State plans for increased speed limits on US-12 in Saline not a done deal
Not so fast, says Michigan State Trooper Lt. Gary Megee - the proposed new state-mandated speed limits for sections of US-12 aren’t aren't a done deal.
Following the announcement three weeks ago that the state planned to increase speeds on portions of Michigan Avenue in Saline, Megee told the City Council that a final determination for the new speeds had not been made.
“The numbers I gave the chief (Paul Bunten) aren’t the final report,” Megee said. “We haven’t finalized anything with MDOT yet.”
City Manager Todd Campbell said previously that the city had been contacted and told that increases on the section of US-12 from Industrial to Hopper, would go from 45 mph to 50 mph and the section from Kevling to Harris would increase to 40 mph.
In addition, he said the section from Lewis to Mills would increase to 40 mph and from Mills to the outskirts of town, the speed would be 45 mph.
The area through the downtown would continue to be 30 mph.
Councilman David Rhoads said he was concerned about changing speed limits in just a few short blocks, referring to proposed changes on US-12 from Lewis to Mills, while from Maple to Hopper, he said, "there are a boatload of entrances and exits on that section."
Megee said, “MDOT and MSP always work with communities” regarding any speed changes, then explained that setting speed limits is “counter intuitive,” because “artificially low speed limits” aren’t safe for drivers, pedestrians or bicyclists.
He said slower speeds lower driver and pedestrian expectations and if cars are traveling faster than the posted speed limits, it becomes a safety risk for everyone.
“Anyone would feel safe at 25 mph, but in reality, if people are going 40 mph faster,” there’s a safety risk. It’s important make the the road match the driver’s expectations.
The Michigan State Police review speed limits on road segments across the state every 10 years, Megree said, while speed studies have shown that sections of US-12 have speed limits that are too low.
“Speed limits have little to do with the speeds that people are driving,” Megee said, adding that “We shouldn’t penalize the motoring public for traveling a safe speed.”
In reaction to the proposed change in speed limits, the Saline City Council was set to adopt a resolution in opposition to the increased speeds, but pulled it from consideration last Monday night when Megee said he’d be back in contact with the city in two weeks with the final report.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.