February 2016


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2016 US 31 Construction
West Michigan Forum for Road Safety

Local Girl Scouts Learn about Water Quality

2016 U.S. 31 Construction

US31 congestion S. of James1

Traffic congestion on US 31 at James St

The reconstruction and widening of US 31 from 8th Street-Quincy is scheduled to begin in early March and will pose challenges to those who use US 31. As the project map below indicates, there will be lane/ramp closures, traffic crossovers and brief intersection closures during the various stages of the project. Fortunately, work will be suspended from May 3 to May 15 for the Tulip Festival. However, after Tulip Time there will be no left hand turns allowed from or onto US 31 within the construction zone (between the yellow lines on the map below).

US-31 Reconstruction_Bridge Improvements Project

The MACC, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, is committed to minimizing the disruption caused by this project by keeping the public informed. Visit https://www.the-macc.org/us-31-project/ to sign up for email notifications when there are significant project events (stage change/intersection closures, etc.) as well as a link to MDOT’s website which contains very detailed information (detour maps, stage maps, etc.) about the project.

This is the single largest road project in the MACC area since the Ford Freeway (I-196) was constructed. It will relieve congestion and improve traffic flow, but will result in delays and inconvenience during construction. Your patience as we improve the US 31 corridor is appreciated.

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West Michigan Forum for Road Safety

Despite the cold wind on Saturday, February 6, 2016, nearly 100 people met at the Ottawa County Governmental Offices to talk about road safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.  The four-hour event included presentations about rules of the road, safety education, and the “invisible” cyclist or pedestrian.  Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments, talk with exhibitors demonstrating gear, and learn information to improve safety while on the road.Safety Expo Header

Decreasing Vehicle Collisions & Reducing Road Conflicts through increased awareness

Q: What’s the big hurry?

A: Slowing down for a pedestrian or bicyclist doesn’t impact the total commute time for those driving to work. Sgt. Steve Austin with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, reported on vehicle collisions in West Michigan and addressed the importance of slowing down 15 seconds in order to avoid collisions.  Cell phones, texting, eating behind the wheel are factors that distract drivers and lead to taking their eyes off of the road.

Q: What is being done to enforce the Rules of the Road?

A:  Participants discussed voluntary actions they can take to help with compliance … while riding a bike, walking, or driving. Local law enforcement is developing an incident protocol to report motorists who are endangering a bicyclist..

Tips for Improving Visibilityroad_safety

Concern for the “invisible” cyclist or pedestrian has prompted discussion on ideas to improve visibility. Simple tips include wearing bright light colored or reflective clothing, using Velcro-backed reflectors or lights that clip onto clothing or bicycles. A front and rear bicycle light are important for night-riding, however, it is important to also be visible.  A vest with reflective strips or LED lighting helps to alert motorists that you are there.

A Collaboration of Organizations

Road safety is a concern of transportation planners, bicyclists, local government, and law enforcement.  MACC staff worked to organize this event with the following partners:  Lakeshore Cycling Coalition, Pedal Holland, Allegan County Sheriff, Ottawa County Sheriff, Ottawa County Department of Planning and Performance Improvement, Zeeland Charter Township, and the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC).

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Local Girl Scouts Learn about Water Quality

ZeelandGirlScouts2Carolyn Ulstad, MACC Program Assistant, spent the morning of Saturday, February 20th with about 50 Girl Scouts, aged K-8th from the Zeeland area. The troops spent their morning at Roosevelt Elementary to earn their World Thinking Day badge. After the color flag ceremony to open the event, Miss Ulstad spoke to the girls about how local water quality can be impacted by our personal actions at home and how we treat the land. The scouts then traveled around the room to four different stations. The stations educated the girls on how they Connect with Themselves, Connect with Friends, Connect with the World Association of Girl Scouts, and how they Connect with the World, Miss Ulstad conducted demonstrations of the Watershed Enviroscape at the Connect with the World station. At the Enviroscape (a model of a landscape with roads, homes, farms, rivers, etc.) the girls took turns with a spray bottle (the rain) to see how pollution (hot coco mix and Kool-aid) enters into local streams and rivers. The Enviroscape is a fun and effective way to demonstrate how water quality is impacted. One of the girls even said that she will never look at pollution the same way, that she will “always see it as bright red Kool-aid going into the water.” Miss Ulstad said that “it is connections like this that make educating young minds so rewarding.” The Macatawa Watershed Project would like to thank the Zeeland Girl Scouts Service Unit 328 for the opportunity to be involved in World Thinking Day and look forward to working with them again in the future!

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