Boulevard paving project aims to improve safety

From the City of Tecumseh

It has been two years since the reduction of lanes on Chicago Boulevard was discussed at public meetings, and you may be asking – why was this needed?  The short answer is to improve safety of pedestrians and patrons of the downtown businesses. With the previous four and five lane cross section, the travel lanes were very narrow, particularly for trucks and larger vehicles that were traversing through the downtown area.  Many people reported near misses with trucks and having little or no room to maneuver their vehicle. Additionally, people felt very unsafe parking on the Boulevard to run into their favorite store, and there were frequent reports of rear-view mirrors and door panels on parked cars being damaged. When pedestrians attempted to cross the Boulevard, they also felt unsafe facing four lanes of traffic and the uncertainty of if and where vehicles were turning. Unfortunately, there have also been several incidents of pedestrians being struck by vehicles as they crossed the street.

Lane reductions or “road diets” have been shown to significantly improve pedestrian safety by slowing traffic down and making traffic movements much more obvious. The U.S. Highway Administration and traffic safety organizations have studied road diets and documented the following benefits:

• Reduction of rear-end and left-turn crashes due to the dedicated left-turn lane.

• Reduced right-angle crashes as side street motorists cross three versus four travel lanes.

• Fewer lanes for pedestrians to cross.

• Opportunity to install bicycle lanes, and safer on-street parking.

• Traffic calming and more consistent speeds.

A more community-focused, Complete Streets environment that better accommodates the needs of all road users.

Downtown Tecumseh has gained notoriety as a charming small-town to visit for shopping, dining and daytrips from nearby metropolitan areas. Recent examples of this include recognition as a preferred “one-tank trip” by Cleveland news outlets and being highlighted by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for pedestrian-oriented downtown improvements like the Market on Evans. Making our downtown streets safer for visitors and our residents alike, will help continue to improve Tecumseh’s reputation as a wonderful small town to live, work or visit.

If you have questions about the process that MDOT and the City went through in approving the road diet, or the design details, you can contact Dan Swallow, Tecumseh City Manager, at 424.6555.