The Saline Board of Education learned more about a $30,000 campus traffic study Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber will conduct starting this spring.
Chris Wall, a Saline resident who works for FTCH, presented an overview of the study at the Jan. 24 board meeting. The project is funded by the bond issue approved by voters in 2015.
The goal of the study is to improve traffic flow and safety at the Saline High School/Harvest Elementary School campus. Objectives include gathering community input and traffic data, assessing traffic operations, identifying and confirming issues, developing countermeasures and their costs, and prioritizing opportunities.
FTCH will conduct outreach with staff, parents and students to develop an “issue map.”
“The map will then guide us through data collection,” Wall told the board.
Traffic counts will be taken between 7-8 a.m. and 2:15 to 4 p.m. on a typical day. There will also be studies of traffic during special events. FTCH will study traffic at intersections along Campus Parkway, including Industrial Drive, Sunset Drive, Community Drive and State Road. Data will also be collected at four to six Saline High School driveways. A key element of the project will be analyzing traffic inside the school’s parking lots and driveways.
Wall said FTCH will use data to create models and simulations. Using simulations they can make changes and see how they might impact traffic. Fixes can be as simple as signage in a parking lot or adjusting signal timing. A more significant fix might be adding a left turn signal at Industrial, for example.
“We can show why one option will work better or another option won’t work at all,” Wall said.
Options will listed and prioritized in a final report to the board.
“We want to find out which projects will get the most bang for their buck,” Wall said.
The school district will pay for any improvements on school property. Graden said the district will expect the county to help fund any road improvements that result from the study.
Trustee Michael McVey questioned if there will be any difficulty using school buses in simulations. Wall said buses are not a problem. Trustee Dennis Valenti asked if the models and simulations take into account that so many drivers are young and inexperienced. Wall said that is not a factor FTCH inputs into models.
Superintendent Scot Graden raised the issue of the gravel parking lot at the SASA soccer fields. Graden said Pittsfield Township wants the district to address the parking lot because so many people use the parking lot during football ball games.
“This issue is, one, should that be paved, but also a pedestrian crossing. We don’t currently have a sidewalk on that side of the road. So that becomes part of the conversation,” Graden told the board.
Trustee Karen Delhey said a crosswalk might be needed near Harvest Elementary, where drivers can find it difficult to see young bicyclists.
Washtenaw County recommended FTCH for the study, Graden said. Locally, FTCH oversaw the Michigan Avenue project in Saline and the roundabout at Textile and Ann Arbor Saline roads.