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Posted on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 9:22 a.m.

State plans to raise speed limits on Michigan Avenue in Saline

By Lisa Allmendinger

The State of Michigan plans to increase speeds on portions of Michigan Avenue in Saline, officials said this week as they raised concerns about ongoing traffic calming efforts.

City Manager Todd Campbell said the Michigan State Police had contacted the city about allowing faster speeds everywhere except downtown.

The affected areas will be from Industrial Drive to Hopper Street, which will go from 45 mph to 50 mph, and from Keveling Dr. to Harris Street, which will increase to 40 mph.

In addition, the section from Lewis to Mills will increase to 40 mph and from Mills to the outskirts of town, the speed will be 45 mph.

The area through the downtown will continue to be 30 mph.

The changes, Campbell said, were based on the speeds of 85 percent of the cars traveling through those areas.

Mayor Gretchen Driskell said she wanted to be sure that the state was aware of the city’s plan to calm traffic and slow it down near Oakwood Cemetery.

“We’ve been pushing for traffic calming along this corridor and this is pushing it in the wrong direction. We have spent a lot of time and effort as a community to make Saline pedestrian friendly.”

Executive Director of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Larry Osterling said, “The faster traffic goes, the less good it is for commerce. I think we’ll get merchant feedback about this.”

It’s not known how soon the state will make the changes in the speeds.

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Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.



Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

seem to me the State is once again out of touch with the local cvommunity.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

The pedestrian areas of Saline generally extend from Maple to Ann Arbor road on the east side. I rarely see people walking east of Maple but there are several businesses along there. Michigan Ave. is a major thoroughfare with heavy semi truck and tandem gravel truck traffic. I wouldn't mind seeing the trucks slow down.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

If only Ann Arbor had the sense to raise the speed limit on Huron Parkway. Come on City Council, 35mph is ridiculously slow.

Jim Walker

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

grye is correct, the posted 35 is WAY too slow - it is also illegal. That area has been posted at 35 from before the time that PA85 went into effect on 11/9/06. The documents for the Traffic Control Order could be challenged in court and one person won a case that the limit was illegal on Huron Parkway in 2008. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

So, if enforcement has been lax, the best thing to do is increase the speed limit to make the miscreants legit ? I find that amazing. As for peds: they ought to get an SUV like everybody else, right? And bicycles: we'll scare them out of the way, too...


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

It makes absolutely no sense to raise speed limits while the bottleneck at US-23 continues to exist. The state needs to fix this now as it has been an issue for as long as I can remember. The improvements they have done, or should I say that Walmart did, we're great; but it only helps to lengthen the line of cars waiting at 23.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

I am sorry to see that the speed limit will be increased between Maple and Harris. I think that is a area where 35mph is decent and I have not seem people go much more than that (daily drive). 50 from Keveling to the limits on the east is fine as that is a non-urban area that is more suburban like. The largest concern is changing the speed down to 30 mph in the core from the higher speeds. I guess it will just become a speed trap or maybe it will happen naturally. We'll have to wait and see.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

Luckily for residents, the Saline police are not shy about giving out tickets. I think that is the reason most people do not speed through Saline in my driving experience there. Or dare have a tail light out for very long. :-) I think the Michigan 85% speed law has been tested out pretty well so I would expect we don't see an increase in accidents but like you said we will have to wait and see how this all works out. Cheers.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

I am a resident of the city and to be honest, it is somewhat dull, conservative, and boring to me. I wish I could help in that area but I think that Ypsi and Ann Arbor are the places to have fun (bars, diversity, and nightlife) and Saline is where you go when you are older and want a quieter, predictable, and safe town to live in. Speed limits are not going to change that. I don't think the city approach should be to calm traffic down and try to get people to stop in Saline "by accident because they are driving slowly." You need to really have a reason to stop. The restaurants are good but expensive, there is only one bar really and the staff tend to be rude there, there are more haircut places and dentists than any one town needs. I went to the Oktoberfest a few weeks ago and there was a sad turn out in terms of numbers, even though it was pretty fun. When you go to beer fests in Ypsi and AA, for example, it is an insane turn out from all over the county. I just am not sure how you can make it into this "hip" place that everyone wants to go. I just don't think the calming speed limit focus is worth the time outside of slow enough for safety and people to cross the street on foot. There needs to be a real strategy to make this a destination. Don't make people who are driving home during rush hour get mad and upset that they have to go super slow through Saline. Those folks are not going to be stopping anyways and neither are the truck drivers.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5 p.m.

