The Lakewood Planning Commission's meeting on October 19 wasn’t a win, but it wasn’t a slaughter either. The Commission deferred its vote until the next meeting in November which give residents time to beef up their arsenal. They know that if they walk away now, if they go willingly, loss of any concessions is a certainty.
Most residents are under no illusion that the Detroit Theatre will be saved. They know that corporate giant McDonald’s is setting up shop on the corner of Woodward and Detroit. But their concerns and suggestions go unheard despite the ostensibly interested and concerned faces of the Summers administration. The residents are frustrated at their lack of input and insulted by the information fed to them, most recently the GPD Traffic Impact Study performed by GPD Group and financed by McDonald’s Corporation.
Robert P. Kelly, PE, an engineer not affiliated with the City or McDonald’s, reviewed the GPD study and came to the following conclusions as to why the study is not an accurate or complete assessment of future conditions:
1. The study assumes that 70% of the traffic from McDonald's is destined to the drive-through. No engineering data or analysis was provided to justify this. A similar size development should have been counted and data provided in the report.
2. The driveway volumes exiting and entering the site shown in the figures for the build condition are lower than the calculated volumes from the trip generation.
3. The Detroit Avenue corridor has a high incidence of pedestrian activity as evidenced by the traffic counts in the appendices. The capacity analyses for the unsignalized intersections did not account for this volume.
4. The study shows a marginally acceptable level of service for the northbound direction at Detroit. However, this was accomplished by averaging the right and left turn movements. The left turn movement has a much higher average delay than the right turn movement due to the need for a larger gap in the traffic stream. For the opening year of 2012 it is rated at a failing level of "E". [Rated C according to the study.] In the 20 year analysis, the LOS falls to an F. Since a traffic signal is not warranted, there will be no relief for those motorists on Woodland Avenue. To improve the motorist and pedestrian safety and reduced congestion a traffic signal should be installed.
The residents have an expert report, evidence based on other projects, incidental evidence based on peoples’ experiences in similar situations and common sense stating that the McDonald’s project is fraught with huge problems as it stands. Yet the Planning Commission, if they had their way, would proceed full speed. Why no change in the plans when other logical and safer options are available? Maybe somewhere lies a certain incentive.
If changes are not made to the current plan, the legacy of Mayor Summers’ administration will be a dirty behemoth McDonald’s built in an inappropriate location which will be the cause of disgruntled residents, pedestrians and motorists, disturbances, accidents and possibly loss of life. Not just now but for 20+ years into the future, without recourse. Also for the books will be the Planning Commission’s reliance on, in part, a slanted traffic study. Is this how the Summers administration wants to be remembered? I wouldn’t want my name on this hot mess.