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Traffic Control Dominates Topic Discussion at Dexter Town Hall Meeting

Residents in Orchard River Hills and other village subdivisions say speed is a consistent problem in local neighborhoods.

Transportation and traffic control were on the minds of Dexter Village residents on Tuesday during the village's annual town hall meeting.

Village Council members met with the public during an open forum at the Dexter District Library to gather input as the new fiscal year gets underway.

"We thought it would be helpful to take questions or comments from residents on issues that we're doing well, or not doing so well," village president Shawn Keough said.

Dexter Library Director Paul McCann opened the forum by thanking the village's Department of Public Works staff for keeping roads clear of snow and ice this winter.

"The village crews have done a great job," McCann said. "They've made it a lot easier to get around town this winter."

Todd Austin, president of the Orchard River Hills Subdivision Association, asked the council for an update on public transportation through the village.

The Ann Arbor Transit Authority's plans for a countywide transit system were curtailed at the end of 2012 after all of the municipalities in western Washtenaw County voted to opt out.

Trustee Jim Carson, who serves as board president for the Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE) bus service, said the nonprofit is working with AATA to expand services in Dexter.

"WAVE is committed to doubling the frequency of our community connector route in Dexter," Carson said.

Currently the community connector route includes bus service through the village every two hours, seven days a week. Carson said by doubling service, a bus will run through the village every 50 minutes to an hour. In addition, WAVE is working with AATA to move its No. 9 bus stop from Wagner and Jackson roads to the Meijer shopping center on Zeeb Road in Scio Township.

The No. 9 bus connects with the WAVE, allowing residents living in the western portions of Washtenaw County to commute to areas in downtown Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

"I foresee a lot of college kids using the WAVE service in the future," Carson said.

Plans to double the service could come as early as October, Carson said.

Calming traffic in subdivisions

Austin told council members that speed is another factor that should be addressed, particularly in village subdivisions.

Austin said drivers often speed in excess of 25 mph down subdivision streets, and residents fear for the safety of pets and children.

Trustee Ray Tell said he didn't believe the village should use taxpayer dollars for traffic studies or traffic calming signage.

"I can put a stop sign in every yard and it would be ignored. I can't mandate the basic human trait of common courtesy," he said. "If you are driving through a residential neighborhood and you don't have the common courtesy to drive at a safe speed, you deserve whatever it is that might happen to you.

"I would hope that the peer pressure of the entire neighborhood would come down on anyone who is caught speeding."

Austin said he was concerned that some residents were taking matters into their own hands and acting as vigilantes by posting speeders' license plates on private Facebook pages.

"There's a cost to us too in our sense of safety," Austin said. "Quite frankly I think the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour is too fast. These cars zip down side streets in all directions."

President Shawn Keough said village staff can ask the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office to increase patrols in the subdivisions for the next few weeks to monitor motorists. In addition, the village is gathering data from an LED speed management system to look at areas for increased traffic enforcement around the village.

The sign was placed on Ryan Drive on Jan. 31 and will next move to Fifth Street in the coming weeks.

Bob February 14, 2013 at 03:12 PM
I think the world is becoming a crazy place. We're letting go of our Christian values, mainly love your neighbor. If we all loved and respected our neighbors like we treat our own, our problems would be resolved. But instead we're being inconsiderate of others and their children. Till we move the country to the right Christian path, we will continue to degrade. God Bless.
Laura Jones February 14, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I think a bypass is the only solution. You can time all the traffic lights you want, but the streets will still be single lane, with the same bottlenecks. It's the bottlenecks that have to be relieved in order to change the problem. The two main ones are at Island Lake-Dexter Pinckney-Dexter Chelsea and at Mast Road - Huron River dispersing into town (the dispersion pattern is a problem). People thread through those two areas and fan out to find a faster way through the village to get out to where they are ultimately going. Some are only getting to the schools, but many continue beyond. Marilyn is right about the location - too late now so what do we do? I have to say I think it is a legitimate complaint that the unrestrained growth over the last years has been a huge problem. Very often people complained that all the growth without changes to the roads was a problem, but it was always over looked or ignored and the building went ahead. It has been sad to watch the fields disappear and the houses come up in their place and sometimes see wetlands suddenly gone. I hope further field to subdivision changes will be severely curtailed, before we become Ann Arbor to Chelsea without any noticeable change in scenery. I fail to see why that is not a legitimate position. Perhaps Sean was not as diplomatic as you may wish, but his position and feelings are shared by a lot of folks.
Sean February 14, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Fair enough.
Laura Jones February 14, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Not sure why you are making the NIMBY quips - I have said already its a bit late. The only options for a bypass would be unhappy ones, but it doesn't change the need for one. The chance to do it without inconveniencing people passed without action. So here we are. The lights in town are already timed - which doesn't make the commute into town any shorter for anyone coming from beyond the viaduct. There are a few options for bypasses - Huron River drive to Zeeb Road to 96 is one possibility, with a new light at Mast/Huron River/Joy Road. The other is Island Lake to Parker to Marshall and Baker Road. Not great, but about all that's left. And we dont have 15 years to figure this out.
Amos Walker February 15, 2013 at 06:13 PM
In regard to traffic in subdivisions, I would like to see the sheriff's department monitor traffic during morning rush hour through Westridge and Eastridge Sts. I have a sneaking suspicion people are cutting through there to avoid the signal at Dexter Pinckney and Island Lake, despite the No Thru Traffic sign.

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