Traverse City News and Events

Boardman Neighborhood Residents Ask City to Address Washington/Franklin Intersection

By Beth Milligan | Nov. 20, 2023

More than 60 Boardman Neighborhood residents signed a petition asking the City of Traverse City to address what they describe as a dangerous intersection at Franklin and Washington streets, the site of several accidents in recent years. City commissioners tonight (Monday) will consider making the intersection a four-way stop – one of several agenda items that also include raising rates at Clinch Park marina and approving the purchase of a new ladder truck for the Traverse City Fire Department under a $1.8 million state grant.

Washington/Franklin Intersection
Commissioner Tim Werner put a petition request from Boardman Neighborhood – spearheaded by neighborhood resident and Grand Traverse County Commissioner TJ Andrews – to make the intersection of Washington and Franklin streets an all-way stop on tonight’s commission agenda for potential approval.

Drivers at the intersection must stop on Franklin Street – which has stop signs – but not on Washington Street, which does not. According to Andrews, drivers often ignore the Franklin stop signs, creating numerous “near-misses” in addition to multiple accidents over the years, including two witnessed by neighbors this summer. “This intersection has been dangerous for some time, and the impending Grandview Parkway reconstruction – with significant traffic rerouting through 2024 – threatens to exacerbate the situation,” she wrote to commissioners.

Andrews said the compound effect of “three key factors create the opportunity for dangerous conflict at this intersection: driver confusion, traffic, and non-drivers.” In terms of driver confusion, the intersection is “anomalous in the neighborhood,” she wrote, as it’s “surrounded by multiple blocks with fully controlled intersections (four-way or traffic circles). In my experience, drivers on Washington often expect a stop sign at Franklin, and they slow down or even stop, particularly when they see a bicycle or pedestrian waiting to cross at Franklin. Unsurprisingly, random slowing/stopping is particularly acute during events and peak season, with an influx of non-resident drivers and non-drivers. Slowing or stopping unpredictably is obviously dangerous for other roadway users.”

The intersection also experiences a high degree of traffic, Andrews said. "Some cars pick up speed on Washington in the stretch between Railroad and Wellington, which we anticipate will intensify with reconstruction frustration.” Andrews said the city adding a traffic signal at Washington/Railroad – which will be active during the reconstruction – “will undoubtedly lead more cars to cut east or west on Washington.” Additionally, the creation of a new intersection at Franklin/Front/Railroad during the reconstruction will likely mean more drivers taking Franklin “because it is the more direct route between Eighth and Front,” Andrews said.

City staff noted in agenda documents that the intersection “does not meet warrants” for a four-way stop, according to city engineering. But according to Andrews, “no additional warrants or traffic counts should be needed for Traverse City to proactively safeguard this intersection for our community.” She wrote to commissioners: “Converting Washington and Franklin into a four-way stop is probably well overdue, but now is the right time to make this change – ahead of the reconstruction challenges.” Over 60 Boardman Neighborhood residents – representing households on Washington, State, Webster, Railroad, Boardman, Franklin, and Wellington – signed a petition supporting the request.

Commissioners are able to approve traffic control orders and make neighborhood intersections four-way stops, regardless of warrants. Four-way stops have been added to other neighborhoods in recent years by request – most notably in 2019 in Slabtown Neighborhood at the intersection of West Front and Madison streets.

Also at tonight’s meeting...
> Commissioners will vote to approve a new transient rate structure for the city’s Duncan L. Clinch Marina starting in 2024. The structure will use four different rates for different times of year. The most expensive, Rate J, will be $2.06/foot for the 10 days surrounding the National Cherry Festival (which averages roughly 140 vessels). Rate G, at $1.60/foot, will be in place between early June and Cherry Festival (average 105 vessels) and from after Cherry Festival until mid-September (average 119 vessels). Rate D, at $1.24/foot, will be in place from Memorial Day weekend to early June (two weeks, average 78 vessels) and from mid-September to early October (two weeks, average 78 vessels). Finally, Rate B – at $.90/foot – will be in place from May 15 to Memorial Day weekend (average 47 vessels) and from early October to October 20 (average 38 vessels).

According to Marina Dockmaster Shane Dilloway, “adjusting transient rates during times of high demand has precedence at other marinas in Michigan and is encouraged by the Michigan DNR.” 

The rate increase is expected to generate approximately $14,000 in additional revenue next year. “Based on my four seasons as dockmaster and twenty total seasons working at Clinch Marina, I believe the demand for transient space is consistent enough throughout the season that our transient slips will maintain their current occupancy levels despite the rate increase,” Dilloway wrote.

> Commissioners will vote on approving a $1,886,553 purchase order for the Traverse City Fire Department to purchase a new ladder truck. Representative Betsy Coffia helped secure a $1.8 million grant for the truck through the Michigan Enhancement Program this year, meaning TCFD will only have to cover $86,553 of the purchase price. The new apparatus, which will have a 100-foot ladder, will replace an aging TCFD ladder truck that is almost 20 years old. According to Interim City Manager Nate Geinzer, prepaying for the apparatus will generate a $208,528 discount. The city will therefore pay for the truck in full now and be reimbursed by the state grant, which is expected to be disbursed within three months. The new Ladder 01 will take approximately three years to build and deliver to the TCFD.

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