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Napier Avenue road diet plan rejected by county commissioners

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The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has rejected a plan to put another section of Napier Avenue on a road diet.

The board this week approved a resolution officially opposing a Berrien County Road Department project that would reduce Napier from four lanes to two lanes with a center turn lane between I-94 and US-31.

Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette tells us the county does need to reconstruct Napier in that area in the next five years, but the road department’s plan for a reduction of lanes didn’t satisfy commissioners.

There is enough development occurring in that area that it had some on the board a little nervous that the lane reduction wasn’t a great idea,” Dissette said. “And then with the announcement of the state’s infusion of cash at Cornerstone to try and help develop the nearby site in Benton Charter Township, I think that was kind of like the last straw. They said there’s too much up in the air as far as total development.”

The county board in September approved a transfer of control of that section of Napier from the Michigan Department of Transportation to the county following the completion of the US-31 to I-94 connection. As part of that, MDOT provided the county $1.88 million to reconstruct the road.

Dissette says while that project will still happen, the board of commissioners wants the number of lanes to be preserved.

It’s back to the drawing board for the road department.

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Eastpointe approves road diet for Nine Mile, shrinking from 5 to 3 lanes

EASTPOINTE, Mich. (FOX 2)Plans to shrink Nine Mile in Eastpointe stirred intense debate from residents concerned about how reshaping the mile-long stretch of road through the city could impact travel and traffic.

Those who attended the meeting were part of a public comment period that lasted well over three hours Tuesday night before city councilmembers eventually passed the plan by a 3-2 vote.

The proposed road diet wouldn’t be the first in metro Detroit – it’s not even the first for Nine Mile. The idea, which would condense the road from five lanes to three, would make Eastpointe more walkable and safer for those that live and work near the road, advocates say.

But others complained it would divert more traffic into neighborhoods, “where it’s already horrible,” one woman said. Another man called the idea “stupid.”

“The shores: five lanes. In Warren: five lanes and then cut down by two here in Eastpointe,” he said.

But others cautioned the benefits hadn’t been fully studied and many were basing their decisions before all was known.

“I’m disappointed that many residents are opposed to the idea of redeveloping Nine Mile, even before a plan or study had been presented,” said Shelly Chapas, who supported the road diet plan.

MORE: road construction will impact travel to airport until 2027;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas” class=”link “DTW road construction will impact travel to airport until 2027

The stretch of Nine Mile in question spans between Gratiot and Tuscany Avenue.

Beyond traffic concerns, many residents argued it would make it harder for first responders to reach emergency scenes.

City planners around metro Detroit have implemented their own road diets, including Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge on Woodward Avenue and Oak Park on Nine Mile. Protected bike lanes and walking paths were installed in the driving

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