No road diet for Brown Street: Reconstruction to begin mid-June

Frequent users of Brown Street, take note: A complete reconstruction of the roadway is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 15, closing the street to thru traffic through August.

Brown Street will be closed from North Drive to Broadway Street as workers complete the project.

The road, gutters, and curbs will be removed and replaced. Some sidewalk will be replaced and sidewalk ramps will be upgraded. For homes along Brown Street, driveways will be replaced between the street and sidewalk.

Water main valve replacements and sanitary sewer upgrades are also planned.

The work is made possible in part by a $375,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation and its Small Urban Program.

"We evaluate all of our streets every other year or every third year and we prioritize our projects. We look at whether we need an overlay or complete reconstruction, for example," says Stacie Tewari, City Engineer for Mt. Pleasant.

"For the grant, federal aid depends on things like traffic count. And then we choose a street that is due for work."

Brown Street is an important roadway for the city, providing primary access to Pullen Elementary School and McLaren Central Hospital. The stretch of Brown in front of the hospital is currently unaffected by construction, though reconstruction of Brown between North Drive and High Street is planned for 2022.

The reconstruction project made the news in 2019 when a road diet was considered. That plan would have narrowed the street from 40 ft. to 37 ft. while also adding parallel park to each side.

While proponents of the road diet argued that the reconfiguration would slow down traffic, increasing pedestrian safety, adjacent property owners, including McLaren Central Hospital, argued against the change.

Narrowing the roadway would make it more difficult for emergency vehicles to safely reach the hospital, while also affecting school bus access to Pullen Elementary, opponents said.

"We sent some information to the nearby property owners, asking them whether they wanted us to do anything with the width of the roadway," Tewari says.

"They determined that Brown Street is the best width possible."

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