The medians to be removed are circled.
As Mayor Muzzin recently noted, the Grand River Ave. and Cross St. intersection is unlike any other along the length of the Grand River corridor. With the pedestrian center islands, the intersection serves as a distinct gateway to Downtown Brighton and promotes connectivity along the major commercial thoroughfare.
The unique characteristics of the intersection were constructed in 2002, after a walkability study found that it was extremely difficult for a pedestrian to walk across Grand River. The City added islands for pedestrians to stop at while crossing the five-lane road, updated pedestrian signals, and created specially designed crosswalks. In addition, concrete medians were added to separate the left lanes in all four directions.
In the fourteen years since the redesign of Grand River and Cross, the pedestrian experience has improved significantly in the intersection. Vehicle and foot traffic has increased and it is time to perform maintenance on the intersection. The City recently received federal funding to repair Grand River Avenue, creating an opportunity to evaluate the design of the intersection.
Brighton’s City Engineer, Gary Markstrom from Tetra Tech, presented his recommendations for the update of Grand River and Cross at the October 6th City Council Study Session. In evaluating the effectiveness of the intersection, Mr. Markstrom found that the uptick in traffic has pointed out a flaw in the 2002 design. The concrete medians in the Grand River left turn lanes (circled in the image) are not long enough to accommodate the cars turning left at each change of the traffic light, meaning that one of the two travel lanes is frequently blocked with cars waiting to enter the left turn lane. In addition, the concrete medians are in bad condition from being repeatedly struck by vehicles. The new design of the intersection also has to conform to federally-required lane widths, and the space the medians took up makes the lanes too narrow. Therefore, Mr. Markstrom recommended that the concrete medians on Grand River be taken out when the intersection was repaired in Spring 2017. Given the aforementioned reasons, and the fact that repairs would be less expensive if the medians were removed, Council agreed with Mr. Markstrom’s recommendation.
Grand River travelers can expect the update of Grand River and Cross St. next spring. Along with the repairs, the City will also be making special emphasis crosswalks and updating the pedestrian amenities. The City is hoping to make this intersection more pleasant whether you’re on foot or in a car!