What is the purpose of the road diet trial now taking place?

A study completed by consultants examined several redesign options for the US 10 Business Route corridor. The preferred alternative, based on the needs of all corridor users, was a reduction in the number of lanes from three to two.

Buttles and Indian Streets are overbuilt in their current design. This provides conditions that are unnecessarily unsafe. A single lane reduction is being considered to change how drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians use the road in order to reduce speeding and encourage safety for everyone. A lane-reduction would also result in more space that can be devoted to other users. A final decision has not been made as to how the resulting space could be used but examples of potential uses include widened sidewalks, buffer zones, dedicated vehicle-turn lanes or separated bike lanes.

The consultants’ recommendation to reduce Buttles Street from three to two lanes was based on an engineering analysis completed and presented in the final study report using a variety of available and collected traffic data. Although the recommendation was and remains supported by the information that was available at that time, on-street testing was desired by both MDOT and the City of Midland to make certain the consultant’s findings would hold up under real-world conditions. Short trials took place in August 2017 and November 2017, both of which supported the consultants’ findings that only two lanes of travel are needed to accommodate the traffic using the corridor between Jerome Street and State Street. The trial now underway is an expanded testing of this finding and continues to collect data that will be used to make a final decision for the future of this corridor.

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1. Who was responsible for initiating the US 10 Corridor Study in 2015?
2. Who are the stakeholders that asked for this?
3. Why were earlier trials conducted before the current trial was started?
4. Why are there three lanes now? If they were needed before, why aren’t they needed now?
5. What is the purpose of the road diet trial now taking place?
6. What is the long term goal?
7. How does a lane reduction better connect downtown to the surrounding community?
8. Are corridor improvements only being considered to benefit the immediately surrounding properties?
9. What data is being collected during the current trial period?
10. What is the plan for evaluating the lane reduction?
11. Why are we considering closing a lane of traffic to accommodate bicyclists?
12. I don’t see pedestrians or bicyclists using the closed lane on Buttles Street. Doesn’t this show that the trial isn’t working and the lane closure is not needed?
13. Wouldn’t it be better to stop the trial until all construction downtown is finished?
14. It has been reported that Buttles Street has seen an increase in crashes because of the road diet. What is happening there?
15. How will this impact emergency vehicles traveling through the corridor?
16. Has future development, growth, and increased pedestrian usage been considered?
17. What has already been decided by City Council?
18. The decision on this trial has already been made. Why should I participate in any future meetings?
19. How can I share my experiences in the corridor with the City?
20. What happens to my comments after I submit them in writing to the City?
21. Does the City compile other communications about the road diet, such as letters to the editor in the Midland Daily News or posts on social media outlets?
22. How will City Council address the public feedback it receives?
23. The plastic bollards in place are ugly and make the area unattractive. Can’t we do something that looks better?
24. Why is the trial taking so long to complete? When will it end?
25. What happens at the end of the trial period?
26. Are there plans to do the same on Indian Street?
27. Who will be paying for any future changes to the road and what would the timeframe be to start construction?
28. How have road diets benefited other communities?