There are stop lights and cross walks that are timed downtown, so I am not sure why speeds would make people less comfortable to walk and cross the streets? The main downtown section speeds, if I read this right, is not going to be slowed down anyway. I am just trying to understand where the concern is if it is ped traffic and speed mixing to make less people walk downtown. Sorry for my confusion.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

The fast moving cars causes people to not feel comfortable walking, so that deters foot traffic which drives commerce in a downtown. It's not about slower cars stopping.

Jim Walker

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

I read the article too late and missed the funny typo, but on to the real topic. WHY are posted speed limits based on the speeds of 85% of the free flowing traffic under good conditions? This is simple, because that is 70+ year old engineering principle that almost always yields the smoothest traffic flow and the fewest accidents. But this is counter-intuitive and difficult to teach. First you have to know that raising or lowering the numbers painted on the signs does NOT materially affect traffic speeds, particularly at the upper end of the actual travel speed range. Raising a too-low limit by up to 15 mph or lowering a proper one by up to 20 mph will change the 85th percentile speed (near the top of the actual traffic speeds) by a MAXIMUM of 3 mph and usually by 1 mph or less. Setting a correct 85th percentile limit brings the speeds of the slowest group up a little bit and narrows the speed variance. THAT produces the smoothest flow and the greatest safety. A corrected limit also eliminates the chances for the area to be used for a speed trap. The State Police and MDOT corrected the limits on Washtenaw and North Main in 2008 in Ann Arbor. Those areas now flow more smoothly, the actual speeds of travel are the SAME, and they ceased to be speed traps. Readers can go to <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and download a booklet by the Michigan State Police called &quot;Establishing Realistic Speed Limits&quot; which is a very clear explanation of the science. Our website has an extensive list of sources about how this really works. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> , Ann Arbor, MI


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Happy to see some science and facts around here. Thanks Jim

John Q

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Jim left something out: &quot;This is simple, because that is 70+ year old engineering principle that almost always yields the smoothest traffic flow and the fewest accidents....without consideration for pedestrian safety and community character.&quot;


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Very interesting - thanks!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

Please keep speed limits with safety in mind for all times. This area should not become the Autobon. There are many a folk who already ignore the laws that have been put in place. Please use wisdom in this decision.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

OK, this is the bit I just don't get: &quot;The changes, Campbell said, were based on the speeds of 85 percent of the cars traveling through those areas.&quot; Why are we changing speed limits based on how fast cars are going? How does this make any sense at all? This has come up in Ann Arbor as well and it just seems totally counter-intuitive to me. If cars are going faster than posted speeds, give them a freaking ticket. Faster is not better for any reason.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

This is a state law, indicating most people drive a safe speed.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

Sorry, one more &quot;on topic&quot; comment. There are going to be more serious accidents. (Yes, I live here.) The traffic is already flowing pretty quickly. Tiny town, four (to five) lane traffic moving at a good clip already, and loads of businesses. How can we stop this?!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 7:10 p.m.

&quot;The traffic is already flowing pretty quickly.&quot; Very true...I drive through there all the time and the traffic is flowing at the proposed speed the change in the speed limits shouldn't affect the speed of traffic already flowing through that area...I welcome the changes as now I can go with the flow without the fear of a ticket.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

Oh, how I hate that new Ann Arbor law! Trust me, I'm in Ann Arbor a lot!!! Saline is more of a &quot;bedroom&quot; community.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

Pass a pedestrian ordinance like Ann Arbor's. Sure, there will be more rear-end collisions, and some pedestrians may be injured or killed, but then you just trot out your mayor and a few other clowns to say that they're comfortable with that.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

There's been enough accidents at Maple and Michigan without an arrow signal. Lots of people turning into businesses on this route. I think this will be a very bad idea!!!

the leprachaun

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

i have been hit by a car on 12 running red light at maple and 12


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

As people hit the 30 mph area, it will be a great place to receive a speeding ticket as well!!!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Guess I missed the earlier headline and a good laugh. But still had a few chuckles with the responses.

Steve Pepple

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

A rather embarrassing typo in the headline has been fixed. :-)


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

Oh Steve, it is the best laugh I've had in some time! It's harmless and made my day! Cash

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

still 'peed' on your home page, but fised when you link to the story...?


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

I bet she just did that to give us a laugh! It put me in a good mood for this day! Ha, ha, love it!!

Tom Teague

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Maybe we'll be able to drive faster so we can make it to the next gas station in time. For posterity's sake (those of your reading this after the headline is fixed): left the &quot;s&quot; off the word &quot;speed.&quot;

David Cahill

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

This ranks with the dreaded &quot;public/pubic&quot; error. 8-)


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Are they raising the amount you can pee or the rate at which you can pee?


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Yeah, not the article I expected, based on the headline.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Things could get messy if the &quot;peed limit&quot; is raised....hope the road commission has funds to clean that up.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Oh dear. Fix the headline, please. Bwahahaaa