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Concerned About Fast Drivers on Gravel Roads? There's a Meeting for That

Voice your opinion on Thursday night; it will be recorded and sent to lawmakers in Lansing.

Residents concerned about the unposted 55 mph speed limit on gravel roads in Rochester Hills are encouraged to attend a public meeting Thursday to voice their opinions.

Those opinions will be recorded and sent on to the state Legislature, which is considering two bills that would give cities control over their own gravel road speed limits.

The meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday at .

Not 'one-size-fits-all'

Rochester Hills City Councilmember Adam Kochenderfer is leading the charge in support of letting local governments have control over setting the speed limits in their towns.

"We really want to push this as hard as we can," Kochenderfer said. "The speed limit should not be a one-size-fits-all thing. When you travel 55 miles per hour and over on these roads, you're really taking your life into your own hands."

The meeting is specifically in support of House Bill 4037, which was offered up by Rep. Eileen Kowall of White Lake. The bill would re-establish speed limits on gravel roads. 

In April, in support of a similar measure, Senate Bill 52, which was offered up by Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Orion Township.

Both bills have been referred to the House and Senate committees on Transportation.

Kochenderfer invited Kowall and Marleau, as well as Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, to attend the Thursday meeting. 

He said he encourages anyone who is concerned about excessive speeding on Dutton Road, Washington Road or any of the city's gravel roads to attend the meeting. 

Background

In 2006, a state law increased the speed limit on both roads from 25 mph and 35 mph to 55 mph. After that, in Rochester Hills, the speed limit signs were removed. 

The County Road Association of Michigan has taken a stance in opposition of both the Senate and House bills. In a report in The Oakland Press, a spokesman for the Road Commission for Oakland County has said the commission hasn't seen an increase in accidents since the lower speed limits were lifted in 2006. 

The Road Commission has published an informational brochure on gravel roads here

Opponents of the bills have said it would be costly to add speed limit signs to the gravel roads.

Kochenderfer said he supports adding a clause into the legislation that would require municipalities to pay for speed limit signs. 

Linda Raschke lives on Dutton Road and has expressed her concern with the current gravel road speed limit law.

"As these school buses pass and you see childrens' faces, we as a community have a responsibility to provide a safe road and a safe speed at which people travel," she told councilmembers earlier this year.

Raschke has posted her own handmade signs near her home encouraging people to slow down. "When people come to my house I have to personally go out and slow people down so they can back out," she said. 

