MUSKEGON, MI – The first phase of the “road diet” study by the City of Muskegon on Shoreline Drive is scheduled to roll out this fall, starting the week of Oct. 3.
With the goal of informing potential uses along this corridor — including increased walkability, bicycling and other pedestrian amenities and recreational opportunities — the first phase of the pilot project will reduce lanes for approximately six weeks on the four-lane US-31 Business Route (Shoreline Drive) through the city’s downtown waterfront. A single lane of Shoreline Drive will be closed in each direction between Seventh Street and Terrace Street so that routine road maintenance can be conducted on Shoreline Drive.
With a “road diet,” city officials are hopeful that slower traffic speeds and fewer vehicular accidents will make this roadway safer and easier to cross from the historic downtown to the waterfront.
After City of Muskegon Department of Public Works’ crews complete half of the concrete pavement repairs, the lane closures will switch to the other two lanes the week of Oct. 17. All of the lane closures and maintenance work on Shoreline Drive through the downtown should be completed by the week of Nov. 14. Engineers will use this routine maintenance closure to collect preliminary data on the road diet and have those results to the city commission and community by the end of the year.
Phase two of the “road diet” study is tentatively planned for spring/summer of 2023 – but still needs commission approval. This timeframe will allow for higher traffic volumes that come with tourism and lakeshore events, according to Public Works Director Leo Evans. Traffic control devices such as traffic cones, pavement markings, barriers and planters will temporarily eliminate one lane in each direction. The public space created by the lane reductions will be tested for bicycle use, landscaped plantings, public art and community gathering areas.
The cost of the project is approximately $100,000 and has been partially approved by the Muskegon City Commission. With the observations and data from the two test periods, the city’s consultant Progressive AE will provide results and recommendations to city officials in the second half of 2023.
Any permanent reconfiguration of Shoreline Drive will require approval through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and could be a lengthy process of public input, design, funding and construction. The city will conduct public forums to seek community input on any proposed changes to Shoreline Drive. A study preview event on July 25 was well attended.
The public can track the Shoreline Drive study at: https://www.muskegon-mi.gov/departments/planning/shoreline-drive-pilot-project/