Reed City officials concerned about U.S. 10, Chestnut intersection

REED CITY — Reed City Council Member Dan Burchett knows the intersection of U.S. 10 and North Chestnut Street is dangerous.

City Manager Ron Howell and Police Chief Chuck Davis know as well.

However, city officials have a limited ability to address safety concerns, as those are the responsibility of the Michigan Department of Transportation.

During their regular monthly council meeting on March 20, members agreed to seek public feedback on their experiences at the intersection.

Burchett, Howell and Davis brought up the intersection as they are hearing of more and more instances of vehicles not adhering to the four-way stop at the intersection.

"We have a four-way stop there and you may think that's fine," the city manager said. "(The road) seems to be really clearly marked with signs and everything else."

However, Howell said, some drivers do not stop.

"The idea here is to ask MDOT to take another look at this intersection," he said.

Howell said that's where residents will need to share.

"As City Council members, you can ask, and see if there are citizens who are willing to come forward, sign letters, write testimonials or sign a petition just to bring this to the attention of MDOT, asking them if they could please come up and take another look," he said. "From our perspective, we can only ask, 'Is there something else we can do?'"

Burchett presented five testimonials from residents and said he receives calls or texts every day about the interesection.

Davis said officers patrol the intersection often and do write tickets for those drivers.

"It's not every single day," he pointed out. "On some days, we can write three tickets in 10 minutes. They drive right by the patrol car. It's amazing — we're sitting right there."

Checking with Mecola Central Dispatch, Davis said information from dispatch indicates there hasn't been an accident at the intersection since 2000.

"We've also inquired with the state to see what information they have," he said.

Howell said he understands MDOT is busy with many miles of road and intersections and must follow a set criteria that determines what, if any, action can be taken.

"They have statistics they look at and that's OK," he said. "Those are numbers. I believe the council has a responsibility to check with people, from testimonials and personal experiences.

"Then we can tell (MDOT), 'We're concerned locally. We understand you have your statistics, but we're just asking you to take another look.'"

Council member Roger Meinert asked the police chief what he believes is the best resolution for the dangerous intersection.

"If you're traveling from west to east on a sunny day, you can't see the intersection," he said. "I know of about three accidents since November. They weren't major or real serious, but they've been going on for years.

"(MDOT) did the same thing with M-66 and U.S. 10. It took an awful lot of fatalities for them to do finally do something."

The police chief said the state looks at issues like dangerous intersections often, and may be encouraged to resolve any dangers if residents helped express their concerns. He added the intersection would be safer if eliminated.

"At that point, east and west would never be an issue," he said.

Davis said the real issue is making sure drivers pay attention.

"On top of other factors, their minds are on other things," he said. "I'm not blaming cellphones, but it's a portion, or they're thinking about a business meeting or they're late for work. They're just not thinking.

"To get the intersection much more safe, it's going to have to be eliminated. That's the safest way to go. What more can they put in? It's well marked. How do you get people to wake up and see?"

The police chief added he has spoken with drivers who admitted they didn't see the stop signs at the intersection.

Residents who have seen or experienced incidents of vehicles blowing through stop signs or other dangerous activity at the intersection are encouraged to contact a City Council member or write a testimonial and send it to the city's offices, located at 227 E. Lincoln Ave., Reed City, MI, 49677.