A traffic study of Grand River in the City of Howell will be commencing this winter to set the stage for future decisions aimed at improving walkability.

The Howell City Council met Monday night to approve the study, which will involve a comprehensive look at traffic on Grand River in the downtown area and cover multiple intersections. The traffic study will be performed on a portion of Grand River at a not-to-exceed cost of approximately $32,607 and staff noted during the meeting that a traffic study is typically good for 18-24 months. Council approved the study with some reluctance due to the high cost and other pressing budget issues but recognized it would prove beneficial, as the data gathered should help point the city in the right direction with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Over the years, the community has explored different ways of doing traffic calming and providing better pedestrian access. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI since Grand River is a state highway and this is a local intuitive, the process really can’t be avoided. Charles says Grand River is often viewed, and rightly so, as a big moat that inhibits people from crossing. However in order to implement any potential solutions, Charles says the city must conduct a traffic study to demonstrate to M-DOT that it’s feasible and that any measures implemented would not cause traffic back-ups or other problems.

The study will take various traffic counts and perform an analysis to determine the impact of different design solutions being implemented and what options would not adversely impact traffic or only have a minimal impact and not cause intersections to fail. Some simple and inexpensive possibilities mentioned during the meeting were using pavement striping or stamping but officials stated public input would be sought before proceeding with anything. (JM)