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Posted on Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:30 a.m.

We need to address the traffic bottleneck that is US-23 from Ann Arbor to Brighton

By Letters to the Editor

I am writing to express my concerns and aggravation about the traffic on US-23 from Brighton to Ann Arbor.

With more motorists on the road than ever before, this 15-mile stretch on a two-lane highway from Brighton to Ann Arbor needs at least one additional lane. There are six on ramps from Brighton to Ann Arbor with NO room to merge into traffic, which is the main reason there are accidents on this road constantly.

I live in the Hartland area and for me to go 34 miles, it takes one to two hours to get to work, which is inexcusable.

Suggestion is to build an extra lane or two, extend the on ramps or build a bypass. There has been ongoing construction all summer long near Brighton on US-23 just to repave the road. My question is why do we have to have an emergency lane on the left side too? I have traveled all over the U.S. and many states have the emergency lane on the right side, which should be the case here. Make the left emergency lane an additional traffic lane or add another lane on the right side.

This is a very hazardous 15-mile stretch of road, and there is a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic and accidents, which can be avoided with better road planning. I cannot believe that it has taken this long for someone from the road commission and planning to figure out that US-23 North and South needs an additional lanes or a bypass. This is a serious safety issue and needs to be addressed immediately. Case in point, at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 20, there was another two-car accident at North Territorial Road on southbound on US-23.

— Sean Quick, Fenton



Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

That stretch of highway is miserable, and it was miserable 15 years ago. Did you move to Fenton before or after you got a job in Ann Arbor? Yes, the road needs widening, but everyone and their brother has moved into Fenton, Brighton, Hartland, etc... and commute to A2 making the traffic than it needs to be. People could just try getting into the right lane if they are going below 70 mph. CRAZY TALK!!!! In order to make it wider, you have to replace every single bridge crossing this highway because they aren't wide enough to accommodate six lanes of traffic underneath. The cost and the time to do this work is insane. Deal with it, or move. The state didn't have the cash for this project 15 years ago, and they still don't.

Dog Guy

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

Ok, more lanes would mean more traffic; let's have fewer lanes. Paint squiggly zigzag Hieftje bike lanes on US-23. (Neither state law nor geographic boundaries apply to Ann Arborites.)


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

I live in Ann Arbor and bike to work, but 23 traffic still affects me if I'm trying to go north on a Friday evening or come home on Sunday in the summer. I get why people say adding a 3rd lane is a short term solution, but those three lanes from Brighton to Fowerville are very nice. I recall when they spent years adding those lanes and figured they'd keep going down to 23, but was surprised when that didn't happen. We need those extra lanes for more than just commuters. Weekend driving up north can be a real pain from a2 to fact it's usually the worst part of our trip.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:22 a.m.

There is a problem, and it needs to be addressed. However, none of you have yet to mention it. Yes, 23 needs to be upgraded to handle the volume of people. This will not solve the problem though. People will still be horrible drivers. I'm frequently on 23, and I go the speed limit, yet there are people blowing past me, swerving from lane to lane. Perhaps we need tougher standards for driving tests, and need to implement a policy where you get tested again every ten years, and every 5 after you turn 70. Get the bad drivers off the road! Also, if you are complaining about bumper to bumper traffic, alter the time you leave for work. Even 5-10 minutes can make a huge difference! You have extra time in case of back ups, you don't have to worry about rushing, you drive more safely because you've given yourself more time, you arrive to work less stressed and your days starts off better. Stop suggesting solutions and be one. I'd you aren't willing to change, why should the rest of the world?

Jordan Miller

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

I really feel like I need to address the snarky comments about people who commute to work. I live in Ann Arbor. I've lived here since I was nine years old. I was laid off from a job here, and didn't find another one in Ann Arbor. I commute to Detroit. Before that I commuted to Troy, and before that I commuted to Bloomfield Hills. I hate it. It sucks. But, if you own a home in Ann Arbor, and have children in school here, like I do, then you do the commute and you deal with it. I think it's awfully rude of some of you to look down your noses at people who have to commute. If given a choice, I don't think there are many people who would choose to have to spend hours in traffic every day. I would LOVE to walk to work every day. You should consider yourself lucky that you were able to find a job that pays well in a city that you want to live in. It's like judging people who pollute more by driving old cars while you drive your brand new Prius. Some people work in Ann Arbor and can't afford to live here (despite whatever you link to, Ann Arbor is expensive). Others, like me, live in Ann Arbor but work in an industry that is located elsewhere. If you'd like, those of us who have good jobs outside the city and choose to live in Ann Arbor, and bring our tax and entertainment money back here with us, can leave. Then you won't have to worry about having to feel superior.

