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Smart Roads: Petoskey: The Smart Choice

A qualified alternative

June 1, 2000 | By Kelly Thayer
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Studies show that more than 80 percent of Petoskey area motorists begin or end their journeys in Petoskey, rather than just passing through. Therefore, to ease congestion, investments should continue to be made to upgrade state, county, and municipal roads by expanding intersections, adding turn lanes, and computerizing traffic lights.
The Smart Roads: Petoskey plan seeks to:

Modernize U.S. 31, its intersections, and adjoining roads.

Install computer-controlled traffic signals to monitor where the greatest traffic is and speed it along with longer-lasting green lights. Also make these changes to key intersections:
U.S. 31 and U.S. 131 — Add an additional eastbound lane on U.S. 31-North so that two lanes turn left and a third lane turns right. Consider prohibiting through travel and left turns from westbound Charlevoix Street.
U.S. 31 and Mitchell — The intersection presently has the capacity to handle 30 percent more traffic than exists today. Computerized traffic signals will increase its
capacity even more.
U.S. 31 and Division — The intersection is controlled by stop signs on Division. A traffic signal is recommended, and the intersection should be widened to give more room to vehicles waiting to turn left from U.S. 31 onto southbound Division.
U.S. 31 and M-119 — The intersection is near its traffic capacity. Computer-controlled traffic signals will improve traffic flow, and the proposed Express Route and Truck Route will help divert some traffic away from it.

Develop a new Express Route linking local roads.

The current Petoskey area road network has several major north-south streets and relatively few east-west streets. In particular, there is a noticeable east-west gap across the River Road corridor. The proposed Express Route would enhance east-west traffic flow around Petoskey.
Using the Express Route, motorists would travel along Lake Grove and Intertown roads with a new link to Click and Cedar Valley roads and another new connection to Manvel Road. The existing 66-foot right-of-way along Intertown Road is wide enough for an Express Route with two 12-foot-wide lanes, and shoulders. Motorists would travel at 50-55 mph. A traffic signal should be considered where the Express Route would cross U.S. 131. Emmet County could post signs at both ends of the Express Route to encourage pass-through travelers on U.S. 31 to avoid downtown and Bay View.
The Sterzik Road corridor could be extended to serve as an additional east-west road in the long-term future, but would require substantial new construction.

Create a new Truck Route that avoidsdowntown Petoskey and Bay View.

Some trucks already use Bear River Road, from the Emmet-Charlevoix county line, north to River Road and eventually to Division Road and onto U.S. 31. However, this presents difficulties because Division Road includes a steep hill and skirts Bay View.
A better Truck Route is to connect River Road to the proposed Express Route at Click Road, allowing traffic to head either east or west without passing through downtown or Bay View. Local governments and the state Department of Transportation could agree to ban pass-through truck traffic in the downtown and Bay View once the Express Route is open.

Develop a Summer Shuttle Bus service to reduce tourist traffic.

Local governments or local businesses could cooperate to run a Summer Shuttle Bus service. The service would provide a convenient means for visitors to patronize downtown shops, Bay Harbor, and other locations without contributing to congestion and parking problems. The bus service would complement the area’s fledgling water-taxi program by providing bus rides to visitors arriving by boat. The bus service also could link to the Petoskey area’s growing network of trails and greenways used by pedestrians and bicyclists. In the future, the Summer Shuttle Bus service could connect to the recently proposed regional bus system that would join Emmet, Cheboygan, Ostego, and Presque Isle counties.

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