Letters to the Editor Dec. 3, 2022

Thank you Wojos
The Village of Ortonville along with the community thank Wojo’s Greenhouse, 2570 Oakwood Road, Brandon Township for their donation of the beautiful plants in the street planters through the downtown area this season.
They brighten up the downtown area, and the continued support of Wojo’s Greenhouse is greatly appreciated.
Bob Hauxwell
Ortonville DPW

Why isn’t a roundabout being built? This question was repeatedly asked at the recent public meeting for the Oakwood and Hadley intersection. Representatives from the Oakland County Road Commission had no answer. One said my boss made that decision.
The design presented involved a two-stop-sign/multi-lane configuration. Several people pointed out the similar road configuration at Sashabaw and Oakhill Roads, where the OCRC recently built a roundabout.
What is the cost difference between the multi-lane configuration and a roundabout? An OCRC representative stated about the same—$900,000. But a roundabout would require a larger land footprint and would impact a small area of wetland. This would have to be replaced by other wetlands elsewhere and add $300,000 to the project.
A local businessman was present. He owns property downstream from the intersection and offered to donate land for the mitigation of the wetlands. This donation would save the taxpayers $300,000.
Road commission officials encouraged those at the meeting with questions to email the OCRC to get would get answers.
My wife and I and many others sent emails with questions to the OCRC. County Commissioner Bob Hoffman and Township Trustee Dana Depalma each sent the OCRC a message. To date, no one has received a response.
Why is the OCRC stonewalling and not responding to our emails?
Why is the OCRC ignoring a $300,000 donation of land?
Why is the safest intersection configuration, a roundabout, being disregarded?
Is the OCRC using our tax dollars in the best manner possible?
Bill Rathburg
Brandon Township

2 Responses to "Letters to the Editor Dec. 3, 2022"

  1. Scott Batson   December 6, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    People using the road make mistakes (like speeding, running stop signs and red lights, turning left in front of oncoming traffic), always have and always will. Crashes will always be with us, but they need not result in fatalities or serious injury.

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world – the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes – (much more so than comparable signals). Modern roundabouts require a change in speed and alter the geometry of one of the most dangerous parts of the system – intersections. The reduction in speed to about 20 mph and sideswipe geometry mean that, when a crash does happen at a modern roundabout, you might need a tow truck, but rarely an ambulance. Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or FHWA for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts.

  2. Scott Batson   December 6, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    First cost is the wrong way to compare projects. It would be like buying a car without knowing what it costs to own or how safe it is.

    Life-cycle benefit/cost is the best way to compare two or more choices (present value of future costs, a.k.a. net present value). A 20-year life cycle is the standard period. Costs and benefits to compare include: first cost (design/land/construction), operation and maintenance (electricity, re-striping, etc.), crash reduction (what’s your/your family’s safety worth), daily delay (what’s your time worth?), daily fuel consumption (spend much on gas?), pollution (generated), area insurance rates (it costs more where it is less safe to drive). Each of these things, and others, can be estimated for any two choices and everyone near or using the project area will pay some portion of each of these costs.

    Modern roundabouts are usually the least cost choice for the life of an intersection.


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