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Rochester Hills

August 6, 2014

Cut-through traffic causes problems in neighborhoods

By Linda Shepard
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER HILLS — Shortcutting through quiet neighborhoods has become a byproduct of a construction schedule that has closed several main roads to all traffic.

At the beginning of July, construction that shut down Avon Road turned a nearby neighborhood into an unofficial detour route.

“Hundreds of cars each day are driving, often recklessly, through a neighborhood without sidewalks or street lighting,” resident Paul Licker said July 17. “There is a posted detour that just about everyone is ignoring. Those ignorant people also universally fail to stop at the stop signs and almost never signal.”

Police and city officials are attempting to alleviate cut-through traffic woes with extra police patrols, more signage, speed carts and additional barricades.

Currently, Avon Road is closed to all traffic in two locations — east of Adams Road and near Dequindre over the Clinton River. Additionally, the intersection of Livernois and Tienken is closed while a roundabout is built and Orion Road is shut down south of Gallagher for a bridge replacement. 

“We know we’ve got a lot of roads closed down and ‘crimped’ traffic,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said. “The battle is between the people that live in those neighborhoods and those folks whose normal routes to work have been compromised and are not happy with the posted detour.

Safety is of primary concern.

“We are really, really cracking down on speeding,” Barnett said. “If you are going 28 mph in a neighborhood, you are going to get a ticket. We don’t want people speeding through our neighborhoods, especially when people are using them for cut-through traffic.”

According to Lt. Stephen Jacobs of the Oakland County Sheriffs Office’s Rochester Hills substation, residents can call the station to request extra patrols.

“We’ve assigned guys to monitor the traffic; we are taking action if people are speeding and disregarding the barricades,” Jacobs said. “We are taking an active approach, basically for the safely of the people in the subdivisions and the construction workers. We are monitoring the traffic and issuing violations when necessary. We’ve had speed carts in two of the subdivisions that are affected the most. These construction projects all came up, and they are necessary to fix and improve the roads.”

“The No. 1 complaint we get is, ‘Do something about the roads,’” Barnett said. “We’ve attempted to do a lot of things on a very aggressive schedule. This year the City Council allocated more money than probably any year in recent history (toward roads), and we are dealing with that now, trying to accomplish those projects.”

In the past few weeks, the cut-through traffic situation has improved in his neighborhood somewhat, Licker said.

“There are now signs prohibiting large trucks, and the barricades are a bit more intrusive for short cutters,” he said. “There are a few more deterrents, especially at Old Perch and Avon. The situation is still very annoying.” 

“Please be patient,” Barnett asked residents. “Each day, we get closer to completion. We are working hard to get these projects (done) on time and under budget.”