Sa June 20, 2012 at 01:18 PM
This is ridiculous!! I drive the dirt roads and no one is going fast. 35 mph is max.
Barry Lawler June 20, 2012 at 01:44 PM
If homeowners along the gravel roads don't like the traffic on gravel roads, pave the roads and assess the home owners along those roads for the costs. For fairness, give those home owners the ability to opt out provided they accept a ban on their driving on the roads paid for by other tax payers. If the majority of homeowners on a road opt out, leave the raod unpaved.
Barry Lawler June 20, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Agree with Ratchke that we need to provide a safe road. PAVE DUTTON. It is a mile road.
Linda Raschke June 20, 2012 at 02:21 PM
First of all, it's NOT about Paving, it is about SAFETY! (My name is spelled Raschke) It is with all due respect regarding The State Police and their "control" over Gravel Roads....but they are wrong.... They don't see what we all see on a daily basis.....WE are a Residential Gravel Road" period!! Last night a Landscaping truck hauling a trailer full of equipment, nearly caused another vehicle to lose control by passing him at 60+ mph, that is uncalled for.... 45mph is too high on the paved portion to approach this rough Gravel Road, then proceed going even faster with descending this HILL that is 1,000ft above sea level, limited visibility, unpredictable road conditions...etc... This is a School Bus Route, we have a Major Pedestrian Crossing called The Paint Creek Trail..... Stepping out to reach around to get your mail out of the mailbox while vehicles are racing by is NO way to live.... Standing in the middle of the road to STOP traffic so family & friends can leave your driveway SAFELY is NO way to live! ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL..... The State Police have NEVER been out here to evaluate our situation..... SHAME ON THOSE THAT SIGN INTO LAW SUCH IRRESPONSIBLE LEGISLATION - and those that recommended it in the first place...... WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING ALL THE FACTS FIRST! Under "Local Control" is were Gravel Roads in Oakland County need to be! WE are NOT East Jordon - what part of this don't they understand???
Reinhold Tischler June 20, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Well living on that road gives you a better perspective not based on theories. I fully understand her safety concerns. Most of the people don't go over the 35 mph but unfortunately some do. Almost crashed coming out of the driveway by idiots speeding up the hill to the point that I had to install another entrance that was safer. Driveway mirrors worked till they were stolen. Paving would add to the problem cause it will be a raceway. Personally I am just waiting for the accident, that I keep trying to avoid, and I try to be careful coming out and in to my two driveways. And should I survive a future accident you can bet that I will sue everyone involved and let the courts parcel out the responsibilities. While coming out of the driveway is dangerous at times going in should not be when you slow down, put your blinkers on etc. But even then you get the occasional idiot who can't wait for you to turn in and tries to pass you which has resulted in two near head on crashes with the idiots speeding up the hill. We will see what happens with the speed limits but limits are not the problem. Idiot drivers are!!
Reinhold Tischler June 20, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Only the ones you see not the ones that speed by all the time for those of us living on the road.
Reinhold Tischler June 20, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I will opt out cause it is bad enough as is. Paving will make it a raceway.
Reinhold Tischler June 20, 2012 at 03:09 PM
If you live on the road you might have a different reasoning.
K Shelton June 20, 2012 at 05:17 PM
In a perfect world, on a perfectly flat graded gravel road maybe 35 mph is ok. BUT Not Hilly, Narrow and Residential Dutton Road with Paint Creek Trail crossing. Believe me I see cars, trucks and even school busses traveling 45 mph on the paved road and hit the gravel hill and bounce side to side before getting under control and then try to slow down because the Paint Creek Trail is at the bottom of the hill. On the same hill in front of my house, a car traveling on the paved road hit the gravel hill and went airborne, flipped and the passenger flew out of the car. By the time they realized the road was like a washboard it was too late. My point is when pavement turns to gravel 55, 45 and 35mph is too fast because you do not know the condition of the road on any given day and you do not know what is on other side of the hill. Please drive safe and respect others. 55 mph is not the answer on Dutton Rd.
Reinhold Tischler June 20, 2012 at 06:53 PM
You made some really cogent and great points.
Brant McCallister June 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM
"I think that the people who are caught up in the homosexual lifestyle need help," McMillin told the Detroit News on Sept. 18, 2003. "We encourage people to stop smoking. This resolution is the same sort of thing." In 2004, McMillin ran against incumbent Pat Dohaney hoping to be the next Oakland Country Treasurer. He lost. Part of his campaigning included phone calls to voters claiming that L. Brooks Patterson supported the Triangle Foundation's "radical homosexual agenda" because Patterson supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in state hate crime laws. "We don't kill young gay guys just because they're gay," Patterson told the Oakland Press. "Maybe McMillin's brand of Christianity accepts that. Mine does not."
Reinhold Tischler June 21, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I think you posted to the wrong article!! This one is about speed limits not anything else.
Marty Rosalik June 21, 2012 at 01:34 AM
I don't know about the other "stuff" above regarding Mr. McMillin, but it is an election year and a RETURN of local control would look better on his resume than many of his other "contributions".
Linda June 21, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I do not live on a gravel road, but agree that 55 is much too fast for many of them in this area. These are residential areas, with children playing nearby, people pulling in and out of driveways and side streets. A speed limit that fast only encourages accidents. When you consider what it's like driving 55 on M-24 and driving 55 on Dutton Road, there is an enormous difference. Gravel is an unstable surface that in and of itself can contribute to accidents at unsafe speeds, especially in varying weather conditions. I fully support a return to safer and more reasonable speed limits on our gravel roads.
Linda Raschke June 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Dutton Road, from Lapeer Rd to Orion Rd is exactly 4.8 miles long. So with that, here are the Speed limit postings on Dutton Rd traveling West to East. 50 MPH from Lapeer Rd to Squirrel (Paved) Squirrel Rd to Adams Rd 45 MPH ( with a flashing light in front of Musson Elementary 30 MPH when school is in session) then back to 45 MPH (Paved) Adams Rd to Brewster Rd ... un-posted indicating 55 MPH (Gravel) Brewster Rd to Rainbow 45 MPH (Paved) Rainbow to Arthur's Way... un-posted indicating 55 MPH (Gravel) crossing over Paint Creek Trail. Arthur's Way to Orion 40 MPH (Paved) The inconsistency in the number of posted Speed Limits in this short of distance is puzzling??? Especially with the sections of Gravel Road being un-posted 55 MPH, these sections present their own safety challenges, hidden residential driveways, commercial vehicle weights tear up the road, deep drainage ditches, narrowness of the road and major hills add to unsafe conditions, yet un-posted it's 55 MPH.....when it should be posted at the safest speed possible. By the way, back in 1996 (8 tenths) of the gravel portion of Dutton Road is registered with the State of Michigan as a Natural Beauty Road, long before it was opened to Lapeer Road, it was once posted at 25 MPH. Criteria for Natural Beauty Roads are posted for a speed not more than 35MPH, gravel & dirt roads 25MPH. As one person said, driving slow enough you can see a little glimpse of the past that is rapidly disappearing.
Kim July 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I live in Vintage and walk my dog along the Dutton walkway every day. My husband also runs up/down the Dutton Hill to Paint Creek Trail as well as many bikers/runners. I am so upset with this speed change. I see people going at least 60 to 70 and I yell at them to slow down. It is crazy out here. When they hit the gravel some might slow down, others just continue on at their high rate of speed. I am so worried that someone is going to get hit. It is also a very popular section for deer to cross. There have been deer hit and left there to die and smell for two to three weeks. Can you imagine the smell in this heat? Please be considerate and slow down. It is a Natural Beauty Road and should be respected as such. If you go slow, you can see all the beautiful wild flowers blooming at different times, and animals grazing in the area. Isn't that one of the reasons we chose to live in this area?
Harvey McFadden July 16, 2012 at 01:06 AM
When looking at the cause of loss of control accidents it is advisable to look at the predictability of the vehicle in question. Everyone is aware that pickup trucks with a weight ratio front to rear of 60/40 need the best tires on the rear to prevent the back end from sliding out in poor conditions. What is not evident too casual observer are cars that have weight ratios more unbalanced than pickup’s. With a weight ratio of 65/35 a small car can weigh as much as a limo on the front and have only half as much weight on the rear. At this point the condition and the tread depth of the rear tires becomes critical . http://lossofcontrolaccidents.blogspot.com/

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