limit there is realistic. Only time will tell what will happen, but you can make your feelings be known at 5:30 PM today and at later meetings. A special thanks to Jim Durfee for recognizing that the posted speed limits seemed way off the mark.
COLDNews article: Should the speed limit be raised on First Street and South Main Street/Scottville Road?
The Michigan State Police recommended yes for both spots studied.
City Manager Amy Williams said for First Street, yes, it’s easy to agree the limit should be increased, since it is not a residential area.
The recommendation is for 35 mph on the east-west portion from Reinberg Avenue west and 40 mph on the north-south portion between the curves.
Williams does not like the recommendation the study shows of upping the limit on South Main/Scottville Road. It calls for 45 mph from the south side of the Pere Marquette River Bridge to Fifth Street and to 30 mph from Fifth to First streets.
“I’m opposed to it,” Williams said. “And if I lived there, I’d be even more opposed to it.”
People do go faster than the limit, she said, and raising the limit will only increase the issue.
There is a visibility issue in the area of Fifth Street with people driving over the hill.
Having traffic travel faster there is a bad idea, Williams said.
“It’s dangerous enough,” she said.
She was surprised by the recommendation and said it doesn’t take into account the real-life issues there with hidden driveways, kids, dogs and a canoe livery business in the area.
That area, as Scottville Road becomes South Main Street, has too many extenuating circumstances, she said.
Commissioners will decide how they want to proceed.
They meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. There is no time-frame on the decision, since the city asked for the studies, which were at the request of resident Jim Durfee.
Police Chief Don Riley said he sees three options:
• Disregard the speed study recommendations and leave the speed limits the way they are.
• adopt the recommendations in their entirety.
• adopt portions of the recommendations and leave the others as they are.
Michigan State Police Hart Post Sixth District Traffic Services Sgt. Doug Roesler commended the city for being proactive in “establishing realistic speed limits within your city. Numerous studies have show, and continue to show, speed limits based on the 85th percentile result in the safest environment for motorists and allow for enforcement efforts to focus on the truly egregious violators.”
The commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
The COS Police Department have far too much time on their hands at the taxpayers expense. Where are they when the "call's" come in, and the MSP and MCSO respond.
The entire SPD is a joke, at the taxpayer's expense!!
Today's Scottville radio news stated that Hahn and another local store owner want the Harvest Festival moved so the downtown streets aren't closed during this coming weekend. Move it to a parking lot or McFail field is what they say now. Well, it's too late this year, as the program is already in place, maybe next year. Either way, I agree, these people have too much time on their hands to waste, and should be concentrating on getting more people to come back to their town, not look for ways to keep pushing them away.
Commissioners Pasco and Hahn politically messed up big time last night in expressing their views on the subject. The Harvest Festival is dear to the hearts of Scottvillians even if they've moved away-- that's when they filter back, and remember how great Scottville and the Festival was and still could be if they had good leadership.
Commissioner Genson had it right, the commission should be minimally trying to resuscitate the harvest celebration, not trying to ditch it. Hahn and Pasco showed that they do not understand what the Harvest Festival means to everyone who grew up and live in Scottville, and that is mainly because they transplanted themselves into Scottville from downstate and have only a couple of years at Mayberry behind them. I hope they ask around and discover why they made a mistake on this point, and then atone at a future meeting.
Big news out of last night's Scottville Commission meeting is that Commissioner Dan Pasco is resigning. Pasco was one of those commission-appointed commissioners put in this April, and apparently took some heat and some loss of business from his stance made at the previous commission meeting, and probably some pressure from the police and their allies for his willingness to disband the SPD. He has given no public reason for his departure.
The Scottville Commission must either fill this position with an appointee within thirty days or hold a special election. They would have been well served to have held a special election in April when two of the spots came up, but city commissioners always know that their choices are better than yours.
Well, shucks Ed Hahn's "YouTube" video of the September 8th Commission meeting is set to "private." Bummer!!!
It is now unblocked for viewing by everyone............
Perhaps you caught him during the time he was uploading the video, as of three hours ago, three hours after your post, he uploaded the video, I include it here. At the 2:50 mark you can even see my backside just before the meeting is called to order.
Thanks for posting the video XLFD! Super interesting meeting! Nice backside XLFD!! LOL!!!!
Just for the record, I have attended a couple of the meetings so far just to hear what's going on in my old hometown, I'd be a little self conscious of being looked at as an outsider even though I live only eight miles away and lived in the City of Scottville nearly half of my life if I opined too stridently on a Scottville issue. And both times, I was tempted to do so, because I do believe the scientific traffic study warrants a change on south Main at the river hill, and that the Scottville Police Department should never be considered a sacred cow.
So, unlike the Ludington City Council, they haven't got a really good look at my backside just yet. LOL.
While Lud's. City Council members remain mute on charges of perjury, fraud, letting contracts too early, without fair counteroffers in fair bidding, paying City Attorneys unlawfully at rates not agreed to, and countless times to sub-contractors of City Attorneys, making fraudulent grant applications, and so much more, I don't see Scottvilles reigning council members avoiding these type of charges. I do see them, in the Finance Cte. spending $250K in one month. And that's way too expensive to me, for that small berg. I don't have time to watch a 1 hour meeting right now, so don't know the whole story right now. As for backsides, I'd leave that to our female viewers to interpret, not us male viewers, but, that's just imho.
I haven't checked out the usual Scottville figures, but the $250K for one month or half month is likely not representative of their usual expenditures. There were likely some one time purchases. It does make a case for a part time treasurer that would cost about 1000th of the total expenditures.
Today's Scottville meeting at 5:30 PM will cover some blighted properties in the city's sights, and the determination of changing the speed limits on First Street up to the limits suggested by the MSP study. I disagree with Commissioner Hahn, City Manager Williams and even Citizen Durfee about keeping the speed limit between the river hill and the river at 30 mph, when the 85% test shows the speed is over 40 both ways.
The important thing to notice is that once almost all vehicles get to the top of the hill, they do slow down to the 30 mph through the residential area. It defies logic and past experiences elsewhere that putting the speed limit up to 40 mph (which is under the recommended 45 mph) will make people travel any faster than they already do-- except those clowns that were driving ten mph below the 'normal' speed that presented the worst hazard there.
I just can't get over how crazy it is for some people to believe that safety always involves putting up more stop signs and lowering speed limits. Sometimes having too many stop signs and too low of a speed limit than warranted is a traffic hazard. And I admit this as one who more often travels as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
It is unbelievable all the time and energy spent by the Commissioner's, SPD, along with the MSP to change the speed limit on 1'st Street. Really? 1'st street is not exactly a high traveled street for destination into Scottville, and exiting Scottville.
But, this change will occur after more meetings, notices in the LDN, back to the Commission, etc Such a waste of time! All this time and energy spent, when the COS has far more issues of concern. Priorities?? Where do they lie?
BTW, why were numerous trees painted with orange "X" markings? It is so tacky! There has to be a better way to mark the trees for trimming. Tree graffiti? If a citizen spray painted "X's" on trees they would be in deep doo-doo. Just saying....
And, it sounds like the SPD are finally doing something...Mr. Claveau happily reported how traffic has slowed way down since the SPD have made their presence known. Where were they after all Mr. Claveau's concerns he has voiced for months and months?