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eMacomb - Featured Article, July 2008

All Access Gratiot Avenue!

One of the most dynamic and pressing challenges facing a number of Macomb County communities is transportation.  Throughout the county, region, and state, transportation stakeholders are beginning to realize that in most cases we are unable to support the planning, construction, and funding needed to sustain and expand our ailing transportation network.  Demands for road improvements are rising faster than available revenues and with land use changes creating the need for improvements, formal coordination between local governments, counties and road authorities has never been greater.  Understanding these mounting concerns and the value that collaboration can offer, the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is working with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) to launch the “M-3/M-19 Gratiot Avenue Access Management Initiative” (GAAMI).

Access management is a set of techniques that can be used to control entrance to a community’s transportation network.  This planning undertaking will analyze the vital relationship between transportation and land use along Gratiot and seek to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion, preserve the flow of traffic, sustain the public investment in roads, and enhance the value of private land development.  Paul E. Tait, Executive Director of SEMCOG states, “This corridor is considered a regional priority.  It represents a key link in the transportation system for the communities it traverses, for Macomb County and for the region as a whole.”

Spanning from 8 Mile Road in the south to County Line Road in the north, Gratiot Avenue traverses nine communities in the county:  Eastpointe, Roseville, Clinton Township, Mount Clemens, Macomb Township, Chesterfield Township, New Haven, Lenox Township and the City of Richmond.  When considering the overall length of the corridor, the number of communities involved and the differing characteristics along the corridor, GAAMI presents a number of unique opportunities.  In order to expedite some of the inherent challenges and ensure the effective implementation, MCPED, MDOT, and SEMCOG have divided the analysis into two separate but similar and simultaneous processes.

Mark M-59 as a geographic center, Gratiot will be studied in two sections.  The vision for the southern segment will focus on retrofitting the existing urban landscape to accommodate access management techniques.  The vision for the northern half will focus on proactively addressing growth to minimize future problems.  Both visions will be developed and enacted by two separate steering committees with representatives from affected communities, MCPED, the Road Commission of Macomb County, SEMCOG, and MDOT.

Gregory C. Johnson, Engineer for Michigan Department of Transportation Metro Region is looking forward to the entire process.  “The plan represents a significant cooperative effort between MDOT, SEMCOG, Macomb County, and the communities along the corridor.”

Ultimately, this initiative will provide each community with a detailed plan for implementing access management in their community. As a result, Gratiot Avenue will be safer for the motoring public who use it for traveling to and from work, school, or shopping.  Making Gratiot safer will also enhance the aesthetics of the corridor and enhance its economic viability.

Representatives from MCPED are currently visiting affected communities to provide details about the process.  For any additional information regarding GAAMI, please feel free to contact the department at 586-469-5285.