Opposition to Pickard Street road diet dominant in city's public input process

Current lane configuration on Pickard between Mission and Bradley features two lanes of vehicle traffic in both directionsThe period allotted for public input in the case of Pickard Street receiving a road diet is drawing to a close.

The issue at hand is whether the stretch of Pickard between Mission and Bradley streets will be restriped.

The road currently features two traveling lanes in each direction. A restriping, or road diet, would eliminate the current iteration in favor of one lane in each direction, a center turn lane, and bike lanes on each side.

Intended benefits of road diets often include more space for bicyclists and slower automobile traffic, which can lead to increased pedestrian safety and improved walkability.

Still, that doesn’t mean a road diet is guaranteed to win over the general public.

Stacie Tewari is City Engineer for Mt. Pleasant and the person tasked with collecting comment cards, letters, and e-mails as the city seeks public opinion on the matter. Tewari says that of the more than 100 responses she’s received, less than ten have been in favor of the road diet.

There is also an online petition with more than 900 signatures in opposition of the project, she says.

The question that presents itself is if Pickard restriping is unpopular across the board or if the opposition is more vocal.

The city commission could decide the restriping issue as soon as this June, following the period of public comment.

"It’s an important component of the process," says Tewari, as the city weighs how such a change could affect local businesses and residents alike.

Either way, what can be for certain is that the city plans on milling and resurfacing this stretch of Pickard in summer 2020, no matter the lane configuration.

The city hopes to receive public comments by 4:30 p.m. on May 22. Comments can be sent to Stacie Tewari, City Engineer, at stewari@mt-pleasant.org or by mail at 320 W. Broadway Street, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858.

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