Deb Anderson

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

MDOT counted on commuter train service from Howell to A2 to alleviate building a third lane and the the bottleneck which never happened. Thank you again Governor Grandholm.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

I also make the commute from the North to come into Ann Arbor, however I work midnights so I see a little different traffic on my trip. I have been a part of the afternoon traffic jam many times though. After reading the comments here, I find that many of the Ann Arbor residents who have commented negatively are just that; Ann Arbor residents. All is fine in your city and its not your problem to worry about as long as you aren't taxed. I agree that you shouldn't have to bear the burden of the taxes because you don't use the road, but there aren't many other options to solving this issue. Ann Arbor isn't self-sustaining. The city thrives because of its workforce and is one of the ONLY places in the State of Michigan that doesn't suffer from the unemployment numbers that every other city does. Therefore our commute keeps part of Ann Arbor going, along with everyone else that goes to work who actually lives in Ann Arbor. Charging a toll would collect that money for the widened roadway, but how long would that take? Adding one more step to a driver's commute would only congest traffic more, not to mention the money to build toll facilities. There are always accidents and it really is a problem that needs to be addressed. Even just adding a 3rd lane from I-96 into and out of Ann Arbor would ease the problem and I hope that this will be addressed soon.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

Blame the governments that allowed unlimited growth in outlying areas without giving any thought to what that would do to the infrastructure. Blame the people who just had to have their McMansion in the suburbs. Move closer or take the backroads.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

We should all buy mopeds and take the back roads. The fresh air would do wonders for the soul and the scenery would help with work and life related tension.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Amen! You see all those "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" road signs that line the highways for construction. But what is the specific criteria for selecting which projects get funded?? This stretch of US 23 has not only been choked with way too many cars for too long. It's dangerous. Recall the five people that died last year near the Lee Road exit where there wasn't even a simple cable median barrier separating the north and southbound lanes. Guess what....there STILL isn't. Then you see a multi-million dollar overhaul of 30 miles of road (I-96 between Lansing and Fowlerville) that was perfectly fine. US-23 between Brighton and Ann Arbor is a 911 critical artery that needed to be addressed years ago.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

You may want to check the MDOT website for their efforts on studying the corridor. <a href=",4616,7-151-9621_11058-226949--,00.html" rel='nofollow'>,4616,7-151-9621_11058-226949--,00.html</a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:30 p.m.

You are absolutely correct, all three expressways in the A2 area are obsolete. They weren't designed for the volume that they handle on a daily basis now. All of them are 2 lane e-ways with lots of short ramps. A fender-bender on any of them means a 10 mile traffic backup. The state has spent millions of dollars and they are under perpetual repair, unfortunately nothing is done to fix the real problem, too few lanes. Then in the fall we are blessed with the nation's largest football stadium with the most inadequate road system for the perfect storm of gridlock.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Ann Arbor would rather spend millions on art than fix known traffic problems. Traffic problems, according to me: 1. From US-23 to Geddes to Huron to the hospital. Why isn't this a two lane priority road? Sorry, waiting through 5 to 6 lights is crazy!!! It would also help with car-pooling. 2. US-23 to Brighton, see article 3. Why in the world isn't I-94 through Ann Arbor 3 lanes? 94 ends it's third lane at Ann Arbor, why!!!! 4. US-23 in Ann Arbor, why isn't this 3 lanes? 5. Stop lights in general. Give us priority routes! Having a stop light at every side street that automatically goes red when ever a car is waiting there is really not smart, you can time lights to make it more efficient and to save on gas.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

Why does the third lane end at Ann Arbor? Take a look at Liberty St, Scio Church Road, Ann Arbor Saline Road, State Street, etc... every single one of these roads has a small bridge that crosses 1-94. In order to widen the lanes on the highway, you must widen the bridges (are you going to drive into their supports??) That's a huge inconvenience and expense.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

You can see what increasing road sizes do to cities. Please look at Detroit for an example. Visit the cities of Troy, Sterling Heights, or Rochester Hills for an example of how making larger roads does not solve the problem, it's simply a temporary fix that ends up moving the problem elsewhere. Urban sprawl and huge freeways do not make a city/community vibrant. It unfortunately creates a rat race of where the grass is greener and you end up with a hollow core .

Marshall Applewhite

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

I have little sympathy for someone who chooses to buy a home in a cheap area and have a long miserable commute to work. Either move closer, or find an alternate route.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:04 a.m.

So you know why Mr. Quick lives where he lives and works where he does? Impressive. People live where they do for lots of reasons, and implying that its as simple as waking up one day and deciding to &quot;live closer&quot; is either knowingly dishonest or you've been living on mars for the past 5 years.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

&quot;My wife and I came here looking to spend 300-400K on a house&quot; Who would &quot;look to&quot; spend such a ridiculously high amount of money on a house?


