By Jessica Mathews /

Some pedestrian crossings could possibly be installed in downtown Howell as part of a larger repaving project that will be starting up soon.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will be repaving Grand River in the downtown area in June, with work to be done in zones starting at Highlander Way and then moving east. The project also involves some improvements to ADA ramps at intersections, the landings and sidewalks in-between. With that work already scheduled, City staff has been working with MDOT’s Brighton Transportation Service Center about possibly adding some pedestrian crossing points along the route downtown. The Brighton TSC was said to be open to the idea of allowing mid-block crossings, including pedestrian refuge islands. After much review, City staff is proposing three different locations.

At a recent virtual meeting, City Council reviewed the different locations and conceptual details for the proposed islands/crossings - which members felt would be a great addition to the downtown. The locations are on West Grand River, between Chestnut and Center in front of the Howell Carnegie District Library; on East Grand River between State Street and Court; and on East Grand River in front of City Hall. The crossing between State Street and Court Street would be closer to Court because at least 300 feet needs to be maintained from the traffic signal at Michigan Avenue.

Interim Director of Public Services Matt Davis told Council that there will be some parking trade-off for the proposed crossing locations in front of the Library and Court Street. Davis said because of the on-street parking, curb bump-outs would need to be installed in the parking area to help safeguard pedestrians and get them to a point where they can see past any parked cars and see oncoming traffic. He noted the City would end up losing eight total parking spaces from those locations as part of the two proposed islands. Davis told Council the islands can be constructed and finished in different ways with different possible layouts and possible plantings.

Council ultimately approved a motion for the proposed mid-block crossing locations and authorized staff to continue to work with MDOT to gain approval for installation. If things proceed favorably, then final design plans would be brought back for approval, prior to installation.