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Posted on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Ann Arbor needs to widen its main roads, not reduce the number of lanes

By Letters to the Editor

What is the obsession with bike paths? Do all City Council members aspire to be Denver or Seattle? Seriously, the main arteries (Packard, Huron, Washtenaw) need to be widened, not reduced.

And don't get me started on the fourth of the streets that aren't paved or the third that don't have sidewalks. Ann Arbor's transportation "system" is bollixed. The sooner elected officials realize we're a medium-sized city, not a kitschy small town, the better.

Sue Schwab
Ann Arbor



Tue, May 1, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

When the rest of the world is striving to be less dependent on fossil fueled vehicles it seems the wise denizens of Ann Arbor would like to double down on the future of 1912. And bollixed? I wouldn't have used that word in the comments for fear of our wise moderators. I won't be posting the etymology here but go ahead and google it.


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

The solution to this is simple - eviscerate the so-called "Council Party" and all the crack-potty, enviro-goofs currently residing in city hall. The silent majority around here has been too quiet, for too long, while this municipal malignancy has advanced its agenda, at the expense of the rest of us. May they all become pothole filler.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Comments certainly do not favor the continued realignment of our roads to satisfy the bike lobby. Too bad more people were not aware when the non-motorized transportation plan was passed. Thing about plans is that they can always be revisited and changed to reflect what the populace truly wants and needs. Time to pressure our elected officials to do the right thing.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

I live and work in Ann Arbor and I pay $600 a year to park at the Medical Center. That is IF i can find a spot. Do you pay to park your bike? Your property taxes, cover your property, not free reign to all roads. Even when their is a bike lane the entitled bikers insist on riding on the line. There is no pleasing these people.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

autocorrect = their should have been there


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

If the bicyclists pay taxes too, so they should have a part of the road argument is valid, then I want walking lanes on freeways. I'm willing to share the road with cyclists, but common sense needs to be employed. It's foolish to ride a bike down one of the twisty roads with no room on the sides during rush hour.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Huh, we are a medium city not small town, but we are not Denver or Seattle? Did I miss something somewhere?


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

No, the city council and mayor think you should be driving less and if they can make the roads bad enough to force you to do so, no problem at all. Anything called green in this town gets funded, regardless if it makes any logical sense.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

@Sue Schwab-Thank You! There are so many others in the city that feel the same way. And I wholeheartly agree that our elected officials does see Ann Arbor as some kitschy small town, not realizing that 20,000 people commute by car to the city each day to work at the institution that has made Ann Arbor great, The University of Michigan. This from the same officials who are building a 600 space car park in the middle of town while scaling back Division street for...wait for it...on street parking, and are now proposing taking Huron down to two lanes from four. Just a guess what the idling cars and gridlock is going to look like when those 600 cars are trying to get out of downtown! Good Grief!


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 10:47 a.m.

This article stops short of the true problem: our City Officials need to go, yet you keep electing the same folks with no alternatives.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

Absolutely quit reducing lanes while requiring downtown buildings to increase density.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

But yet if more people lived downtown, they don't need to drive on those roads - so it makes complete sense to have both.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

Joe Blow's guide to happy increase commuters: 1. Widen I-94 to 4 lanes in city limits 2. Widen US-23 to 4 lanes in city limits and 3 lanes north and south of the city 3. Create multiple high-flow roads to downtown with limited traffic lights and widened streets to include dedicated left turn and right turn lanes. 4. Do all of this through Imminent Domain Why is this important? UofM and UofM hospital employee MOST OF THIS CITY and it's Crazy you can't get there without a migraine. You don't think this is limiting growth?

