Farmington council supports Grand River ‘road diet’

Farmington city officials on Monday backed a “road diet” for Grand River, but at least one wants to see more action on traffic speeds.

While he didn’t make his concerns part of the formal resolution, council member Steven Schneemann favors lowering the speed limit west of Farmington Road. As traffic moves between Drake and Farmington, the limit steps from 45 miles per hour on five lanes, to 35 miles per hour on four lanes, and then to 25 miles per hour through downtown Farmington.

“I’m a firm believer that the posted speeds need to change to support the reconfiguration,” he said.

MDOT’s proposal, which is part of 2017 resurfacing project, would:

  • reduce the number of lanes between Shiawassee and Farmington Road from four to three
  • drop a lane and add 12 to 14 on-street parking spaces between Grove Street and Mayfield
  • improve pedestrian crossings, especially at the Liberty Street/Oakland Street intersection
  • add a bike lane on the north side on Grand River west of Farmington Road

Officials acknowledged that the bike lane may seem disconnected. Economic and Community Development Director Kevin Christiansen said the city’s long range plan involves so-called “Complete Streets,” which will include more lanes for non-motorized traffic. The north side was chosen, he added, because of the topography – it’s safer to have two-wheeled traffic rolling uphill.

“People should hang in there…it’s a great start,” council member Sara Bowman said. “It may be a little odd at the moment, but it will make sense in the bigger picture.”

Council member Greg Cowley asked about reducing non-delivery truck traffic downtown. He believes trucks have increasingly traveled Grand River because of road work on I-275 and I-75 this year. Public Safety Director Frank Demers said Grand River is a state trunk road, but said he would look into what might be done. Cowley suggested ramping up enforcement for larger vehicles.

“Word would spread pretty fast,” he said.