In comparison to the previous night's near-accidents at the west end of Ludington Avenue, detailed in Friday Night Frights, Saturday's edition was a little bit hairier and scarier.  This was due in large part to the traffic load being at least 25% heavier in the area which was due in large part to the nice weather which allowed the breakwater to stay open.  I was at the beach once again to monitor the safety of the intersection, which has decreased following the addition of angle parking to the north side of Ludington Avenue so that they would create one additional parking space.

Rather than deprive the increased load of children from their playground slide, and to offer a different vantage point, I set up my camera on the southwest corner of the T-intersection, looking to the northeast and vowed to look at one or more other issues I ignored the prior night.  

I took over a dozen pictures of traffic confusion and conflict created mainly by the lack of a stop sign at the end of Ludington Avenue, and made much worse by the angle parking created, which, as noted, added one overall parking space.  With my camera location you will see North Stearns Outer Drive to the left, South Stearns in the foreground, and West Ludington Avenue coming in from the right.

Had the white SUV to the left approached the uncontrolled intersection without caution, they would have likely ran into the grey vehicle cutting across its path, however, they stopped just after they passed the last angle-parked car and saw them coming across.  Afterwards, the next grey vehicle advanced well past the crosswalk and had the idea to also go across, but the white SUV decided letting one take his right-of-way was enough.

This silver truck wasn't sure of what to do having come to the end of the street.  The parking lot was full, so he eventually decided to make that left turn, but held up the line for a few seconds, you can see the one car peering out from behind him, blocking the crosswalk for the oncoming pedestrians you can see, who weren't able to get by until the long line made it through.

The dark SUV was well beyond the crosswalk when the jeep became visible.   This was probably the closest miss I noticed, since the jeep basically changed lanes at the last minute to turn left and avoid a collision; fortunately the dark SUV stopped, blocking the vacated northernmost lane.

Less chance of a crash here, as the driver on the left stopped when he finally noticed the oncoming driver on Ludington Avenue appearing at the last minute  Where he stopped was well beyond the crosswalk, where most of the drivers behind him also inched up to.  

Transitioning into a new theme, the grey car is cutting sharply across the lane where an oncoming SUV arrives, you will note that he does not see the SUV until he's beyond the point of no return.  We also see a pedestrian on the side of the avenue walking on the shoulder because there is no sidewalk on the south side.  Pedestrians walking on an already unsafe street, improperly controlled, is very unsafe.  

A small group of girls walk on the small road shoulder of Ludington Avenue, probably unaware that if that white jeep's driver lost control of his vehicle they could be in grave danger with no curb to protect them.  The jeep would take the outer lane, probably within a couple of feet of where the girls were on the shoulder ten seconds earlier.

Viewing the sunset or walking the piers brings pedestrians from the downtown and about.  Here a couple of groups walk in that same narrow shoulder unprotected from vehicle traffic.  The front ones are even in the roadway for a brief time.

Another group with a younger boy amidst them walking in the roadway shoulder.  The black truck originally planned to turn up the outer lane but then thought better of it and moved further away.  Children playing on the shoulder may dart into the roadway if they are used to normal sidewalks where the street is ten feet away and down a curb.

There was a few crazy things that I noticed both nights, but I only seen one instance of this.  Behind those four pedestrians you see a black truck turning into the mini-golf parking lot.  What you missed, and what I missed on camera, was that he originally was coming down Ludington Avenue and turned right, ignoring the 'Do not enter" signs, and continued up to where you see him now. Fortunately, there was no cross traffic at the time coming up on that lane of Stearns Outer Drive.

And one cannot help but make a note on the West End terminal parking lot, with nine parking spaces.  This was full or being filled all night long both days, but on Saturday, it really got interesting with increased traffic.  Above is one of the times that the lot was full but two vehicles still went into the lot, primarily because they were in the 'straight ahead' only lane falling right behind the new angle parking spots.  

A big truck cannot easily turn around with the dimensions of this lot, especially when you have one or two more follow you in.  This lot was a qualified disaster on Saturday, you could see several times that vehicles backed out into the T-intersection adding a bit of extra chaos to the general confusion.  By the time I left, this lot actually contained twelve vehicles, two parking on both sides of the handicapped space (therefore, negating the benefit) and one fitting in on the westernmost part of the opposite side.  

