Midland road diet

An ongoing project in Midland has seen plenty of criticism lately.

The so-called "road diet" study along Business US-10 in Midland is intended to make the busy corridor safer for pedestrians and cut down on congestion.

"Some people are adjusting to it. Some people continue to have challenges for it," said Selina Tisdale, community affairs director for Midland.

Midland launched the road diet project on a stretch of Buttles Street/Business US-10 back on May 14, 2018. It is a three-year study to determine if a reduction from three lanes to two lanes will work in the area.

"How can we attract both residential and business and motoring traffic in this area and make it easier for all to get along," Tisdale said.

According to statistics provided by the city of Midland, there has been an uptick in crashes since the study began. There have been 37 crashes from May 14, 2018 to May 13, 2019. That's compared to 26 from that same time period a year prior. You can see the statistics below:

 DatesTotal No. of crashes 
 May 14, 2009 to May 13, 2010 21
 May 14, 2010 to May 13, 2011 21
 May 14, 2011 to May 13, 2012 28
 May 14, 2012 to May 13, 2013 26
 May 14, 2013 to May 13, 2014 26
 May 14, 2014 to May 13, 2015 17
 May 14, 2015 to May 13, 2016 24
 May 14, 2016 to May 13, 2017 18
 May 14, 2017 to May 13, 2018 26
 May 14, 2018 to May 13, 2019 37

"Some of that is to be expected, but I think you have to look at local and national trends as well - red light running, distracted drivers, all of those areas of traffic crashes are up. So it would seem natural that you would see some of that also up in this corridor," Tisdale said.

TV5 spoke to motorists in the area to get their opinion on the road diet.

"It slows down traffic a little bit every once in a while," one motorist said.

"I don't see where it serves a purpose. I don't see anybody walking on there or riding bikes or any of that," another motorist said.

"I'm OK with it, but I have seen some accidents there. I know it's an issue for a lot of people and if I drove down more I'm sure it would be an issue for me too," another motorist said.

Tisdale said so far the study is showing two lanes can work. She was quick to point out the study is only half over and more input is needed before any final decisions are made.

There will be two public meetings later this month. Tisdale hopes residents will come out to make their voice heard. Those meetings will be held on Aug. 8 and Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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