Flushing residents concerned about speeding on Main Street weigh in on road diet

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FLUSHING (WJRT) - (07/16/2019) - Relief may be on the way for residents who put up with speeding thru downtown Flushing.

The city's been awarded more than $90,000 in federal grant funding for traffic calming measures designed to address safety and speed.

"It's not a lot, but you get that one in 20, one in 30 and sometimes they could be going 50 to 60 mph," said Dan Roman.

He and his wife have lived in their historic home on Main Street since 2015.

We asked him if he thinks the traffic calming measures go far enough in terms of getting drivers to adhere to the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit in his neighborhood.

"I don't know what they can do without spending a ton of money," Roman said. "I think that's what it boils down to, I think you'll see some improvements with this."

Eight months ago, Angi Gridley and her husband moved into a restored historic home that sits on a third of an acre on Main Street.

"It's quiet, it's comfortable, our neighbors are great," Gridley noted.

What's not so great?

"It's loud, and when they're going faster it gets louder," she said.

That could be about to change. Federal road funding will help pay for a planned "road diet."

The city is awaiting approval from MDOT to narrow four-lanes down to
three-lanes on East Pierson Road from Elms Road to Main Street.

"That turn lane is not there," said City Manager Brad Barrett. "So as a result we see cars that are slamming on their brakes to stop, and/or jetting into the right lane, and as a result, that affects the car behind."

In 2020 the city will seek administrative approval to reduce four lanes to three lanes from Chamberlain to Pierson Road. Barrett hopes the plan will address the issue of speeding:

"The pattern of that car in front of you really controls the speed of those going behind them," he said.

Federal funding will also cover the installation of two radar speed signs along Main Street. The city will also have a portable one available for use.

Police Chief Mark Hoornstra, who says staffing constraints limit the amount of time officers spend on traffic enforcement, thinks this will help.

"These radar speed signs, will hopefully draw to their attention, to say you're going faster than you should be, pay attention," Hoornstra said.

While Gridley thinks the signs are a good idea, she's not completely sold on the road diet:

"Coming into Flushing, I think it's a great idea because they need to slow down," she said. "I'm not sure how I feel going out of Flushing, because there's a lot of traffic going out in the morning."

While the first lane conversion won't begin until next construction season, Barrett says he hopes the speed signs will be in place before the fall.

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