The hazardous conditions allowed by the City in this area should be unacceptable to all reasonable individuals.  The issues are easy to fix.  Two westbound lanes are not needed for travel in the last block of Ludington Avenue, but a sidewalk should be on the south side.  A stop sign should be placed at the end of Ludington Avenue allowing the avenue traffic to see North Stearns Outer Drive, obviating the need for one on Stearns Outer Drive; replace those with highly visible pedestrian crossing signs and emphasize it with one of these in the median.  

Nothing prevents them from having pedestrian-operated crosswalk lights, if they so desire.  Lots more safer than having vehicles roll across an ambiguous crosswalk looking up the avenue for cross traffic.  I will be exploring some of these corrections in future articles and am more than willing to listen to your concerns and ideas.

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Interesting observations, XLFD.  Imagine when a beer tent and activities are going on down there in addition to the relatively few Covid sundown watchers that are using it now.  I've noticed not being able to turn around in the new west end parking lot (9 spaces).  Trouble is, you cant always see if the lot is full because the handicap spots being bigger look like a possible open spot, so you pull in only to find out the lot is full, and then have to back out, even worse when it is almost dark with those blinding lights at eye level stun your vision.  Who thinks up these ridiculous traps?  And what was the final cost by state grants?  In the milluinss? No wonder the State of Michigan is going broke and cant get their damn roads fixed blowing money on progress like this that took away parking and now floods the cement slab and sand covered new fancy landscaping.    But it was a grant we couldnt refuse.  Tell that to the potholes in the rest of the State.

If their ultimate goal is to hold large events down on the slab with a large pavilion and large attendance, they are going to be having some major traffic problems if nothing is changed from how it is today.  Chief Kozal may find things pretty safe when he monitors this area on a Tuesday afternoon in October, but his studies should have been already performed during July and August, because that's when you do traffic studies-- when there's 'traffic'.

According to the Uniform Traffic Code, which has all the rules regarding the 'traffic engineer', the position automatically defaults to the police chief of the municipality, unless the City hires somebody else for the job.  That's why Chief Barnett used to bring traffic control orders up to council and why Chief Kozal is doing it now.  Neither seem to justify their traffic experiments through engineering guidelines.

Other types of engineers more qualified are used for developing and laying out a coordinated roadway system.  If I understand your plan correctly, it seems you would need to make perpendicular parking the case, maybe getting a couple of more spots, since you only have room enough for one side.  If you try to make it parallel or angled, and add them on each side (north and south), it would be difficult getting out since you wouldn't be able to exit west.  Nor would the public like you blocking the avenue end's view on the approach.

It also seems to push more traffic over to Loomis prematurely; a lot of people who turn left at the west end now go over to the Loomis parking lot.  As of now, there is no left turn lane to aid you in turning left on Lakeshore Drive and the small venues through the grassy median going back to William Street aren't made for accommodating bigger vehicles turning or multiple vehicles turning.  

If some of these drawbacks could not be fixed, your solution may not solve the problem completely.

Also, the boat launch parking lot was full this weekend so there were no places for cars to park if they wanted to visit the playground. Let's face it, the numbskulls that approved the elimination of 50+ parking spaces in order to build the "slab to nowhere" have screwed up the Ludington ave west end. Some day, I pray, Ludington will be free from the simpleton minds that think up and promote these kinds of expensive and unneeded developments. Unfortunately a lot of those people are still around.

That's only dumb and dumber, you're missing the third part of the trio, the one who is busy developing our community.  Between 2012 and 2015 they had two public hearing each year at council meetings in February and March for the West End Project, seems to me like there was always that one guy there telling them it was a waste of resources, would only make Stearns Park worse, and by the charter required a vote by the people to implement.  If that latter happened you would have actually heard the public denounce it.

