HANCOCK - Some Hancock residents signed a petition to reduce the speed limit on a section of M-203 in the city, but as written, the petition could actually cause the speed limit to be increased.
At the regular meeting of the Hancock City Council Wednesday, City Manager Glenn Anderson said the petition was circulated by a resident who lives at the intersection of M-203 and Atlantic Street, who is concerned particularly about children crossing the road to get to Hancock Beach.
Anderson said officials with the Michigan Department of Transportation in the past were made aware of concerns about the speed on M-203.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Members of the Hancock City Council Monday discuss a citizen petition to lower the speed limit on a section of M-203 in the city. A public hearing on the issue was set for the regular Jan. 16 council meeting.
"We actually asked MDOT in 2005 to do a speed study," he said.
However, Anderson said MDOT officials declined to do a study until the city council approved a resolution stating exactly what they were asking for because a study could actually show an increase in the speed limit is needed.
If a study was done by MDOT, Anderson said it would be for the various speed zones along the entire length of M-203 in the city, not just individual zones, such as by the beach, and because of that, the results could be the opposite of what is wanted.
"The worst case scenario is they could increase the speed limit in all of the city," he said.
When MDOT decides to do a speed study on a state highway, such as M-203, Anderson said troopers from the Michigan State Police are parked randomly along the road at unspecified times to check traffic speeds with radar. They don't tell city officials when the checks will take place.
The speed limits on M-203 in the city range from 25 mph to 35 mph, and Anderson said he would like the 35 mph moved up the road to beyond the Superior Gravel pit, which would put it well beyond the section by the beach.
Because of the uncertainty of the results, Anderson said he wouldn't recommend having MDOT do a study of the speed limits on M-203.
Council Member John Haeussler, who is also on the board of trustees for the Hancock Housing Commission, said he wouldn't want the speed limit on M-203 to be increased because it's already challenging at times for vehicles entering the road from Lake View Manor and Quincy Haven, and an increase could make it even more dangerous.
Council Member Ted Belej suggested the signers of the petition be contacted about the possible consequences of an MDOT study of the speeds on M-203, and that the council set a public hearing on the issue for the Jan. 16 city council meeting before taking further action, which was approved by the council.
In other business, council members:
approved an increase in the city water rate from $1.50 per 1,000 gallons to $1.55 per 1,000 gallons.
heard from Anderson the dasher boards have been replaced at Laurn Grove outdoor rink, and some chain link fencing was installed to prevent pucks from hitting nearby houses.
heard from Anderson the city's application for Michigan Department of Natural Resources Passport grant for work on the Hancock Beach dock was denied.
heard from Anderson MDOT plans to do resurfacing of M-203 and Quincy Street in 2013, and M-26 from the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to Dollar Bay in 2014.
heard from Anderson the city passed a recent copper and lead content in drinking water test.
approved the appointment of Mike Thornton to the Board of Review and the Hospital Finance Authority. He replaces Gordon Barkell who died this year.
approved a sewer treatment agreement to allow Franklin Township to be a part of the Portage Lake Water and Sewage Authority for the yet-to-be constructed sewer project in the Ripley area.