By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Despite several complaints, drivers will continue to wait for the light to turn green before turning right onto Parnall Road from northbound U.S. 127 in Blackman Township.
Residents spoke in favor of eliminating the traffic regulation Wednesday because of the delays it causes. Still, the township board is not supporting any change.
Supervisor Dan Hawkins said he discussed the community’s dissatisfaction with Michigan Department of Transportation officials before the township board voted 5-1 last week to keep the “no turn on red” sign in place.
A traffic signal was approved at the intersection in October 2000, and discussions about it have been common ever since.
A motorcyclist lost his leg in an accident at the intersection three years ago, but township Trustee Chuck DeBruler said it’s also true “that sometimes 20 seconds seems like 20 minutes at 11 at night.”
Resident Liz Bowler said she thinks the restriction is a “waste of time.” She said she sees everybody turning on red anyway, including township public safety officials.
Bowler said that soon after the sign was installed, an officer gave her a “100-something-dollar ticket” before she even noticed the change. “Did they need money so bad they had to put that up?” she asked.
Township Trustee David Sercombe said the state had to have “some good reason” for implementing the no-turn rule and called it “a great safety feature.”
DeBruler said he could see both sides of the argument.
“There were no statistics available before or after the board voted, and I feel like we should still request (statistics) from MDOT or have an engineer look at it,” he said.
Hawkins said that, personally, he’s for safety over convenience.
“I think it comes down to convenience for adult drivers on one side, and safety for youth drivers on the other,” he said. “I would certainly choose the safety of the younger drivers, and I don’t need an engineer to tell me that I would rather err on the side of caution.”