Soft Paw

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

Alternatively, maybe if you got out of bed and off to work earlier you could make it on time.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

Autocorrect vs not proofreading closely. However Imminent is a correct term, just not a legal one in this country. Many citizens get trapped in 23/94 traffic, for those of us that live just outside city limits and work in AA, it's difficult. The reason you need the extra lanes is to let the outside traffic flow through without bogging up the rest of us. The on and off ramps also need major work with better designed high speed interchanges. The death trap at Jackson to 94 East is insane, one of these days a family is going to sue the city for multi-millions and win because of that corridor. (Yes, it's hard to sue a city and win, but a punitive lawsuit is not out of the question in this well known danger spot). Eminent Domain is an evil process, but necessary. My home was taken through this a decade ago, but while it was a horrible event, it was needed.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Whoa... Looks like your autocorrect killed your post. Widening the highways won't increase the flow of traffic coming off the on ramps. Ann Arbor isn't strictly a commuter city and redesigning the roads specifically for people who don't live here or pay taxes here doesn't make sense to me. Eminent Domain is fine until it's your property being taken in the name of progress.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

"Road diets" aren't about creating bike lanes, although that is one outcome. Road diets are intended to slow traffic down. I live on a four-lane residential road where drivers rip through the neighborhood with absolutely no regard for the posted speed limit, their own safety or anyone else's. Bring on the road diet because nothing else seems to have worked.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

Wait, let me get this straight, you live on a FOUR LANE RESIDENTIAL ROAD! Hate to break it to you, you don't live on a residential street, you live on a major traffic artery! They should be taking a large multi-ton wrecking ball to your house and paving it for better roads as the priority shouldn't be to give you a nice lawn, but to get people to and from work without blowing an artery in their head!


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

What a poorly written editorial. This feels like an idea rather than an editorial. Please spend some time crafting an idea that is supported by evidence and puts forward a thoughtful and complex argument.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

I agree. It would seem that the writer was having a bad day and wanted to kick something.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

It's a Letter to the Editor.

Left is Right

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Just curious: do you agree with the writer or not?


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

The least invasive way to make a bike lane would be to widen sidewalks --- not the road. Many roads are too narrow but to widen them would mean moving drains /sewers, regrading driveways, removing trees etc etc.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Not all of us work in an office. So until they make bikes that can carry ladders, drops cloths, sprayers, lawn mowers, snow plows, etc, etc, etc. I won't be forced to ride a bike. Ann Arbor six square miles surrounded by REALITY!!!


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

I missed the part in the article that said you are going to be forced to ride a bike. Can you point that out?

Ron Granger

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Wah, me and my car. Me and my car. I don't want to share the road! I don't care that other road users pay taxes too! I don't care if these changes cause reduce accidents and safe lives! I don't care if these changes make crossing safer for pedestrians! I don't care about data or statistics! I don't care that car use has peaked! I live in a fantasy world where all roads were paid for by gas taxes, even if it isn't true. Me and my car.


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

I think SMC summed it up best. Bikers elitist attitudes are more than I can stomach


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

Me and my bike, holding up traffic, to save the planet. We're better than you, because we don't burn gas. We deserve as much road as you, even though there are 95% less of us. We don't pay fuel tax and vehicle registration fees, but we deserve to bike down the middle of the freeway if we want to, because we're the bicycle coalition. We don't care about commercial traffic making the deliveries that keep our cherished local downtown businesses running, because they burn evil fossil fuels. We don't have to pay attention to traffic signals, signage, or right-of-way, because our self-righteous environmentalism makes us exempt. Me and my bike.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 10:43 a.m.

Sorry to say it Ron, but your comments are out of touch with reality in our town


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

@ron... I can get from one side of this city to another via neighborhoods on my bike. Show me the data and statistics that show the huge bike ridership numbers you suggest in Ann Arbor. Not a chance because there is nothing to support it. I would suggest the bike lobby lives in a fantasy world.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