They knew better.  It's been there two tourist seasons and it's still a dud.  Even when the water levels go down, it will still be a dud.  This was an attempt by the chamber, the CVB, the Rotary Club, the hospital, and other elite groups and individuals in the area to make the public park partially private, at least while the City sold the rights to these groups for a weekend or more.  Stearns Park, as you noticed this weekend, has enough parking problems even with Covid-19 fears and even without an event taking away hundreds of more spaces.

BTW, in walking out to the lighthouse and back on the breakwater where you can't social distance when passing others, I passed 298 people and only 7 had masks on, the first time I've done it this year where the percentage was over 97% non-compliance.  If it weren't for our visitors from China and India, the percentages would be around 99%. 

As tourists and locals go, they don't want to be wearing masks outdoors even when they can't social distance, this doesn't bode well for the Democratic national party platform plank of mandating people to wear masks outdoors for the rest of the year.  A very minute percentage of the folks take the media/political driven hysteria seriously anymore.

XLFD, did "they" really know better?  I think they had hope, and still have hope, perhaps to gain income from rental of tent events (without fully disclosing this to the public in those public hearings).  Your observation on trying to "make Stern's park" semi-private may be partially true.  I think it's about making a buck, while bringing more tourists to town to feed the pubs and restaurants and tshirt shops,  etc.  Thanks for your efforts to stand up for the resident's point of view.  Most people just wait and watch and then wonder what happened. 

Did you happen to hear the Mayor on radio this morning--he went out of town for the weekend to see what Grand Haven, others are up to, and spent time in discussing the uniqueness of a 5-lane state highway going through our downtown and it's related issues for impeding pedestrian mingling like other Michigan coastal towns seem to do better at.

I was being a bit sarcastic and facetious with that line, FS, because they should have known better if their elitism didn't blind them.  I recall when the hospital erected a big tent/pavilion down at the west end when it was still a parking lot and had a little weekend shindig there, with amplified music that carried several blocks away. 

Beyond there being inadequate parking, there was a lot of disgruntled tourists that were not able to see Lake Michigan and the lighthouse coming up the avenue, many that had to walk through that T-intersection for their quarter-mile trips from their parking to the beach and back, many that were put off by the exclusion of the general public from the tent, many who disliked the lake noises being 'drowned' out by the amplified music and speeches, etc. 

Putting this in as a regular feature would carnivalize the west end of Ludington and make it into something that many of our visitors are trying to get away from and rob them of seeing the lake on the approach as their memory, instead replace it with one of an obnoxious beer tent.  It's a shot in the foot.

So I was being a bit sarcastic in my question, too, X.  Thanks for the straight-up answer for those who may not remember the recent events.

X, is it just "one" busy developing our community in this trio?  Is that leg a decider, or a follower of orders?  Just wondering your opinion after observing and being so involved in the city politics.

X. I remember how you informed the City of the negatives that were involved with changing Ludinton Ave. west end. Just think how much worse the situation would be right now if they would have installed the walkway from the slab to the breakwater. It would have been disastrous for the beach and dunes. Also let's not forget they still have plans for some type of kayak facility at the Ludington Ave. beach. This isn't over yet.

Lake Lady, I love New England, especially in the fall but you are correct about the twisted politics of the left controlling that area. New England used to be synonymous with independence, self reliance, freedom and Yankee ingenuity but now the left has poisoned the waters. Leftism is a cancer on society. How easily people can be manipulated and swayed.

Freedom Seeker, yes they knew better. That's why Ludington's underbelly politicians make decisions behind closed doors without public input or at least ignoring any public input. X has repeatedly gone to court over the City's violation of the closed and illegal meetings. He's had to file numerous FOIA's just to find out what the hell they were doing because they told nobody what their plans were really all about.

Interesting synopsis of your New England weekend, Lake Lady. Thanks. I will not color tour there this year. Nothing I dislike more than the free-loading indigent at a motel you spend a lot of money for. Similar happened to me in Arizona a few years back, different excuse for the government. Just shows to me how much indigence and homelessness and drugs in our country is. And I think it will only worsen with this LEFTIST covid crisis. Don't want to get on a negative spiral, either. Glad you can say that Michigan is doing better in some instances. At least our roadways are mowed! Enjoy the fall here in Michigan!


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