Great Lakes Crossings Has Major Traffic Improvements This Year

I know that traffic on the lots at Great Lakes Crossings and on the surface streets has been a problem in years past.  It is fun to have some holiday hustle and bustle but it got to be too much at certain points.

Taubman Company, owners of Great Lakes Crossings Outlets also recognized the problem and earlier this year took the lead on improving the situation.  They hired a traffic engineering firm to conduct a study.  When they got their results, we and the Road Commission for Oakland County met with them and their engineers to review the results and determine an action plan.

The report suggested several things to be done to avoid that problematic gridlock that happens.  We have been working together on these multiple fixes since spring:

  1. Traffic on Baldwin Road near the McDonald’s no longer can make U-turns from southbound to northbound since it conflicts with traffic going in and out of the mall’s main entrance.  Traffic control orders were changed and roadway striping was changed. Don’t make a U-turn here – you’ll get a ticket. Baldwin
  2. The mall added “channelization” lanes at two locations which are the pinch points – the McDonald’s driveway and Steak and Shake driveway allowing for a free flow of traffic instead of having each vehicle make a stop at the stop sign.  Channelization
    mall-channelizaiton-inbound

    The free flow right turn inbound by Steak and Shake

    will be added at the intersection with the roadway on Great Lakes Crossings Drive but not until next year.

  3. New traffic signal on Great Lakes Crossings Drive also near Steak and Shake.  It is up and will be running by Black Friday.  new-glc-signal
  4. The bus stops have been moved to the outer ring road with a pull off lane for the busses.  In the past they obstructed traffic movement on the inner ring due to their stop and go.  There are nice, new shelters with heat for patrons.

So if you are considering Great Lakes Crossings but are concerned about traffic conditions, worry no longer.  Traffic will be moving efficiently this year.  We will be on hand to keep track of things and direct as needed to make sure it is going smoothly.  We also have extra patrols both in the mall and around the entire shopping area in our city just to help you feel safer.  The officers appreciate the holiday mood of the shoppers so stop and say hi if you see them.

Just today I attended a lunch meeting and heard the marketing manager from GLC talking about the cool new stores at Great Lakes – outlet stores that aren’t found anywhere else in Michigan like Kate Spade and Shinola.  Not to mention the restaurants and entertainment.  The mall won’t be open overnight this year, here is a link to their hours over the weekend:  GLC hours.

Have a great Thanksgiving and when you’ve eaten all the turkey and dressing you want, come on over and get a jump start on your shopping.  I’ll be over there on Friday – I’ll look for you.

 

Ask a Trooper: If stop light stays on, can I go?

I came across this article on MLIVE and thought you might be interested. These are questions we frequently hear as well. The laws are basically the same in Grand Rapids as in Auburn Hills.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Ever sat at a red light and felt certain that vehicle sensors don’t know you’re there? We might feel justified running through the intersection, especially if there’s no other traffic around. But is it legaly? State police Lt. …
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2016/06/ask_a_trooper_if_red_light_sta.html

A Driver Thanks Us For a Traffic Ticket

HaglundI have said it many, many times:  traffic tickets are about changing driver behavior from unsafe to safe.   Traffic tickets are not supposed to be about revenue enhancement (although I know that they are seen that way by some drivers and by some courts and municipalities).  Tickets are a way to get people to drive better making our roads safer for everyone.

We got a letter this week from a driver who gets it.  He told me that this expensive lesson cost him $150.

Here is what he said:

Dear Officer Haglund:

I thought I should drop you a note and probably be the first person ever to thank you for a speeding ticket.

You gave me a ticket on January 16th on Updike [sic] near Walton after watching me driving like an idiot.  I was in my new Audi S7 and acting like I was 16 again with just about as much thought.

Why the “Thank you”?

My wife told me I was driving that car too aggressively, my son did too and I knew it but for some reason didn’t stop.  Although you probably witnessed the worst of it, I wasn’t driving like I normally do.

For some reason, I needed that ticket and the encounter to get the message through: amazing that it would take this for a 72 year old, driving about 35,000 miles a year and receiving 2 tickets in 43 years.  Anyway, it did and I needed it.

Finally, you were a complete class act.  I appreciate the lecture but I appreciate even more what I perceived as a genuine concern for my safety and welfare.  Your parting words were something like, “it’s a nice car but you can’t enjoy it if you are dead.”

You delivered the message well and as I told you at the scene, I’m reverting back to my old habits.  I have and I will.

That day, you accomplished something good for society and something good for me.

So, thank you and take care of yourself.  You’re a good man and credit to your profession.

