Increased Speed Limit Along Blue Star Highway South Of Wiley Road Raises Some Concerns
“It’s a hard intersection (Wiley Road and Blue Star Highway) whether the speed limit is 35 or 45,” said Douglas Council Member Greg Harvath on Monday during discussion about the recent speed change along the Blue Star Highway in that area from 35 to 45 mph
Recently, the new 45 mph speed limit went into effect from south of Wiley Road to the southern most boundary and beyond, to the Douglas Estates Mobile Home Park.
The speed remains at 35 mph, from Wiley Road north into the city.
“It’s not a speed issue. It’s just that people are not very polite there—there is not enough space and time to get out (if you are turning off of Wiley Road),” said Harvath
Others echoed the same experiences.
“You have to be creative (to maneuver out),” said Douglas Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Hoexter.
City officials said the change was justified because Blue Star was recently made wider. Also, they wanted to ease the transition for motorists coming off the I-196 highway (exit 36).
Discussion at the council meeting was prompted by a memo from Interurban Transit Authority Executive Director Phyllis Yff to the city, concerned about northbound traffic on Blue Star going 45 mph (mile per hour), a speed she deemed too fast for the on-demand public bus system.
Interurban provides service to the cities of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township, offering curb-to-curb service for residents and visitors alike.
“Can the board consider the 35 mph starting south of the intersection?” Yff asked city officials. Yff said she is pleased with the change to 45 mph, but is proposing it begins at the AmericInn Lodge & Suites, near 129th, and go south from there.
Per the discussion, Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere said he will speak with Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department Chief Ken Giles about putting up a “reduce speed ahead sign” to ease the changes for everyone.
LeFevere said he will also look into possible traffic studies.
Years back, the city did consider a stop light at that intersection. “The cost at that time was $52,000 just for the light,” said Hoexter.
The-then proposed stop light entailed one state study and one federal study, resulting in an estimated total cost of more than $100,000 to add a traffic light to that area, Hoexter noted.