Letter | ICW four lanes not needed; staff identifies best solution
June 6, 2012 · 9:52 AM
I am writing in response to earlier contributors regarding the Island Crest Way (ICW) ‘road diet’ issue. As a South-end resident and parent of an active high school student and his six younger siblings, I drive most of the length of ICW at least twice every day.
The current interim Merrimount/ICW intersection configuration has demonstrated without question that four lanes are simply not necessary for ICW south of Merrimount. Extra lanes only encourage people to drive faster and change lanes more frequently, both behaviors that go hand in hand with poor safety performance.
The City Council didn’t come up with the lane-reduction solution. It was recommended to them after a detailed study and analysis of alternatives (including leaving ICW the way it is), by people whose specific profession it is to take all aspects of such a project into careful consideration.
Roads are a public work. The City Council has the obligation to act in the best interests of all road users, and those interests include both mobility and safety. A separate public vote on this issue makes no more sense than voting on the size of the water pipes or the height of the power lines that supply our homes and businesses, or on the locations of traffic signals, fire stations or water towers. There are important scientific and engineering bases for these kinds of decisions, and deciding instead solely on the whims of the public at large would be a disaster. Not only that, MI voters already voted soundly against a Council challenger who campaigned on a “no road diet” platform, in a process not of “anointing,” but of free and democratic election. The best solution has been identified, the public has been heard, nobody is being “punished,” and the ICW road diet is ready to go forward.