GRAND BLANC — The long-awaited “road diet” finally commenced Sunday on Perry Road in the City of Grand Blanc and Grand Blanc Township.
The re-striping project, taking place between Saginaw Street and Genesee Road, involves reducing the number of lanes from four to three, and creating a left-turn only lane as well as a bike path that will be part of the statewide Iron Belle Trail.
An $18,900 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, plus $8,100 that the city pitched in, paid for the feasibility study, engineering, pavement marking and route signage, said City Manager Wendy Jean-Buhrer.
“First, we tried to put the trail off the road, but there really was no place to do that safely,” Jean-Buhrer said.
To install the non-motorized trail off the roadway would have required boardwalks near the library and the Commons. That option proved to be cost-prohibitive, she said.
A feasibility study showed that the road-diet would work.
“This option opened the door for more than just adding a bike lane,” Jean-Buhrer said. “We realized it would calm the traffic and, in working with the (Genesee County Road Commission), we found that they had had this on their radar.”
The county was already thinking of installing a left-turn lane at Perry and Genesee Roads, she said.
“It’s a treacherous intersection,” Jean-Buhrer said. “Having a left-turn lane is a better option and it’s a lot safer. It really came together when it was on their radar and sort of on our radar.”
Technically, bike lane signage cannot be installed along the stretch in Grand Blanc Township, which is under the jurisdiction of the county. But the city can and will place signage along its stretch.
The road diet is part of a larger project that also includes adding bicycle repair stations, rest stops and other amenities along the trail in order to improve the biking and hiking experience.
“We’re excited to see this happening and we know it will be a safer option,” Jean-Buhrer said.