County, township analyze possible roundabout locations



FLINT TWP. — Several busy intersections in Flint Township have emerged as possible candidates for a new roundabout, according to recent studies.

Starting last fall, the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission (GCMPC), along with ROWE Professional Services Company, began evaluating 3,600 intersections in the county for potential roundabout suitability. Studies conducted by ROWE and the GCMPC have gathered data on crash history, traffic volumes and current intersection operations, with the goal of singling out the most feasible roundabout locations that could be eligible for grant funding

Following initial studies by ROWE and the GCMPC, five intersections in Flint Township have been considered as potential roundabouts sites, including: Court Street and Dye Road; Court Street and Linden Road; Lennon and Linden roads; Beecher and Linden roads; and Beecher and Elms roads.

Based on criteria from the ROWE and the county, the intersections have been listed in a series of tiers. For example, Court Street and Dye Road and Court Street and Linden Road are in a Tier 1 category, which is designated for intersections that have had at least two fatalities and/or serious crashes in last five years.

Meanwhile, the intersections at Court Street and Linden Road and Lennon and Linden roads are considered Tier 2 because they have had at least one deadly crash or serious injury in the past five years. The intersection at Beecher and Elms qualifies as Tier 3 because it has not had a crash or serious injury in the last five years but meets traffic flow thresholds.

Jack Wheatley, Vice President of ROWE, said that the intersections at Court and Dye and Beecher and Elms are the two most probable roundabout locations in Flint Township.

“Court and Dye is a high priority for the Genesee County Road Commission because of the traffic it gets and because there have been several serious accidents there over the years,” he said. “Beecher and Elms is also a good location, as traffic does tend to back up there because it’s a four-way stop.”

Wheatley said that Court and Linden and Linden and Lennon are less desirable as roundabout locations due to Linden’s design as a five-lane road, which would likely require a two-lane roundabout.

Although Beecher and Linden is a possible candidate because of its high traffic volume and adequate space, Wheatley said that the intersection is currently a lower priority for the road commission.

John Whiteside, Secretary for Flint Township’s Road Advisory Committee, said that the township is in favor of adding possible roundabouts at Court and Dye and Beecher and Elms. However, he said that Court and Dye might need some adjustments in terms of space.

“Currently, there just doesn’t appear to be enough room at the intersection for a roundabout,” he said. “We’re working with ROWE to see if there’s a piece of vacant land we could acquire to enlarge the intersection or if there’s some way to shift the route.”

Currently, ROWE and the GCMPC have narrowed down the list of prospective roundabouts to less than 20 and will soon be completing sketch designs of viable locations. Stakeholder meetings with local municipal leaders and public input sessions on possible roundabout locations have been planned this spring and summer.

Whiteside, who’s also Flint Township’s representative on the Genesee County Metropolitan Alliance, said that 80 percent of funding for new roundabouts would come from federal sources, while 20 percent would be contributed by local municipalities.

“If we can eliminate right angle crashes and serious injuries and reduce traffic at our intersections with a roundabout, that would be great for the township,” he said. “But it will come down to funding and other criteria.”

Visit gcmpc.org and the “GCMPC County- Wide Roundabout Implementation Study” page on Facebook to see the latest updates on the county’s roundabout study.