The Concept:

The City of Muskegon seeks to address the overall road safety and pedestrian crossings of Shoreline Drive from Southern Avenue to Terrace Street. This pilot project will test the reduction of Shoreline Drive from four to two lanes. Anticipated benefits of the “road diet” are improved pedestrian and vehicle safety with reduction in speed while reconnecting our neighborhoods downtown to the waterfront and creating a more walkable, park-like experience.

History:

  • Construction on Seaway Drive began in the 1950s to serve as the US-31 business route through Muskegon. After numerous changes to its route, the current configuration of the highway was completed in the mid-2000s and also includes Shoreline Drive and Moses J. Jones Parkway.
  • The highway was introduced as a means of serving downtown businesses and waterfront industrial uses. Aligning with national trends, post-WWII Muskegon saw a surge in the popularity of private automobiles alongside the mid-century era of highway building.
  • The construction of the business route did not come without causing considerable damage to Muskegon neighborhoods.

The Shoreline Drive Study:

  • The City has hired Progressive AE through a bidding process to create the study of lane reduction on Shoreline. The study will be conducted in August to October, 2022.
  • The temporary closure of one northbound lane and one southbound lane of Shoreline Drive (Business Route US-31) from Southern to Terrace will include the use of cones, pavement markings, barriers and planters.
  • Data will be collected during and after this piloted lane reduction project to measure vehicle traffic and speed counts, and vehicle crashes. The analysis of this data will be compared to existing information for the area to help quantify the impact and cite any areas of concern. The project consultant will present the results of study to the City Commission in December 2022.
  • The traffic study could be shortened if it causes severe traffic issues.

Rationale and Anticipated Benefits:

  • Shoreline from Southern to Terrace carries from 12,000 to 20,000 vehicles a day at speeds 45 mph and higher. In the last 5 years 22% of crashes within the city involving a pedestrian where the result was either a fatality or a serious injury occurred in this area, and the last 10 years 8 of 30 total traffic fatalities within the City occurred on the state highway US-31 BR.
  • Piloting a traffic calming, lane reduction project is anticipated to reduce speeds making Shoreline a safer, more pedestrian friendly roadway and connecting the Muskegon Lake waterfront to our neighborhoods. Benefits also include greater opportunities for economic development, social justice, and recreational green space along this corridor.
  • Traffic engineering analysis indicates delay times at the five signaled intersections in the study area would increase from 0-60 seconds with four lanes to 90-120 seconds with two lanes.

Conclusions Going Forward:

  1. The pilot study seeks only to temporarily close two lanes to investigate the effect on motorists and pedestrians.
  2. The study’s conclusions will help inform city officials as to the future direction of a potential lane reduction project.
  3. Any eventual permanent change to the roadway would entail a multi-year, master planning process and include extensive public engagement. Actual reconstruction of Shoreline Drive would be years away.
  4. The city is first choosing to rely on the relatively low-cost traffic study to evaluate the necessity and feasibility of this pilot study before undertaking the potential of a larger reconstruction project.

Staff from the City’s Engineering and Planning Departments gave a brief presentation to the City Commission at their May 9, 2022 worksession regarding the pilot project. A video containing the full presentation as well as the presentation slides can be viewed at the below links. One additional slide has been added to the presentation slides to provide the sources of the information referenced in the presentation and additional resources.

Narrated Presentation (YouTube)

Presentation Slides

RFP Shoreline Drive Traffic Reconfiguration