Hancock is not like Ann Arbor

To the editor:

Much of Susan Peterson’s letter published on June 18 and accentuated with exaggerated, all-caps, multiple-question marks, sarcastic indignation is misdirected.

Hancock and Quincy Streets are under the control of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), not the city of Hancock. Keeping the traffic signal at the intersection of US-41 and M-203 is not the city’s decision. Nor was erecting it.

The city does have the authority to petition the state to remove US-41 from Quincy Street, thus making Hancock Street two-way. However, Ms. Peterson’s desire to remove all vehicle traffic from Quincy Street is far more likely to turn Hancock into a ghost town than it is to make it hipper.

With US-41 removed, Quincy Street could become a one-lane local street with ample angle parking. With several more anchor businesses (where are they coming from?), one can imagine a substantially different downtown.

However, there is one glaring drawback: money. As a U.S. highway, maintenance of Quincy Street, including snow removal, is largely the responsibility of MDOT. With less than 5,000 residents, the city of Hancock’s tax base is far too low to absorb the full financial burden of this year-round maintenance. Where is the money coming from? Even if removing US-41 from Quincy Street were fiscally feasible, how do the Hancock Street residents and businesses feel about this plan?

(You’ll quickly find that not all on Quincy Street share Ms. Peterson’s desire, either. As she stated in her letter, with the temporary traffic configuration she can “breeze right through Hancock” without stopping. How is enabling a “breeze right through” attitude going to make Quincy Street a “bustling shopping mecca”?)

Re: Ms. Peterson’s utopian vision of Ann Arbor: I lived in Ann Arbor for nearly 30 years and I moved to the Copper Country to get away from such places.

In summary: If you care to comment (pro or con) on the temporary traffic signal, comment to MDOT, not the city of Hancock; if you wish to see US-41 removed from Quincy Street (which has been discussed by city officials numerous times), please seek the opinions of those most impacted and bring some viable financial solutions to the table; and, if you desire to feel like you’re living in Ann Arbor, move to Ann Arbor.

John Haeussler