Hmm, interesting in-depth logic and reasoning. You should run for mayor. The best way for AA to continue being a great city is to torque off as many tax paying workers as possible.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Amen, Ron. Forcing cars to slow down enhances downtown business which increases AA's uniqueness and desirability.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

a2roots is absolutely right. the mayor and his cohorts live in a fantasy land. people will never commute to work in Ann Arbor. the weather is not proper. and if they do the diagonal roads make it impractical since riding though neighborhoods is easier. the people who ride bikes do it for pleasure and excersize not to get to work so they should build more paths in parks and nature areas not on roads. the city could never come close to Boulder since Boulder attracts thousands of bike-riding athletes from around the world because of the altitude. It's obvious the mayor doesnt want to hear any of this. His little pet fantasy of making Ann Arbor greener is fine and good and should be commended, but it he has to learn how to KEEP IT REAL or he ends up turning people like me against him!


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

People already commute to work in Ann Arbor, lots of them.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

Not sure it is the mayor so much as the bike lobby. They pushed through the non-motorized transportation plan a few years ago under everyones radar. Even though they did it according to all the rules they and their allies certainly made sure that word never got out about how ridiculous the plan was.

Stuart Brown

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

The city sat on road repair money ($29 million) while Ann Arbor streets were allowed to crumble; now the same people who let this happen want to put in bike lanes! Were is all the sidewalk repair that the citizens voted for? This city cannot even execute on the basics so why should they be trusted to implement bike lanes?


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Stuart, Is this the pile of money the City was setting aside in case they didn't get other funds for the Stadium bridge? if so, then it kind of makes sense. However, I do agree that not enough is being spent to repair the roads.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Build it and they will come or change their ways will not work here. When will eyes open and realize that bike paths in conjunction with road realignment is absolutely ridiculous. Bicycle ridership does not warrant the amount of money and effort spent to push it on the populace. All anyone need do is grab a perch along one of the roads already messed up and start counting. Even on a beautiful day ridership is abysmal. Impossible to justify.

Linda Peck

Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

Sometimes it is fine not to change things. Sometimes it is better to learn to live with what we have. I also think that bikes and fast moving cars, and runners too, should not share the road. Some smaller, less busy streets it is good to share, but not the big main arteries with heavy traffic.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 6:41 a.m.

Bike riders do have to. Otherwise they get ticketed or seriously injured.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

I agree...the bike riders should also have to follow the laws of the road if they want to share the road..if not better keep that head on a swivel


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Anyone who rides a bike down Washtenaw in the roadway next to the cars is crazy. The speed limit is 45 mph in some stretches and there is a lot of traffic and congestion on that main thoroughfare. There is already a bike path on the side of the road, well separated from the road itself, which was recently upgraded and expanded. No need for bike lanes on the road along Washtenaw.


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

I agree. That's why we have gallup park. Plenty of good trails.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Washtenaw and Huron are already 4 or 5 lanes wide and you want to widen them? I think you need to get a grip on reality. Washtenaw, Packard and Huron don't need more lanes than U.S. 23. Plus I don't think the property owners adjacent to those roads will be too happy with giving up some of their land.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Tom, you're right, US-23 needs more lanes.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 6:40 a.m.

I think these roads need to be widened only enough to add bike lanes without the loss of car lanes.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

Do you refer to "eminent domain", perhaps? It can take significant time, just compensation as reimbursement, and possible litigation to overcome hurdles before this government power is successfully used as a last resort.


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

That's the problem, people like you. How often do you drive on these roads during rush hour? I bet never based off those comments! US 23 needs to be 3-4 lanes, the main streets in AA all need extra lanes with priority timed lighting. The property owners will have learn what imminent domain means.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

No, no, no ..... the City Council and our wildly popular Mayor wants us to be just like .... Boulder, CO. Boulder, Boulder, Boulder .... it's all about becoming like Boulder. Ann Arbor can't be happy being one of the best small-medium sized cities in the USA can it ?


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

Ann Arbor USED to be one of the best small-medium sized cities in the USA


Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Why rest on your success - all good cities who rest die - look at our neighbors.

Basic Bob

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

I bet Boulder doesn't have any gravel roads.