Chestnut Street traffic changes begin

Lanes will be reduced from four to two to lessen traffic

REED CITY — Things look a lot different on Reed City’s main thoroughfare.

Some folks passing through town on Chestnut Street may find the changes that have taken place a bit confusing.

City planners hope the confusion will be short lived, and anticipate that everyone will soon gets used to the new traffic pattern.

After careful consideration and discussions between city officials, Reed City Police Department chief Chuck Davis, representatives of the Michigan Department of Transportation, and others, it was decided a few weeks back that the best thing that could be done to most effectively accommodate traffic along Chestnut would be to reduce the number of traffic flow lanes from four to two, while adding a turn lane mid-street.

It also was decided to eliminate the traffic stop light at the intersection of Chestnut and Upton streets completely. That light had been reduced to use as a flashing light and had not been used as a full-stop directional light for some time.

This past week, the changeover was largely completed with MDOT crews removing the stop light at Upton and Chestnut — the downtown business district.

“The traffic light is gone. The operation box that once was a visual obstruction has been removed. There certainly have been some changes,” reported city manager Ron Marek.

“Some residents are pleased, but I can’t say everyone is happy,” he continued. “We are getting our share of complaints and comments — mostly over the switch to a three-lane pattern all along Chestnut.

“There are people still confused over the new design, and some drivers still are using the turning lane — the center lane — as a directional lane.

“I understand it’s a big change. Chestnut Street has been a four-lane road for a long time. It will take some time for everyone to get used to the new reality.

“We are simply asking that folks drive safely and take a little extra caution while traveling through town on Chestnut.”

Important to note is that there were also major changes carried out at the traffic light located at Chestnut and Church streets.

The direction cycle at that location has changed. There is no longer a turn arrow, and one cycle in the light change pattern has changed.

“People who know the cycle well are a little confused and there have been some false starts because folks anticipate what they think is supposed to be happening,” noted Marek.

“We’re simply asking drivers to pay attention, have patience, and be careful.”

While most of the major changes have been completed, there is still a little work to do back at the intersection of Chestnut and Upton.

In the near future, crews will be removing the old electric poles that supported the stop light and control box. The base was discovered to be too old and in questionable shape. They need to go. If a blinking light is installed at some point in the future, a entirely new system will be set in place.