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Residents debate Mount Hope Road redesign

Intersection of Mount Hope and Hagadorn Roads in Meridian Township.
Arjun Thakkar
Intersection of Mount Hope and Hagadorn Roads in Meridian Township.

Residents in Ingham County are divided on a plan to redesign a section of Mount Hope Road.

The county’s road department is proposing a road diet on a 1.5 mile stretch of Mount Hope in Meridian Township. The project would remove two vehicle lanes to turn the thoroughfare into a three-lane street with a center turning lane and painted bike lanes.

County officials report the proposal will target a section of the roadway that has seen 72 vehicle crashes over the last five years. The Federal Highway Administration notes the road diet approach can reduce speeding and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Around 70 residents attended a virtual public hearing Wednesday to hear more information about the project.

Nic Babarskis said the plan should proceed, pointing to a similar road diet project on Lake Lansing Road. He argues the redesign there has made transportation safer.

"With aggressive drivers changing lanes frequently to move around slower vehicles, that behavior has basically stopped as a result of the road diet," Babarskis said. "The assurance of a dedicated turn lane leads to less aggressive driving on my part when I'm making a left hand turn and also reduces any anxiety about getting rear-ended."

Other residents said the plan could worsen vehicle traffic. Some questioned the inclusion of bike lanes and argued few cyclists take advantage of them.

Sharon Frischman, who lives near the proposed redesign, said she’s worried that construction for the project and reduced vehicle capacity will cause congestion.

“My fear is that because the traffic is going to slow so much on Mount Hope that there'll be more people cutting through our neighborhood,” Frischman said.

Ingham County is accepting public input on the Mount Hope Road project through the beginning of next month.

If the project moves forward, the county expects to spend $1 million on the redesign, with much of the funding coming from a federal grant. Construction could start as soon as May 2025.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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