Letter to the Editor: Main Street traffic is a major problem

Dear Editor,

Traffic on Main Street may be problematic, but it is not clear that four truck accidents in three years represents an inordinate crash rate, or supports a conclusion that large trucks are the primary problem.
An underlying concern seems to be Main Street resident displeasure with traffic congestion and noise. Some frustrated consumers also may be avoiding the downtown area in prime hours. External, expert analysis can keep the tail from wagging the dog, again, and yield insights in identifying solutions.
Traffic remedies seem somewhat limited for a relatively small village which has encouraged Main Street commerce with little effective attention to related parking and vehicle flow issues Now, apparently the corresponding traffic unpleasantries must be shifted away from town. Given the existing geographical, infrastructure and commerce demands and limitations of the area, it may not be practical to reroute truck, bus and other large vehicle traffic around the city and onto a few other residential streets—especially without increased law enforcement presence by an already overtaxed police force. Frustrated drivers in often speeding and overweight vehicles already are creatively and aggressively maneuvering along and away from Main Street, increasingly crowding onto nearby residential streets. Also, changing the M-15 designation to restrict trucks may not be politically or administratively feasible, particularly in the face of likely strong opposition by affected industries and the town/township residents away from Main Street who will be expected to bear the consequences, and it will have high costs for city taxpayers who assume new road maintenance responsibilities.
It is clear that city planners have rejected the notion of eliminating Main Street curbside parking, entirely or for select hours during the day, to free up additional traffic lanes and improve flow. While lower speed limits, if possible, may reduce crashes, the suggested speed reductions seem very small and insignificant, and the resulting slower, congested traffic may reveal new consequences.
It seems likely that these issues affect other communities, so some comprehensive solutions must be out there. It’s clear that more effort must be made to encourage public transit to get more single user vehicles off the roads, and to reduce school traffic by compelling much greater use of more efficient bus transport for students/athletes.
Let’s hope solutions are in our near future.

Mike Fetzer

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