Howell hoping to study plan that could calm downtown traffic, provide more parking

The areas highlighted in yellow are where the city is considering narrowing traffic lanes and adding back-in angle parking.
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The City of Howell is hoping the Michigan Department of Transportation gives it thumbs up to put a study into motion that could rein in traffic on Grand River Avenue through parts of its historic downtown. You can read more about it by clicking here for the news story from WHMI.

I am crossing my fingers for swift approval from the state because this plan appears to be great news.

For years now, the speed with which traffic moves through downtown Howell has been cited by consultant after consultant as a drawback. Speed makes it difficult for downtown businesses to capture the attention of drivers, and just try to cross Grand River Avenue on foot, or exit your parallel-parked vehicle without holding your breath and you’ll see the challenge.

And then there is always the perennial complaint that there just isn’t enough parking.

Under the plan, the three lanes from Barnard Street to State Street in front of the Livingston County Courthouse complex, as well as the block between Center and Chestnut streets, would be narrowed, and the current parallel parking spots in the two areas would be replaced with back-in angle spots.

The rest of Grand River Avenue — including the main intersection with Michigan Avenue — would remain the same.

Given the addition of new restaurants and stores in downtown Howell, as well as the popularity of the Howell Carnegie District Library and Howell’s Sunday Farmers’ Market, slowing traffic and providing more parking would be a win-win for us all. And those unfamiliar with back-in angle parking will be happy to learn that it is a safer style of parking since drivers exit forward, rather than having to back out of spots.

The success of Main Street in downtown Brighton is due in part to  the road being three lanes throughout. Traffic moves more slowly, and pedestrians rule, making for a more welcoming and intimate area.

If Howell gets the nod from the Michigan Department of Transportation, it will mark Grand River Avenue with temporary posts, tape and paint to reflect the new layout.

A few months ago I wrote that Howell ought to close a stretch of Grand River Avenue in its downtown — even if occasionally — to create a festival street.

While the city’s plan doesn’t include that, just narrowing Grand River Avenue and providing more parking will go a long way to making Howell’s downtown even cooler than it already is.

You can read about back-in angle parking by clicking here.

About Maria Stuart 80 Articles
Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse.

1 Comment

  1. NOPE ! 25 MPH is too fast, and people are too lazy to walk to the lights? Put a stop light at Fowler street, MAYBE TRUCKS would USE the TRUCK ROUTE and slow the traffic down through Downtown.Try backing into a spot with 6 cars stopped behind you and sitting on your bumper. Go around again and hope no one is behind you when you find another spot. Pulling out, hope that some huge SUV, Pickup or Van isn’t on the traffic side and you can’t see the oncoming traffic. Need pretty wide parking spaces, especially for those LONG Pickup Trucks. Make SURE all the spaces are EXTRA WIDE so the ROTUND people that can’t walk to the light can get out of their cars WITOUT DENTING mine! Deliveries will then be an issue with the trucks parked in the center lane and trying to get passed the parked cars. I don’t want to get rear ended by someone who is trying to look in between cars while doing their window shopping! LET THHEM WALK! And by the way I check my rearview mirror before I get out of my car on Grand River, apparently unlike some people.

    Make the speed limit 20 or 15 MPH through town if you want them to slow down!

    AND BY THE WAY MAIN STREET IN BRIGHTON, JUST WHO WANTS HOWELL TO BE LIKE BRIGHTON? I would have moved to Brighton if I liked it that much!

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