I would agree. Office Haglund is a class act.  Nice to know that someone else sees it too. These days it seems that no one finds the good in what cops do to create orderly societies.  The vast majority of officers in millions of police contacts yearly do things right.  And make the world safer.

Haglund at the mall

Ironman wanted a photo with Officer Hagland at the mall.

Back to School Traffic Safety–Sgt. Jeremy Stubbs

Guest Blogger – Sergeant Jeremy Stubbs, Directed Patrol Unit

Back to School Safety

Students return to the classrooms on September 8th.  Providing michigan-sidebarstudents a safe route to school is one of the department’s top priorities.  Please be aware of the increased presence of student walkers and bicyclists as well as increased traffic around school campuses and neighborhoods.

Traffic enforcement is a year-round priority and the school zones will be patrolled heavily during the first week of September.  Officers will be doing traffic enforcement near schools during the morning and afternoon hours.  Officers will be enforcing all traffic laws to help ensure a safe environment for students and motorists in school zones.

Below are a few safety tips related to traffic around schools:

  • Follow all speed and parking laws
  • Establish a meeting time and location to pick up your child/children
  • Be patient; allow plenty of time to deal with heavy traffic flow for the beginning and end of school
  • Expect the unexpected; students make mistakes when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • Stop and look both ways before pulling out of parking lots and side streets

school busThe department’s Directed Patrol Unit will be conducting school bus enforcement activities on random dates during the school year.  That means we’ll have an officer on a school bus somewhere in town who will be acting as a spotter.  The officer will advise other following officers when they see a driver pass a bus illegally at pick-up and drop-off locations.  The officers following the school buses will be stopping the violators.  The goal is to make a safer environment for kids.  Please leave plenty of time to get where you are going so you won’t be tempted to pass a school bus illegally.

When to Have That Difficult Conversation with a Senior Driver

Recently we have had a few situations involving older drivers that gave us cause for concern.  In one case, the driver had msenior driversore than one crash in a short period of time.  The driver told the officer that they didn’t know how their car was damaged although it was pretty significant.  In another the driver drove up a walk path to the front door of one of our buildings.  Literally.  The most common scenario is mistaking the brake and accelerator.

If we believe there are warning signs about any person Michigan law provides for us to contact the Secretary of State’s Office and request that the person be retested for ability to drive.  It isn’t just about age — it is about health both physical and mental.

As we age there are some factors that need to be considered to determine whether it is time to find alternative transportation.  I realize this problem is made much worse by the limited transportation options of seniors in our community.  As a member of the leadership team for our community in their Aging for a Lifetime efforts, we learned that transportation is probably the biggest single challenge.

Our Senior Services department does offer bus transportation to some destinations.  Call 248-364-9353 for more information.

Here are some signs that it may be time to have that difficult conversation:

  • Does the senior driver confuse the gas and brake pedals or have difficulty working them? Drivers who lift their legs to move from the accelerator to the brake, rather than keeping a heel on the floor and pressing with the toes, may be signaling waning leg strength.
  • Does the senior driver seem to ignore or miss stop signs and other traffic signals? Perhaps the driver is inattentive or cannot spot the signs in a crowded, constantly moving visual field.
  • Does the senior driver weave between or straddle lanes? Signaling incorrectly or not at all when changing lanes can be particularly dangerous, especially if the driver fails to check mirrors or blind spots.
  • Do other senior drivers honk or pass frequently, even when the traffic stream is moving relatively slowly? This may indicate difficulty keeping pace with fast-changing conditions.
  • Does the senior driver get lost or disoriented easily, even in familiar places? This could indicate problems with working memory or early cognitive decline.
  • The senior driver has been issued two or more traffic tickets or warnings in the past two years. Tickets can predict greatest risk for collision.
  • The senior driver has been involved in two or more collisions or “near-misses” in the past two years. Rear-end crashes, parking lot fender-benders and side collisions while turning across traffic rank as the most common mishaps for drivers with diminishing skills, depth perception or reaction time.

If you ride with a driver who exhibits one or more of the warning signs, consider discussing the benefits of getting a comprehensive driving assessment to help identify and address any risky driving behaviors and maximize safe driving.

Most people know when their driving skills and abilities aren’t as sharp as they used to be. Two of the most common coping mechanisms used by unsafe senior drivers include:

  • Using a “copilot” to help respond to situations in the driving environment. Anyone who cannot drive safely and comfortably without a copilot should not drive at all.
  • Driving too slow or too fast for conditions. Driving too slow can be a sign that the driver is compensating for slowed reflexes or reduced reaction time. Those who drive too fast may not realize how fast they are traveling or be overcompensating due to a fear of being noticed for driving too slowly.

