Q. One year after spending $6.5 million to reconstruct Miller Ave., traffic buildups at the intersection of Miller and Maple are atrocious, especially on outbound Miller. It’s maddening, causing cars to detour through the adjacent neighborhood south of Miller. Why didn’t “they” put in a roundabout? Same for the intersection at Jackson and Maple, just finished and arguably worse. Is it too late to get rid of the stoplights in favor of roundabouts?
A. The Miller Ave. reconstruction stopped just east of the Maple intersection. The next time Maple is reconstructed, the city will definitely consider a roundabout, weighing costs and benefits. On such a busy road it would need to be multi-lane, which is not as safe as a single-lane roundabout.
As part of the I-94 business loop, the Jackson-Maple intersection is under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Transportation. Instead of a roundabout, MDOT decided to add more turn lanes. Roundabouts in general don’t work well at intersections like Jackson-Maple with heavy left-turning movements, because left turns require traveling three-quarters of the roundabout, impeding two other entrances in the process.
The city takes every opportunity to install roundabouts; one was considered at Miller and Newport as part of the reconstruction, but the right-of-way wasn’t big enough. It’s a common problem: narrow streets often make it impossible to build a roundabout without acquiring additional right-of-way.
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