By Matthew Bartow / WLAA
The Ann Arbor City Council shot down CA-18 on June 17, a resolution to proceed with a road reconfiguration and safety enhancement project for Earhart Road, sending the resolution back to the Transportation Commission of Ann Arbor.
The resolution calls for Earhart Road to be reduced from two lanes to one both northbound and southbound between US-23 and Waldenwood Drive, with the addition of a protected bike lane in each direction.
Kathy Griswold, who is both a member of the Ann Arbor City Council and the Transportation Commission of Ann Arbor, was one of the eight council members that voted to send the resolution back to the Transportation Commission, and expressed concerns about eliminating a traffic lane.
“Basically you’re taking away a traffic lane to create a bike lane that would only be for a very short distance, since the bridge [on Earhart Road] over US-23 is not wide enough for bike lanes,” Griswold said.
Council member Jane Lumm also expressed her concerns about the resolution at the City Council meeting.
“There’s never been any follow-up after a road diet (a lane reduction); the answer is always we don’t know,” Lumm said. “I won’t support the road diet until we have follow-up statistics on road diets so far.”
The proposal also seeks to install roundabouts on Earhart Road, both at the Glazier Way and Waldenwood Drive intersections.
A modern roundabout provides a 39 percent reduction in total crashes and a 90 percent reduction in serious injury and fatality crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Erica Briggs, who serves on the board of the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition, spoke at the meeting, expressing support for the project.
“My mother-in-law is a resident of Glacier Hills [Senior Living Community], and I have experienced several near-crashes there [Earhart Road and Glazier Way],” Briggs said. “When you look at survey results, what you see is that 64 percent support or highly support testing lane conversions and productive bike lanes and they also support adding roundabouts there.”
Jennifer Bartsch, a staff member at Glacier Hills Senior Living Community, spoke at the meeting, relaying concerns of residents.
“They create problems for safety for both pedestrians and bikers,” Bartsch said. “Our residents who cross Earhart Road to walk in the neighborhood across from Glacier Hills are concerned about navigating the roundabout.”