By Travis Smola
“I can assure you that 35 miles per hour is not the speed limit that is abided by.”
Those were the words of Sloan Samulski as she addressed the Schoolcraft village Council at its May meeting. Samulski asked for time to address the Council because she and her husband have recently purchased a property on Grand Street.
One of her primary concerns is the line of grass on the opposite side of the sidewalk and its proximity to fast-moving traffic along the 131 corridor. She said it creates a real safety concern when they have to mow that strip of grass and get close to the road with fast-moving vehicles. The trucks in particular are what concerns Samulski.
“I don’t even know if it would be a big issue if it were regular car traffic,” she said. Samulski says they knew what they were in for with the traffic when they bought the house, but she’s also noticed excessive rattling and dust coming from her basement walls when heavier vehicles drive past the house.
She asked the council if there was anything it can do to slow down the traffic such as new signs.
Village president Keith Gunnett said he wants the same thing as Samulski , adding he’s also observed traffic travelling at very high rates of speed. But he also noted the Council can’t do a whole lot on its own.
“There’s not a whole lot that we can change because MDOT owns the highway,” Gunnett said. But he also noted this is an issue council members have been planning to discuss with MDOT. “We will be talking with MDOT people here in the next few months to try and sway them to some of our ideas and certainly speed is one,” Gunnett said. But he also noted that with 131 being a major highway, “you’re not going to stop the traffic.”
Trustee Michael Rochholz said he has heard similar complaints from his parents, especially when it comes to noisy truck Jake brakes and trucks hitting manhole covers. “My parents complain more about the trucks as they’re slowing down,” Rochholz said. He also acknowledged it isn’t an easy thing for the Council to address. “It’s challenging,” he said.
Sloan asked if it would be possible to replace the grass with gravel so they no longer have to mow so close to the road. Village manager Cheri Lutz said they might be open to that option. Gunnett encouraged Samulski to contact Lutz again on that issue. He also said anyone with traffic concerns is welcome to sit in on some village planning sessions.
He said as the village works through its master plans and re-creation of the downtown area, some of these issues might come up for discussion there too. “We’re certainly looking at all the possibilities,” Gunnett said.