People are always speeding on my road. How can I get the speed limit lowered and some signs put up to slow them down?
The Eaton County Road Commission (ECRC) is the agency that installs and maintains all traffic signs on Eaton County roads. State law requires that ECRC follow the requirements of the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) or risk losing state funding for road maintenance. In order to install regulatory-type signs, such as no parking or speed limit signs, ECRC must initiate a traffic study of the road in conjunction with the Michigan State Police (MSP). The study includes a review of traffic counts, accident history, speed studies, the character of the area along the road and any other information available regarding problems in the area. While the Road Commission is a participant in the traffic study and analysis, the guidelines of the MMUTCD and judgment of the MSP largely determine what speed limit will be adopted. At the conclusion of the study, the MSP issues a written Traffic Control Order (TCO) directing the Road Commission to install specific signs at specific locations on the road, and to record the completed TCO with the County Clerk.
Can I fill in the ditch and plant trees in front of my property?
If there is a ditch along the road in front of your property you should not fill it in even if it doesn’t drain water along the road. The purpose of most roadside ditches is to prevent water from pooling on the roadway during or after a storm, to provide an area for snow storage from snowplowing operations, and to lower the water table beneath the roadbed. Filling in even a fairly shallow roadside ditch can cause serious damage to the road and pavement from frost heave and, of course, shrubs and trees planted in that area are exposed to damage from traffic, snowplowing, and sweeping operations. Please do not plant any trees or shrubs that may become a vision obstruction or that may grow into a large fixed object that presents danger to motorists anywhere inside the road right of way. Trees and ornamental plantings should be set back at least 33 feet from the center of the road, which in most cases will place them outside of the road right of way and protect them from traffic damage.
How can I get a Children Playing sign up to protect my children?
The Road Commission no longer places or maintains Children Playing signs, although there are still several of these signs scattered throughout our road system. Prior to the revision of the Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) in 1983, these signs were acceptable for use on county roads. Studies done nationally leading up to that revision demonstrated conclusively that, while these signs may make parents and children feel safer, they have absolutely no effect on driver behavior, and do not slow traffic speeds as might be expected. To the extent that the signs might make parents or children think they are safer when the danger is still present, these signs can actually reduce safety. The best policy is still to be sure to keep children as far away from the road as possible, and don’t allow even older children to play in or near the road. Although we do not encourage their use, the Road Commission will issue a permit to a resident to install their own children playing sign near their home. There is no charge for the permit but the resident must agree to accept responsibility to place and maintain the sign in a safe manner.