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Not everyone that works in A2 lives in A2. So there's going to be traffic on 23, lots of it, and it needs to be addressed.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

Some people just don't living in a liberal city such as AA. My wife and I came here looking to spend 300-400K on a house, all we could find was this old historic crap within the city with limits on building. Trust me, you don't want me living here, I'd vote your entire city council out.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

Who are &quot;we&quot;? &quot;We&quot; don't need to address the traffic. I drive northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon. My commute is perfectly pleasant. Endless construction is something &quot;we&quot; need to address.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

Ultimately, Turner's research has shown that the only way to deal with congestion is to follow the lead of cities like London, Singapore and Stockholm, which have adopted &quot;congestion pricing&quot; — tolls on people driving in the center city. Turner says Stockholm, specifically, has seen a 50 percent reduction in travel time at peak times because of tolls.

Mr. Ed

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

See folks, people in Ann Arbor do not care about anyone from outside their city. So I suggest before, during and after work we don't spend any money in the city. Do not go to Ann Arbor on your day off to spend money either. Ann Arbor likes high taxes and Art work. See folks we can't afford to live in Ann Arbor so we have to commute to our jobs in Ann Arbor, but we don't have to spend a dime in the city. Take your earned income and spend it in your city. But wait there's more. So if we do this Ann Arbor would try a city income tax. I say go ahead and this will help kill the city with no little or no inroads. Ann Arbor has way to many thinkers. Pleas stop thinking everything to death and lets get the job done and the roads fixed to support the current traffic.

Marshall Applewhite

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

I assume you want everyone else to pay for those roads? Listen, I think Ann Arbor is filled with insufferable people as well, but its comical how the out of towners who work here want Ann Arbor to be more welcoming. In reality, all these people do is Increase traffic every day and complain.

Ron Granger

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

People who choose to live far from their work shouldn't complain about traffic. How much are you willing to pay in additional taxes to make this happen? You have made the decision to commute a great distance to work - 34 miles. And you want someone to pay to make your commute easier. How much are you willing to pay? Would you support tolling during peak hours? No? What then? How much should I pay to make your commute easier? What if I don't care about your commute? I live in Ann Arbor and don't find that stretch of road that bad. But I don't commute on it. I live in the city I work. That costs me in other ways but I find the benefits are worth it. Life's too short to spend it sitting in a car.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Sellers- $1600 a month is affordable rent? That's twice my mortgage payment a month! Wow.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Ypsilanti is a very short commute from Ann Arbor and connected to it via public transportation. It is also very affordable.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9 p.m.

Local, I think more people than you think may be able to afford: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

Not everyone can afford to live in Ann Arbor Ron, that is why people sprawl and live outside the area. Besides, with all the people working in Ann Arbor, would you want ALL of them living in Ann Arbor?

Alan Goldsmith

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Don't worry when then 100 million dollar train from Howell to Ann Arbor is completed, you know, the one Livingston County doesn't want to fund but Ann Arbor's Mayor does, everything will be perfect in the world with sunshine and rainbows for everyone.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

you're absolutely right, these commutes are ridiculous.....but I believe its time to face the REAL issues. Perhaps the time for progressive thinking has finally arrived? more lanes will quickly fill with those individuals who choose to live in the suburban outskirts (i.e. sprawl) that are attracted by an easy commute to ann arbor. sustainable solutions: - live where you work (what a concept) - place monies into public transit rather than more pavement continuing to cater to sprawl is not a sustainable solution -- more lanes breeds more lanes....sprawl breeds sprawl

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

Ypsilanti is very close to Ann Arbor and it is very affordable.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

There are places much closer than 34 miles away that could suit your needs. There is a challenge of selling a house these days, but I too moved to be closer several years ago. It comes down to a matter of choice, you pick the poisons.

longtime AA

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

&quot;live where you work&quot; a great idea! And to make it a reality, we could do one of two things (1) Encourage U of M to build all new construction, hospitals, classrooms, etc. in Livingston County--where there is room for these buildings and cheaper housing with lower taxes, or (2) vote people on to City Council who would not force developers to spend years and years along with thousands of extras dollars to build reasonably priced housing in Ann Arbor.

The Picker

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Unfortunately, This will be glomed onto by the high speed rail advocates. Road improvements and the end of this construction will certainly improve things in the short term, but this is a major artery and alternative routes will need to be improved for a longer term solution. Staggering the start / quit times at the major employers in town would be an inexpensive and ecological improvement. I usually find something else to do in town b4 heading north.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Several employers in Ann Arbor already support different start times.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

There is no doubt that it is an overcrowded and dangerous stretch of highway, and has been for many years.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

You are spot on with adding additional lanes.