For more information go to AAA’s senior driving resource pages. or to evaluate your own driving go to AAA’s Interactive Driving Evaluation.

It is just plain scary

What is with all the bad driving lately?  Just this morning on my way to work as I waited at an intersection to cross, I saw cars slamming on their brakes to avoid hitting the car ahead of them due to backed up traffic.  It seemed to me that if the driver had been attentive to driving they would have seen the brake lights way before they needed to slow.  I suspect that they were distracted by their phones.

charge-carIt seems to me that it is getting worse.  I’m seeing drivers making turns from wrong lanes or zooming across multiple lanes on the freeway to avoid missing an exit more frequently than I ever have before.

I believe one of the major causes is distracted driving especially phone use.  Michigan law prohibits texting or reading your phone while moving down the road but it still permits using a handset (with one hand on the wheel) to talk unless you are driving a commercial motor vehicle or school bus.  Michigan law on texting or reading your mobile phone.  This is not just a problem of young people – I see people of all ages doing it.

Many people think they can multitask and drive while using a phone handset.  Here is the news:  driving IS multitasking. Use both hands on the wheel, check your mirrors regularly and use your signals for turns and lane changes.  Maintain a constant speed – don’t slow way down and then speed up. Think ahead and plan your route to avoid sudden turns from wrong lanes.  If you do miss your turn, continue and turn on the next street or exit. Drive defensively and look out for the other guy.

If you must talk on the phone while in the car, use a headset or many people can sync their phones to their in car systems to talk hands free.  Or you can buy a speaker that gives you hands free communication.  That is a better option so that both your hands can be on the wheel and your eyes ahead.

Better practice now, I have it from a good source that there will soon be increased enforcement statewide because it has become such a significant crash causer.

I think that Michigan, like many other states, should amend the law to prohibit talking on a handset while driving.  It would be safer for us all.  Throw your tomatoes at me if you will. If you think you can have one hand on the wheel while holding your phone up to your ear with the other and drive safely — you are fooling yourself.  I’m only looking out for your welfare–and everyone else’s.

And yes, I know that officers are sometimes guilty of this one–I’m working on that too — at least in Auburn Hills.

Helping High School Students Have a Fun, Safe Prom Season

Guest Blog by Directed Patrol Officer Chris Mahon

The Auburn Hills Police Department’s, Directed Patrol Unit and School Resource Officer Bryan Chubb worked in conjunction with the Avondale High School on 05/05/2015 to promote safe driving during prom season and throughout the rest of the year. The focus was to educate students about the dangers of drinking and driving as well as distracted driving. Officers teamed up with AAA Insurance Company who provided a driving simulator for use during this safe driving campaign.

Students had a chance to try the simulator safety program during their lunch hour. We discussed safe driving with the students to promote a safe prom season and we distributed several handouts for the students including the texting and driving law, tips for prom night safety, distracted driving, drowsy driving and 10 tips for teen safety on the road during prom season.

We had each student participate in driving the simulator if they wanted to. There were two programs that were used: Impaired Driving and Distracted Driving. In the impaired driving course, students put on a pair of goggles that simulated a blood alcohol content of .06%-.20%.  State law puts the drunk driving threshold at .08% which means that everyone is impaired when their blood alcohol content is above that so if you drive with a .08% blood alcohol content you are in violation.  Students were then asked to drive the course. The distracted driving course focused on texting while driving. Students were given an opportunity to complete both courses. Many students were amazed at how quick an accident can occur when you are distracted or impaired.

70 students took part in the safety program throughout the day. We received positive feedback from the students who were having fun but also learned a serious lesson about driving.

We have partnered with local hotels providing prom information for all the area schools. We ask the hotels to be alert to the possibility of unsupervised parties and contact us if they suspect a room is a party location.  It is our experience that this type of party has high potential for situations of deaths from alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults, property damage, and other incidents that can turn what could be a fun time of life into an ongoing nightmare.

We all want students to have a memorable prom but in a safe manner.

Driving without insurance? Police in Michigan can now tell just by running your plate | MLive.com

Like the state police in this article, we have seen more and more imagesinstances of drivers without insurance.  And prior to this law we couldn’t check.  We long suspected that some people were getting a binder or  proof of insurance and then cancelling.  It is a problem for everyone to have uninsured motorists on the road.  So we see this as a good change -many other states already have this in place.

Driving without insurance? Police in Michigan can now tell just by running your plate | MLive.com.