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March 26, 2019 12:57 am

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Park Street Will See Temporary Speed Humps & Not Bumps To Deal With Motorists

After public input, a professional survey and a lot of discussion, Saugatuck city officials voted last week to eliminate all four of the speed bumps on the north quadrant of Park Street, Mt. Baldhead Park north to Ox-Bow School of Art.

Instead of speed bumps, the city will install two temporary speed humps on each each end of the north quadrant during the summer tourist season, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

“I just want to say thank you to the council. We can now live a normal life out there,” Park Street resident Henry Gleason told officials following their resolution.

Gleason, an older gentleman, said that it was very uncomfortable for him to drive over the speed bumps.

For longer than the 12 years Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier has been in his position, the city had customarily placed four speed bumps on Park Street—from the Mt. Baldhead Park parking lot, north to the city limits at Ox-Bow School of Arts—as a speed control mechanism during the busy summer season.

Also for longer than that time, the city has had advisory speed signs of 15 miles per hour along the street.

Last month the city hired engineering firm Fleis & Vandenbrink to collect data—measure traffic speed one week with the speed bumps in place, one week without.

City council members, as well as some residents, concurred the $1,000 Fleis & Vandenbrink study clearly demonstrated no difference in what speed motorist drove through the north quadrant irrespective of speed bumps or no speed bumps.

“I tried to drive 25 miles per hour (on the north quadrant), I didn’t last very long. The advisory speed from that road is 15 and that is the right speed for that road,” said Saugatuck City Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Spangler.

The council noted that the speed humps were a good compromise, dealing with both speeding concerns while not causing an overburden for motorists that live along the north quadrant and had to drive over the speed bumps.

Some residents further pointed to the fact that most traffic and congestion occurs south of the north quadrant, as visitors go to three of the area’s biggest attraction there: Oval Beach, the Saugatuck Chain Ferry and Mt. Baldhead.

The city’s move is part of ongoing discussions on ways to ameliorate and mitigate the congestion and safety concerns for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists on what many concur is an attractive street, but highly complicated.

The idea of putting a non-motorized path along the road is not new, but the complexity of such a project and its high expense has made that idea not progress at all beyond mere discussion.

Fleis & Vandenbrink’s $3,500 study update proposal that is being reviewed by the city council will produce, among other things, “a conceptual plan view of the facilities overlaid on aerial photography to illustrate the alignment, significant conflicts and approximate limits of easements to be acquired.”

Park Street Will See Temporary Speed Humps & Not Bumps To Deal With Motorists

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